Historical Figures

Generation after generation, Yoruba has always had individuals or group whose contribution to events during the time they live helped shape the course of history. From pre-history there were several of such men and women, and to date, there are  still  many of  such individuals,  whose contribution to the growth and development of Yoruba nation cannot be forgotten; while we may not list every individual, at least some  will be mentioned and their contributions.

Historical Figures

Yoruba Heroes/Heroines Contributions to Yoruba  Nation
Oduduwa He was the progenitor of Yoruba race, the son of Lamurudu, a native of Arabian peninsula; he left east and traveled thousands of miles to the west before he finally settled at Ile-Ifẹ. He had seven sons and many daughters; sons were very strong, displayed bravery, and powerful individuals, their military adventures created several Yoruba kingdoms. Prominent were: Ọyọ, Ketu, Popo, Isabẹ, Owu. Oduduwa died in Ile-Ifẹ.
Ọranmiyan He was the last son of Oduduwa, a powerful, knowledgeable individual, whose military strength had no equal. He established Ọyọ Empire, before then, he served briefly as Ọba in Bini {Benin}. He moved north ward and created a new town-Ọyọ, and by 17th century, it had become one of the most successful Sudanese kingdoms. He married Torosi a (Tapa princess), had two sons: Ajaka-Oko and Ṣango. After a long sojourn, he left the new kingdom to his two sons, and went back to Otu-Ifẹ, before he died. Oranmiyan made history, as the only individual who ruled in three different communities: Bini, Oyo and Ile-Ife. To date, there is an obelisk in his memory at Ile-Ifẹ.
Ṣango He was the third king in Ọyọ, a man of extra-ordinary and unusual power. He was so powerful that whenever he spoke, he emitted fire. He was feared, revered by his subjects. He became somehow despotic that his subjects rejected him. He left Ọyọ for Tapa (mother’s traditional home) when opposition became so much for him to bear; when Ọyọ had problem, they sent for him, he did not come, but he told Ọyọ what to do. To show appreciation for guidance, he became  a deity.
Gbọnka-Ebiri A powerful hunter and warrior in old Ọyọ, he was sent by Ṣango to Timi of Ẹdẹ. These two powerful warriors engaged in a fight, Timi was captured and brought to Ṣango. Ṣango wanted the fight repeated, thinking Gbọnka would be defeated and be captured; thereby put an end to the underground or un-noticed rivalry between Alaafin Sango and Gbonka . Unfortunately, the public fight turned opposite, in fact, the outcome of the fight contributed in a significant way to the fall of Ṣango.
Timi-Agbale Ọlọfa Ina A fearless warrior Ṣango sent to Ẹdẹ, to check the Ijeṣa, and to collect unpaid taxes owed Alaafin. His power, according to history was hidden in his deadly Bow and Arrow. Timi Agbale engaged in two public fights with Gbọnka  (one in Ẹdẹ, and the second in Ọyọ), Timi was over-powered and killed in the second fight by Gbọnka. Timi became the first king in Ẹdẹ.
Baṣọrun  Gaa He was the mid- 18th century head of Ọyọ-Mesi, the king makers; he became so powerful, and notorious that successive Alaafin were afraid of him. He became so despotic that successive Alaafin were either killed, or forced to commit suicide by him. His notoriety reached a breaking point  when he murdered Agbonyin, the old child of Alaafin Abiodun. Alaafin Abiọdun at this point decided to take the bull by the horns, with assistance from Arẹ Ọyalabi who lived in Jabata, the whole Oyo went to war against Bashorun Gaa; he was over-powered and killed. His death opened a new chapter in the history of Oyo, to date  in Yoruba land, there is a maxin which says “bi’ o lai’ ya O s’ ika; bi’o ri’ ku Gaa, O sooto” which means (if you are strong-willed[obstinate, stubborn,pigheaded] to doing evil, the death of Gaa is a lesson to eventuality of life.
Alafin Abiọdun A progressive, humble,  and people oriented Alaafin; the last prominent Alaafin of Ọyọ-Ile, before it was destroyed by Afonja-led–Fulani soldiers. Alaafin Abiodun and Arẹ Ọyalabi led war against Baṣọrun Gaa, after Gaa killed Agbọnyin- the only child of Alaafin Abiọdun.
