Adegoke Adelabu

Gbadamosi Adegoke Adelabu (3 September 1915 – 25 March 1958) was a prominent personality in the politics of Ibadan city and subsequently that of the Western Region of Nigeria right before the country's independence in 1960. He was Nigeria's Minister of Natural Resources and Social Services from January 1955 to January 1956 and was later the opposition leader in the Western Regional Assembly until his death in 1958. He was a self-made man born into a humble family but became an influential figure in Nigerian politics. He attended Government College, Ibadan and eventually became a business man. His successful political career was cut short when he was killed in a car crash, not long before Nigeria gained independence from Britain.

Adelabu was a self-described egotist who believed in the merits of radical nationalism, national unity and radical socialist ideology.[1]

Adegoke Adelabu
Opposition Leader Western House of Assembly
In office
Chairman of Ibadan District Council
In office
Federal Minister of Natural Resources and Social Services
In office
January 1955 - January 1956
Personal details
DiedMarch 25, 1958
Political partyNCNC

Early life

Adelabu, the son of Sanusi Ashinyanbi and Awujola Adelabu.[2] was born in 1915. Adelabu's mother was the second wife of Sanusi but she died when Adelabu was quite young and the young Adelabu was then raised by a paternal aunt. From 1925 to 1929, he attended St David's C.M.S. School, Kudeti, Ibadan and finished Standard IV and V at C.M.S. Central school, Mapo. Though, a Muslim, Adelabu's aunt valued Western education which was dominated by the Christian missionaries in Ibadan, she obtained a baptismal certificate for Adelabu providing him the opportunity to attend the CMS schools.[3] From 1931 to 1936, he attended Government College, Ibadan where he completed his secondary education as the head boy of the school. In 1936, he passed the entrance examination into Yaba Higher College and he won a scholarship from UAC to study commerce at the college.[4] However, just after 6 months left the college with his scholarship unused. He was offered employment by UAC as an assistant to the Ibadan district manager, an expatriate Adelabu had met a year earlier. His first assignment was a tour of the cocoa producing areas of Ibadan province. At the end of the tour, he presented a proposal about the reorganization of the Cocoa distribution and trade structure. The report earned him promotion as an Assistant Produce Manager with UAC. However, Adelabu left UAC in 1937 and joined the produce trade business. He was unsuccessful in the trade and was soon looking for a civil service job.[5] In 1939, he became an agricultural inspector and later supervisor of cooperative society which had Akinpelu Obisesan as its president. He was with cooperative until 1945, when he went back to UAC. He was successful in his second start with the organization but after the resignation of his mentor, the Ibadan District Manager, Richardson Adelabu left the firm.[6] He then ploughed income from UAC into a textile trading business with Levantine clients in Ibadan. Ibadan Native Authority system was dominated by junior chiefs, family heads (mogaji) and the Olubadan, majority of whom were not literate. Adelabu became interested in acting as an Administrative Secretary for the native council

Political life

1949 - 1953

Adelabu's career in politics can be traced to his support of the agitation led by junior chiefs and mogajis against Salami Agbaje. Adelabu was known as a smart individual and literate qualities needed by the chiefs in their opposition to Agbaje. The agitators needed someone to help with writing petitions and commentaries to advance their viewpoint and sought out Adelabu for support. Adelabu obliged hoping to earn the job of Administrative Secretary. The target of the chiefs was Salami Agbaje, a businessman who held the traditional title of Otun Balogun of Ibadan, he was third in line to the throne, literate, rich and independent minded but was found to be obnoxious by some of the chiefs in Ibadan many of whom were indebted to him. The junior chiefs and heads of lineages (mogaji) began a campaign for his deposition to prevent him from becoming Olubadan. Adelabu was active in the movement to depose Agbaje providing print commentaries and assisting in writing the petition that the chiefs forwarded to the colonial authorities. During these period, Adelabu became secretary of the Egbe Omo Ibile, the leading association opposed to Agbaje and headed by Bello Abasi, the son of Aleshinloye, the previous Olubadan.[7] When the case reached the colonial authorities, though Agbaje was admonished and told to suspend his involvement in the native council, the authorities used the opportunity to make sweeping reforms including removing Oshun division from Ibadan province. The outcome was not favorable to many Ibadan groups and a few groups came together to unite politically to protect the interest of Ibadan.

