Ogun 2019: Odebiyi, emergence of  son of the soil for governor’s seat

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By Ayo Fadimu

If the next Ogun governorship election was to be decided on the popular “omo wa ni, eje o se (He is our son, let him become the governor), Chief Tolu Odebiyi has edge over all the other aspirants to the top job in the Gateway state.

There are so many factors that may work in his favour. He comes from Iboro, a town in Yewaland, which has never had opportunity to produce Ogun governor. Recently, former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo advocated that the next governor of the state should come from Ogun west where Odebiyi hails from.

Odebiyi’s mother, late Chief Kemi Odebiyi was Obasanjo’s classmate in primary school , his late father, a former senator of Nigeria was an associate of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and close friend of Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Awujale.

Odebiyi, is the son of late Senator Jonathan  Odebiyi,a Nigerian educator, businessman and politician who was a Member of the Western House of Assembly during the independence era and later became Regional Minister of Education,(1956-1957) and Finance,(1957-1962). During the Second Republic, he was a Senator from Ogun State. He acquired numerous chieftancy titles including the Odofin of Ilaro. Tolu Odebiyi’s father was also one of the early outstanding students from Iboro and one of the earliest Yewa citizens to acquire a University degree.He was educated at Saint Andrew’s School, Ipaja, (1928-1936), CMS Grammar School, Lagos,1937-1941, he then went to Fourah Bay College and later earned a graduate certificate in Education from the University of Ibadan. Senator Jonathan Odebiyi is notable for being the first principal of Egbado College, an initiative of the Egbado Union. He was the college principal from 1951-1956. He later started his own school,Eyinni High School in lbadan in 1966,

 Chief Jonathan Odebiyi in the Second Republic was a strong leader of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and a steadfast Awoist,he died at the high brow St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos on March 21st 2002 at the ripe age of 79.

Tolu Odebiyi’s late mother was Chief (Mrs.) Kemi Odebiyi,a former member of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). She was the Lagos State INEC Commissioner between 1999 and 2007, before her elevation as an INEC National Commissioner by President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was her primary school classmate at African Church School, Ita Iyalode, Abeokuta.

Tolu too is a popular son of Iboro, in Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State, He holds a B.Sc in Building Construction and Engineering Technology from Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America. He is the Managing Director of Agbara Estates Limited, a development and investment company with over N20 billion in assets.

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