Alafin Aolẹ The last Alaafin in Ọyọ-Ile. He engaged in supremacy battle with Afọnja, although he committed suicide before Ọyọ was destroyed by the rampaging Fulani warriors, but he left a mark. A mark that altered political dynamics of Yoruba land for the rest of 19th century.
Afọnja Ilọrin Afọnja was the Arẹ-Ọna-Kankan-Fo of old Ọyọ Empire, he refused to carry the orders of Alaafin, when told to wage war against Iwere-Ile; a Yoruba town in modern day (Kwara) an  unresolved rivalry ensued between Alaafin Aole and Afọnja. Afọnja led Fulani warriors against Ọyọ  around 1826/27, and the kingdom was destroyed. Unfortunately, his Fulani supporters turned against him, and later killed on the orders of Alimi.  Ilọrin lost its independence, its relevance in Yoruba history and became Fulani controlled Yoruba town till today.
Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther One of the many outcomes of Afọnja’s war against Ọyọ was, it opened several military attacks on Yoruba without strong or viable resistance. One of such attacks was on Oṣoogun, a village very close to Ọyọ-Alaafin. Ajayi was captured by the Fulani soldiers, sold, moved to, but set free in Freetown, Sierra-Leone. He became a Christian, studied languages and  translated Bible into Yoruba, wrote several books, and carried Christian evangelism to nooks and crannies of Yoruba land and beyond. Became first African Bishop.
Kurunmi of Ijaye One of the power blocs in Yoruba  after the fall of Ọyọ was Ijaye, under Arẹ-Ọna-Kankan-Fo Kurunmi. He became Ijaye leader, a town known for its military prowess, Kurunmi engaged in several intra-tribal wars in Yoruba land, especially with Ibadan. In one of these wars with Ibadan, Baṣọrun Ogunmọla led Ibadan forces against Kurunmi. Kurunmi with his army was defeated after losing his children in the war; there after, he committed suicide. Ibadan became the political force in Yoruba land. Ijaye was destroyed, and refugees form Ijaye relocated to other Yoruba towns and Ijaye went out of political significance in Yoruba land.
Seriki Ṣodẹkẹ Ẹgba military leader  after Lamodi, he led Ẹgba from Ibadan to Oko-Adagba to meet other Ẹgba, after Ijẹbu/Ifẹ and Owu war. Owu recorded so much casualty and because of hostility to Owu,  several Ẹgba relocated to Abẹokuta near Olumọ Rock. The Rock that provided shield for the Ẹgba during the internecine/dark era in the history of Yoruba.
Baṣọrun Latosisa A very prominent Ibadan leader in the fourth quarter of 19th century, he waged several wars on behalf of Ibadan and won. More important, he ridded Ibadan of Ẹfunṣetan Aniwura’s nightmares.
Ẹfunṣetan Aniwura A very powerful Ibadan women leader ‘Iyalode’; extremely rich in landed property, slaves, and other valuables. She had only a daughter, whom she lost to childbirth complications. When Efunsetan realized she would never be a mother again, Ẹfunṣetan became a terror. She killed people (especially her slaves) at will, and became a lord to herself. It was Baṣọrun Latosisa that liberated Ibadan people from her nightmares.
Madan Efunroye Tinubu She was Ẹgba woman of note who combined activism with business. She started trading business in Badagry and later moved to Lagos on the invitation of King Akintoye. Madam Tinubu became very wealthy from Tobacco and salt business; more important, a very powerful figure in both Oba Akintoye’s and Dosunmu’s court. She became a fiery nationalist, who condemned British annexation and its policy on Lagos. Unfortunately, Colonial government in Lagos, responded by deporting Tinubu to Abeokuta, her native home. She continued with her business at home, but this time, added a new line of trade: gun-powder and bullets . She became supplier of arms and ammunition to Egba during Egba-Dahomey war. Madam Tinubu was installed the first Iyalode Ile-Egba in 1864, and died in 1887.