During the local elections in 1951, Adelabu's Egbe Omo Ibile, Augustus Akinloye, and a youth group from Ibadan Progressive Union formed the Ibadan People's Party as a challenge to the old guards of the Ibadan Progressive Union. Adelabu capitalized on some anti-Ijebu sentiments among native Ibadan residents especially after the loss of Oshun division which was supported by Action Group leaders such as Awolowo, an Ijebu-man and Akintola. The new party won all six seats to the Western Regional Assembly. However, an informal alliance proposed by Adelabu to support NCNC fell apart and four of the elected members joined AG. Adelabu then became more active in the organization of NCNC in Ibadan and became the secretary of the party's Western Province Working Committee while earning recognition within the party as the only IPP legislator who stayed with NCNC. Soon his profile began to rise nationally that in 1952, he published a book, Africa in Ebullition about his political thoughts. To provide a formidable organization to challenge AG in the 1954 elections, Adelabu formed a new organization, the Ibadan Taxpayers Association which was an attempt to attract mass following based on tax reform. The group then formed an alliance with some a farmers group called Maiyegun to become Mabolaje Grand Alliance.


Adelabu and his group provided an opposition platform to the IPU and AG dominated district council. He opposed the district council terms of tax reform and the role of heads of lineages (mogajis) in governance positioning himself as a supporter of traditional authority and values.[8] During the local elections in 1954, the alliance won majority seats into the Ibadan District Council, paving the way for Adelabu to become district chairman.[9] He became chairman of the Finance Committee and any other standing committee of the council.[10] In the federal elections in 1954, Adelabu also won a seat to the House of Representatives and his party won majority seats to the House of Representatives. He later became the First National Vice President of NCNC and appointed Minister of Social Services, a post he held concurrently with his position as chairman of the Ibadan District Council from January 1955 till January 1956.

In 1955, Adelabu's administration was a subject of inquiry into allegations corruption in the district council.[11] The inquiry was set-up by the Western Regional government dominated by AG. He resigned both positions after the report of the inquiry into the affairs of the district council. He was replaced by J.M. Johnson as Minister of Social Services. In 1956, Adelabu again ran for a seat in the regional assembly but this time as leader of NCNC in the Western region. Hoping to lead the party to victory, he had ordered clothes with the inscription Adelabu, Premier of the Western Region. However, the party lost majority seats to Action Group. Adelabu then became the leader of opposition in the Western House of Assembly.[12] After the loss, Adelabu sought to carve out a Yoruba Central State from the Western Region. The new state was to be composed of NCNC strongholds of Oyo, Ibadan and Ondo provinces. However, the proposal was rejected in 1958 based on the proposed division on largely on party lines.[13] In 1958, Adelabu opposed the leadership of Azikiwe because of its support for a tripartite national government consisting of AG, NCNC and NPC. Adelabu did not like the inclusion of AG describing it has an unholy alliance.[14]


Adelabu died on mile 51 Lagos–Ibadan Expressway close to Shagamu. He was returning from Lagos along with a Syrian businessman when their car hit an oncoming vehicle.[1]

Peculiar mess

Adegoke Adelabu is often mentioned in Yorùbá and Nigerian history as the author of that expression: "penkelemesi", a Yorubanisation of the phrase, "peculiar mess" which Adelabu, known for his deep knowledge of English, had used on an occasion to describe the opposition in the Western Region House of Assembly. Not understanding what he meant, the non-literate section of his audience translated the phrase into vernacular as "penkelemesi".


  1. ^ a b Sklar, p. 303.
  2. ^ Post & Jenkins 1973, p. 33.
  3. ^ Post & Jenkins 1973, p. 36.
  4. ^ Post & Jenkins 1973, p. 37.
  5. ^ Post & Jenkins 1973, p. 46.
  6. ^ Post & Jenkins 1973, p. 51.
  7. ^ Sklar, p. 291.
  8. ^ Onabanjo 1984, p. 357.
  9. ^ Sklar, p. 297.
  10. ^ Jenkins 1965, p. 292.
  11. ^ Jenkins 1965, p. 97.
  12. ^ Jenkins 1965, p. 98.
  13. ^ Onabanjo 1984, p. 365.
  14. ^ Onabanjo 1984, p. 368.


  • Sklar, Richard. Nigerian Political Parties: Power in an Emergent African Nation.
  • Jenkins, George (1965). Politics in Ibadan (Thesis). Northwestern University.
  • Onabanjo, Abayomi (1984). ETHNICITY AND TERRITORIAL POLITICS: THE CASE OF THE YORUBASPEAKING PEOPLES OF NIGERIA (Thesis). State University of New York at Albany.
  • Post, Kenneth; Jenkins, George (1973). The Price of Liberty: Personality and Politics in Colonial Nigeria. London: Cambridge University Press.


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Abdul Ganiyu Agbaje

Abdul Ganiyu Agbaje is a retired justice of the Nigeria Supreme Court.