Ogedengbe Agbogungboro He was Ijeṣa military commander, who formed alliance with Ekiti Parapọ under Fabunmi of (Oke-Imesi) to challenge Ibadan hegemony. He was loved and respected by Ijeṣa/Ekiti soldiers. He died in the second decade of 20th century. A cenotaph is built in his honor in Ilesa.
J.J. Oludọtun Ransome-Kuti Clergyman, educationist, father of modern education in Yoruba land, and perhaps, Nigeria. Principal of Abeokuta Boys’ School, Nigeria Union of Teachers leader. Married Funmilayọ Ransome-Kuti had three sons and a daughter.
Funmilayọ Ransome-Kuti She was Ẹgba woman of note, wife of Oludọtun Ransome-Kuti, an activist who fought against women taxation. The Lioness of Lisabi gave Nigeria women voice, made them to be heard, gave them mission and set hope before them. Above all, she gave the society human right activists, who carried the enlightenment torch to all the nooks and cranies of Nigeria. She was the first Nigeria woman to drive automobile, mother of: Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, Fẹla Anikulapo-Kuti, Bekololari Ransome-Kuti; she died in 1976.
Herbert Macaulay A grandson of Bishop Samuel Crowther, he studied town planning in England, joined hands with other Nigerians to establish the first political party in Nigeria, the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroun (NCNC). He died in 1946 in one of his campaign tours
Dr. Akinola Maja A Lagosian, nationalist.
Ọmọjọla  Agbebi He belonged to the early 20th century nationalist, a fire-zeal nationalist who changed his English names to local names to reflect the realities of the era.
Mọremi Ajaṣoro The Ifẹ queen and mother of Oluorogbo, a self-sacrificing woman who gave her only son to Ẹsinmirin River, in order to save Ifẹ from its enemies. Edi festival is held yearly in her honor.
Late Chief Jeremiah Oyeniyi Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ The most prominent 20th century Nigerian politician. He was a leader, politician, economist, lawyer, and  friend of the poor. Married Hannah Idowu Dideolu in 1937 blessed with two sons (Olusẹgun died in 1963; Ayọdele [daughter] died in 2011; Oluwole died in 2013) and three daughters. To the Yorubas, he was the second Oduduwa- the modernizer. When in London in mid forties, Chief Awolọwọ with other Yorubas formed Ẹgbẹ Ọmọ Odu’a which metamorphosed into a political party-the Action Group (AG). He became leader of Government business in 1951, and in 1954, he became the first premier. His government was a trail blazer-he introduced free and compulsory primary education in 1955, established farm settlement throughout Western Region, reformed the civil service, built the first Olympic size-stadium,  his government established the first Television station in Africa (in Ibadan, 1959). Above all, established one of the African leading light-University of Ifẹ (now Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ University, Ile-Ifẹ). In 1962, he was detained on political charges, jailed in 1963 for 10 years. Released in August 1966 by General Yakubu Gowon, appointed as Federal Commissioner for Finance, and vice-chairman, federal executive council. Managed the civil war, resigned his appointment in 1970. Formed the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), contested 1979 presidential elections, but lost to Alhaji Shehu Shagari on 12⅔ electoral formula; contested 1983 presidential elections, lost again to Shagari in one of the worst presidential elections in the history of Nigeria. Retired from active politics, died in 1987.
Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintọla (known as S.L.) Politician and Deputy Premier of Western Region. Became premier when Chief  Awolọwọ went to Federal House of Representative in 1959; soon there  was rivalry between the two leaders- which set the entire region on fire from 1962 to 1966,  till when military took over. Unfortunately, Akintọla was killed during the military coup of 1966 in Ibadan.
Professor Sanya Ọnabamiro A cabinet Minister in old Western Region government
Chief S.O. Awokọya A cabinet Minister of Education in old Western Region, when free and compulsory primary education was introduced in 1955.
Chief Adegoke Adelabu Nationalist, politician, an orator, and a wordsmith. A de-tribalizer and a staunch member National Council of Nigerian and Cameroun (NCNC). Chief Adelabu will be remembered for playing politics without barriers and bitterness. A powerful and a colorful orator, who was very good in the use of English and Yoruba languages; whenever he spoke, people always coined terms or phrases from his messages. For example: “No peculiar Mess” became “no pen-ke-le-me-si.” A treasured term in our political lexicon, use by all and sundry. He died in a car accident in 1958.
Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi Western Region first military governor, a patriot and a nationalist who died with his Commander-in-Chief, General J.T.U Aguiyi-Ironsi on July 29, 1966 in Ibadan, following the counter-coup, when the northern elements within Nigerian Military struck. A reprisal to January 15, 1966 Military coup, which claimed some Northern Nigerian leaders.
Brigadier  Babafemi Ogundipẹ The second-in-command to the head of state, who was certain that political climate of mid-sixties and the military politics would work against his ascension to power, went on self exile and died in England in 1971.
Justice Adetokunbọ Ademọla Ẹgba prince who studied law in the early part of 20th century. He was the first indigenous chief justice of Nigeria. He played a major role to stabilize Nigeria during the 30 month civil war.
Chief Fredrick Rotimi Alade Williams A prominent Yoruba son who read law in the early forties. He was the attorney-general of Western Region, a prominent member of (AG) before he parted parted ways. “Timi the Law” as he was fondly called made unparallel contribution to law practice in Nigeria. He was the chairman  Constituent Assembly that mid-wifed return to civil rule in 1979. He traversed legal profession for over four decades,  his contributions will always be a reference point at law. He became the first Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in 1978, when introduced.
Chief Afẹ Babalọla A man of humble beginning with amazingly intellectual power. 

Chief Babalọla has been in law profession close to fifty years, a trainer, a teacher  and has made indelible mark in law.  He is an administrator, farmer and proprietor.
Justice Kayode Ẹṣọ A retired Supreme Court justice, an intellectual of rare breed.
Justice  Ọlajide Ọlatawura A retired Supreme Court justice
Late Chief  Ganiyu Fawehinmi A lawyer,  an activist,  a philanthropist, man of the people  who spent more than two-thirds of his life to fight injustice. A rare breed who believed so much in the rule of law and he used the same instrumentality of law to fight the injustices in the system which  he lived in. He died in September, 2009.
Professor Teslim Ọlawale Elias A professor of constitutional law, a colossal in law field, one-time attorney-general and minister of justice from 1960-1966. He taught law in several colleges around the globe. Foundation law professor at University of Lagos, Nigeria. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in1972. Appointed a judge of International Court of Justice, the Hague in 1976, elected President of the same court in 1986. He died in 1989.
Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin A politician, an administrator, and educationist. A former governor of old Ondo state  and planning member of 1955 free education program in old Western Region. Afẹnifẹre and NADECO member and leader. A disciplinarian, a man of principle, and a staunch believer in the rule of law. A committed federalist, who believed that a new Nigeria be re-negotiated on the principle of equality, fairness, and justice through national conference. He died in 1995.
Chief Abraham Adesanya A politician,   lawyer,  leader and senator in the Second Republic (1979-1983); immediate past leader of Afenifere, a Yoruba socio-cultural group and a leading member of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO)-The Civil Society Coalition that checkmated the excesses of Military Regime in Nigeria after the annulment of June 12, 1993 Presidential Elections. Senator Adesanya and other civil societies fought the military government of Sanni Abacha to a stand-still, which ultimately compelled General Abdulsalami Abubakar the then Head-of-State in 1998 to start transition to civil rule. Senator Adesanya died in 2005.
Late Chief Ajibọla Ige The Cicero of Ẹsa-Oke, first executive governor of old Ọyọ State, a politician of repute, orator  without equal.  A humble and progress element,  lawyer and a  former attorney general/ minister of justice. A man of un-common political sagacity. Uncle Ige, as fondly called by admirers knew so much about party politics, that friends and foes respected him for it. He could be a loner or a team-player in any cause he believed, always with vision and mission to change society for better. He was murdered in 2001.