Agbaje was born in 1925 to the family of Salami Agbaje, a wealthy merchant based in Ibadan. He was born into a polygynous family, his mother Lamulati Faderera was the fourth wife of Salami Agbaje. Some of his brothers went on to make a name for themselves in Ibadan and Nigeria. Saka Agbaje was a U.K. trained doctor, the first western trained doctor from Ibadan and who established Alafia Hospital in Ibadan, while a second son, Mojeed was a political associate of Adegoke Adelabu. Agbaje was briefly educated at Ibadan Grammar School like many of his older siblings, but later transferred to Igbobi College to complete secondary education. Agbaje later traveled abroad for further studies, earning a bachelor of commerce degree in Industrial Economics & Business Studies in 1949 and a degree in law in 1951.In Nigeria, Agbaje was a law partner to his brother Mojeed Agbaje, and represented members of the Ibadan branch of NCNC in many court cases.Agbaje served as a lawyer and partner in the law firm of Agbaje and Agbaje from 1952 to 1959 and was appointed Judge of the high court in the Western State of Nigeria in 1969. He later served as a judge of the Federal Court of Appeal for ten years from 1977 to 1987 before retiring as a Supreme Court judge in 1990.

Adebayo Adelabu

Adebayo Adelabu (born September 28, 1970) is the past deputy governor, operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria.


Adegoke is both a surname and a given name of Yoruba origin meaning "the king/crown/royalty has ascended/gained advancement". Notable people with the name include:

Adegoke Adelabu (1915–1958), Nigerian politician

Enoch Olaoluwa Adegoke (born 2000), a Nigerian sprinter

Jimmy Adegoke (born 1963), climate scientist and professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City

Kofo Adegoke (born 1979), Nigerian businessman

Mutiu Adegoke (born 1984), Nigerian football defender

Saidat Adegoke (born 1985), Nigerian footballer

Sam Adegoke, Nigerian actor

Sarah Adegoke (born 1997), Nigerian tennis player


Adelabu is a surname. People with this surname include:

Adegoke Adelabu (born 1915), Nigerian politician

Abu-Abdullah Adelabu (born 1964), Nigerian academic

Augustus Akinloye

Chief Augustus Meredith Adisa Akinloye (August 19, 1916 – September 18, 2007), popularly known as A.M.A, was a Nigerian lawyer, politician and the Seriki of Ibadanland, thus making him a Yoruba tribal aristocrat.

Busari Adelakun

Busari Adelakun was a Nigerian politician from Ejioku area of Ibadan, Oyo State. He was affiliated with the Action Group and Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) during the First and Second Republic respectively. As a member of UPN and a later NPN in Ibadan during the second republic, Adelakun was an important figure in the turbulent politics of the city.

Adelakun's father was a cocoa farmer from Ibadan and he inherited his father's farm upon the death of the latter. When he began his first political activities, it was to represent his father during meetings of the Ibadan Peoples Party. From there Adelakun joined the Action Group, it was an arduous task for the party to gain support in Ibadan due to the popularity of a single man, Adegoke Adelabu, even after Adelabu's death AG did not gain much support in Ibadan and violence that sprung out after the death of Adelabu targeted many of the party's members. A schism in AG between the regional Premier, Akintola and former premier, Awolowo emerged in 1962. Adelakun sided the Awolowo faction. Thereafter, Adelakun's faction was weakened in Ibadan during a chaotic period in the Western region. After a military coup dissolved the democratic republic, Adelakun returned to farming and also joined a farmer's union, becoming its president.

In 1976, he won the local government elections in Ibadan after a few setbacks which included an initial disqualification. After he was initially disqualified from contesting the election, Adelakun's supporters boycotted the election, while he went to court to declare the election null and void. The court accepted his plea and after the new election was conducted, Adelakun was declared winner. In 1979, Adelakun teamed up with another party leader, Archdeacon Emmanuel Alayande to help UPN clinch majority of votes in Ibadan, it was one of the few times an Awolowo led party was able to win majority votes in the city. In 1979, he was appointed commissioner of local government in Oyo State, two years after, he was redeployed to the Health ministry.

In 1983, Adelakun joined a faction that was opposed to the candidacy of Bola Ige as UPN governor. Adelakun and another member of the faction, Sunday Afolabi later joined the opposition party, NPN which went on to win the governorship election in 1983.

Adelakun was jailed in 1984 by a new military regine headed by Major-General Muhammadu Buhari. He died at Lagos University Teaching Hospital as a result of ill health while still being imprisoned .

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This list can be expanded with entries from the Talk page

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