Late Professor Saburi Biobaku Yoruba from Egba stock, he began his career as a civil servant and rose to the position of Secretary to the Western Regional government, before he moved to academics. A historian and second vice-chancellor of University of Lagos, (1965-1972), Biobaku belonged to first generation of Nigerian intellectuals/historians-the group, which   documented our past and gave Nigerian academic community books to read.
Professor Jacob Festus Adeniyi-Ajayi. Another historian of international repute, former vice-chancellor, University of Lagos from 1972-1978. Ade-Ajayi  like members of his generation documented our past and provided books for students to read. His generation moved our past from mere oral history to a chronological/documentation state. Their endeavors opened the way for more intellectual engagements in Nigeria. A humble and progressive leader whose love for the students cost him  his job as University of Lagos Vice-Chancelor in 1978.
Professor I.A.  Akinjogbin Another historian of note whose work covered Yoruba history,.
Professor Ajọsẹ The first vice-chancellor University of Ifẹ (now Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ University).
Professor Hezekiah Oluwasanmi An academia, administrator,  he developed and built Ifẹ varsity.
Late Professor Ọjẹtunji Abọyade An economist of international repute; a scholar of London School of Economics and International Studies. Former university administrator.
Late Professor Samuel Aluko An academia, a social commentator, scholar, economist, and the un-official federal government emissary during Nigeria/Biafra war. Aluko’s  verse knowledge in both micro/macro economics knew no bounds, and whenever he sneezed, Nigeria, then (especially, government) would catch cold. Sam Aluko,  a household name,  former economic adviser to Chief Adekunle Ajasin, and National Economic Intelligence Chairman from 1995 to 1998. Professor Aluko died in 2012.
Late Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti A physician,  he started the Institute of Child Health, College of Medicine, Idi-Araba,  Lagos.
Professor Akinwande Ṣoyinka Professor of Literature, world acclaimed playwright, poet,  the 1986 Nobel prize winner in Literature. A civil rights’ activist, a defender of masses, enemy of injustice. Some of his works are: The Man Died, The Lion and The Jewel, The Trials of Brother Jero, A Dance of The Forest, Kongi Harvest; his poetry include “Abiku.”
Late Professor Ayodele Awojọbi A mechanical engineer, a man who recorded several firsts in many things he did; he completed B.Sc in Mechanical Engineering within three years. Above all, Awojọbi as a scholar  was several years ahead of his peers. He became the first African to be awarded D.Sc Mechanical Engineering, by Imperial College, London. The “Akọka Giant” or “Dead Easy” as fondly called was an author and inventor. 

One of his greatest inventions is the Autonov, the front and the rear drive military jeep (still on display at Faculty of Engineering Workshop, University of Lagos). A social crusader, an  activist above all, a humanist. He died in 1984 at the age of 46.
Late Professor Timothy Mofọlọrunṣọ Aluko A civil engineer-turned-novelist, he had over ten novels to his credit. A man of incredible ability, at old age of over 90 years, he was still writing books. A man who was never defeated by odds of life, rather he conquered odds. Some of his books include: One Man, One Wife; One Man, One Matchet; Chief Honorable Minister; His Worshipful Majesty; and The Story of My Life. His books were read by many generations of Nigerians.
Late Daniel Olufemi Fagunwa He pioneered Yoruba language novel, he wrote six different books using imagery of magic, monsters, spirits, gods and other spiritual elements. An effective user of Yoruba language, no Yoruba book has beaten any of Fagunwa’s book, a pace-setter, rich in effective use of language.
Professor Afọlabi Ọlabintan An Educator, an author, and  a scholar; works include Kekere-Ẹkun, Ayanmọ.
Amos Tutuola A special breed that had only six years of former education, but he accomplished so much. An educator, a scholar and author, his works include: Palm Wine Drunkard, Dead Palm Wine Tapsters in Deads’ Town, and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.
Professor Olubimọ First professor of mathematics in Nigeria.
Late Teslim Balogun Footballer
Chief Matthew Arẹmu Oluṣẹgun Ọbasanjọ. (A retired four star general in Nigeria Army). A two time Nigerian president: first, from 1976-1979;  second, 1999-2007. A war hero, who received on behalf of the Federal Government the Biafra republic back into the federation of Nigeria in 1970 after the civil war. Former federal commissioner for works, chief-of-staff, Supreme Headquarters under Murtala Mohammed. Co-chairman, Eminent Person Group (EPG),the Commonwealth body that liquidated Apartheid regime in South-Africa and UN special representative to Congo.
Brigadier Benjamin Adesanya Maja Adekunle (the Black Scorpion) A war hero from Ogbomoso, Oyo State. Commander, Third Marine Commando; Brigadier Adekunle, is a major (and perhaps most controversial) actor of Nigeria-Biafra war. To his critics, he was a ruthless officer, but to his admirers, a disciplined and strong willed individual  who can never be intimidated. However, his actions or in-actions are left to posterity and history to judge.
Late Duro Ladipọ The popular Ọba Koo’so-entertainment giant wrote ten folk opera. Died in 1976.
Akinwunmi Iṣọla An Author, a professor, a playwright, a screenwriter, a  film producer; his works include: Ẹfunṣetan Aniwura, O’ leku.
Professor Bọlaji  Idowu Academia, a scholar, a clergy, and an accomplished professor of  African Religion. His “Olodunmare” doctoral dissertation in mid-fifties opened the way for more research works on African Religion by scholars from Nigeria and outside. In his scholarship, Professor Idowu  corrected many mis-conceptions perpetuated by Europeans (the early writers on African religion), he described the religion from a theological perspective, such as the nature of the “Deity, morality and the ultimate destiny of mankind.” No doubt, his endeavor contributed in a large way to the understanding of African culture through religion. Today, African Religion is taught at university level in Africa and in many prominent institutions in Western hemisphere countries.
Professor Wande Abinbọla An educationist, an administrator, a politician, accomplished professor of Yoruba language. Professor Abimbola made history in 1970, as the first person to receive doctorate from the University of Lagos. He founded the Department of African Languages, University of Ife now (Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife). He has scores of books to his credit.
Late Chief Hubert Ogunde, Needs no introduction in Nigeria Entertainment Industry. He began his career as a Police officer in mid-forties, while music was avocation. Later, Chief Ogunde realized that entertainment was his calling and he left Police. A man of many parts: an actor, a playwright, a musician, he founded the first Nigeria Theatre company in 1945. A solo singer with baritone  who needed no musical instruments (though his band had) to project his God-given voice through music. Chief Ogunde had over hundred albums to his credit; however “Yoruba Ronu” of mid 1960s will always be a master-work, without equal. Also, his several plays such as: Aye, Ayanmo, Jaiyeosimi, which featured the triumph of good over the evil will always be a reference point in Yoruba drama.
Moses Ọlaiya Popularly known as Baba Sala, an  entertainer, an actor, and a film producer. Some of the works include: Aro pin’ teni yan, Arẹ-Agbaye
Kọla Ogunmọla Actor, director and playwright.
Chief Moshood Kaṣimawo Ọlawale Abiọla. A man of many parts: business mogul, statesman, politician, industrialist, publisher, Africa’s pillar of sports and a devout Muslim. A man of humble beginning, a hard working individual  who conquered all odds on his way to prominence. Abiọla was incredibly intelligent. A de-tribalized politician who built network across Niger. He became chairman ITT Nigeria as a young man. As politician, he was a member of defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN) who through intent challenged NPN in 1983, and when denied platform to realize his presidential ambition resigned his membership from NPN. Although Abiọla was not done with his political ambition, in 1993, he won the presidential primary of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). On Saturday, June 12, 1993, Abiọla made history as the first Nigerian elected president overwhelmingly without a recourse to religion, tribe, or language. Unfortunately, the cabal (military and its civilian collaborators) for selfish reasons  annulled the election. For daring military and demanded for the de-annulment of 1993 elections, Abacha detained him,  in 1998 the man died in the hands of his jailers. Although Abiọla  did not rule Nigeria, but  events after June 12, reshaped Nigeria political landscape forever. Abiọla and June 12 demystified Hausa/Fulani hegemony foisted on Nigeria by British on the eve of Independence in 1960. In fact, Nigeria political history will be incomplete without Abiọla and June 12, presidential elections.
Sunday Iṣọla Adeniyi-Adegẹye [King Sunny Ade] A musician, a songwriter, he has over 300 labels to his credit. Sunny Ade re-shaped juju music in Nigeria.
Ebenezer  Fabiyi Obey[Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey] Another Yoruba musician and songwriter from Abeokuta; he has over 300 labels to his credits as juju maestro
Bọlanle  Awẹ A scholar, an educator, administrator, and a  historian. Mrs Bolanle Awe’s  1964 doctoral dissertation on Ibadan made significant contribution to the history of Yoruba. She belong to second generation of Nigerian scholars who moved our past from mere oral history to a proper documentation.
Professor Akin Mabogunjẹ A professor of urban geography. A scholar of exceptional intellectual abilities; his scholarship has been in areas of capacity building and development.  Professor Mabogunjẹ has either been a sole, or lead participant in all social and economic programs with direct benefit to the  masses, examples of his works include, Mass Mobilization for Social and Economic Recovery (MAMSER), Micro-Credit Finance scheme (Community Bank and People’s Bank of Nigeria). Professor Mabogunjẹ will be remembered for community banking in Nigeria.
Professor Gabriel Olusanya A scholar, an educationist, administrator, and a historian. His contributions to document Yoruba history has been phenomenal.
Professor Ọladele Taiwo The first professor of education in Nigeria, one of the fathers of modern education in Nigeria. A teacher of teachers, and instructor of instructors. An author, a curriculum developer. The development of primary and secondary education curricular can be traced Ọladele Taiwo.
Professor Babatunde Aliu Fafunwa, former minister of education. An educationist, advocate for mother tongue in education. An author, a researcher, a curriculum developer,  above all, designer of 6-3-3-4 education system.
Professor Ayọ Bamgboṣe A linguist, an author, and administrator. A foremost language teacher of international repute  whose works are reference point.
Late Chief Oyin Adejọbi An actor,  a playwright, he promoted Yoruba culture through the TV drama series of “Kootu Aṣipa.”  An eloquent speaker, he was highly respected for his deep knowledge of Yoruba, which he did with ease as he interspersed talks with apt Yoruba proverbs.
Late Simon Ọkanlawọn Adebọ He belonged to the first generation of civil servant in Nigeria. A pace setter whose skills and expertise were sought after. Chief Adebọ built the Western Nigeria civil service in the fifties. A first class administrator and a former Nigeria representative to UN.
Late Chief Henry Fajẹmirokun A world class industrialist, he established several companies solely, or in partnership. Members of several economic/industrial organizations home and abroad. He died in 1976
Ṣẹgun Ọdẹgbami A footballer of international repute, the team captain of old IICC (Ibadan football team), and lead member of 1980 National football team/squard- Green Eagles that lifted the  African Cup of Nations trophy for Nigeria.
Dr. Michael Ọmọlayọle An industrialist, a  management guru,  first Nigerian managing-director of Lever Brothers (now Unilever).
Chief Olu Falae An economist, administrator, and a politician. He began his career as a civil servant and became a permanent secretary. A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation under General Babangida.  A presidential candidate of AD/ANP in 1999 presidential elections.
Chief Ernest Adegunle Ṣhonẹkan An industrialist, a  manager, and a former managing–director of UACN, before appointed as Interim Head of Government  in 1993.
Alhaji  Lateef Kayode Jakande Unrepentant Awoist and a former governor of Lagos state, he introduced several mass oriented programs between 1979-1983. His performance as Lagos State governor was so great that he became a reference point for public officers. He received a ten-year sentenced in 1963 with Chief Obafemi Awolowo during the treason trial.
Brigadier Mobọlaji Johnson The first governor of Lagos state from 1967-1975. He built Lagos and other followed; one of the two governors free of corrupt charges after the 1975 military coup.
Brigadier Oluwole Rotimi The governor of Western state from 1971- 1975, his era witnessed infrastructural development in the west; the other governor free of corrupt charges after the 1975 military coup.
Alhaji Babatunde Jọsẹ Nigeria media history is incomplete without Alhaji Babatunde Jọsẹ  the former managing-director of Daily Times, the largest newspaper in West-Africa.  An administrator par excellence, he took Daily Times to enviable height, set high standard for the practice of journalism, and by extension, mass communication. He developed the best crop of media men and women of his time. He was sacked in 1975 by General Murtala Mohammed, when the Federal Government acquired 60 per cent equity in Daily Times.
Alhaji Alade Ọdunewu Journalists in Nigeria will ever be grateful to the column writer under the name “Allah-Dey”; Alhaji Ọdunewu an example of hard-work, intelligence, forthrightness in journalism. As columnist, he added value to his writings by providing detailed information, not in encumber way, rather in a flawless literary style. His weekly column was “a-must-red-by all” which set agenda for the policy makers of his days,  more important, he became  a valuable gate-keeper.
Late Chief Ọlabisi Ọnabanjọ A journalist, a politician, a former governor of Ogun State, and un-repentant federalist, who believed in a new Nigeria based on equality, fairness and justice. He was among the ten lieutenants jailed with Chief Obafemi Awolowo in 1963.
Mr. Ọla Vincent A banker of highest order, he belonged to the first generation of Nigerian bankers; a former governor Central Banker.
Dr. Joseph Sanusi Possibly,  the last generation of conservative banking school of thought, a man who knows so much about banking  and worked in all banking institutions- retail, wholesale, specialized and capped his banking career as the governor of Central Bank.
Lt.Gen. Alani Ipoola Akinrinade A retired three star general and a former chief-of-Army staff.  A man of calm, simple, and articulate miem, a pro-democracy advocate. Unlike elites of the privileged group (Retired Military). Lt.Gen. Akinrinade is always on the side of voiceless, the defender of defenceless, and the hand that strengthens the weak. His weapons are not tanks, guns, or tough talks, rather intellectual and morally laced speeches at local and international fora with practical formula to address Nigeria social ills.
Late J.F.Odunjọ Did you remember all the tale stories- about good manners, hard-work, faithfulness, love for others and leaving vengeance to God? This question summarizes “Alawiye Books 1-6” of late Pa J.F.Odunjọ- a great patriot, humble and hard-working educator. These books were pace-setters, which had produced several generations of physicians, engineers, teachers, economists, bankers, lawyers, administrators, academia, scientists, and even leaders. Pa J.F.Odunjọ will be remembered for those ageless stories  with daily significance and meanings such as: “Abẹbi Ati Obe,” “Aworawọ,” “Ijapa ati Yarinbo,” and the popular rhyme “Mu ra si iṣẹ rẹ ọrẹ mi, iṣẹ la fi n di ẹni giga, bi-a-ko-ba-ri-ẹni-fẹhin-ti-bi-ọlẹ la n ri….”
Atanda  Fatai-Williams A former chief justice of the federation who oversaw military hand-over in 1979 to democratically elected government. Supreme Court of Nigeria was under his leadership during the controversial 12⅔ electoral formula of 1979 presidential election. The court under him  made many land-mark judgments-prominent was the 5% derivation judgment in favor of old Bendel State under Ambrose Alli. Besides, the court had many brilliant/independent minds whose contributions to jurisprudence will always be reference point in Nigeria.
Ṣẹgun  Ọkẹowo Did you remember the role Nigerian Students played during Nigeria-Anglo Defense pact of 1961? Did you remember the role of Nigerian Students shortly after the civil war in 1971, when Kunle Adepeju of University of Ibadan was killed? If not, did you remember “Ali-must-go” of 1978? Ṣẹgun Ọkẹowo, a former students’ leader led Nigerian students againt hike in feeding fee, in this protest-Akintunde Ojo of University of Lagos was killed. Nigeria will always remember the meaningful contributions of his generation and generations after  (through  students’ unionism) to the growth and development of the geo-political confine known as Nigeria
Late Chief Augustus Meredith Adisa Akinloye Chief Akinloye  son of Ibadan cocoa merchant was a lawyer and politician. He formed the Ibadan Peoples Party in 1951, merged the party with Action Group (AG) to form government in Western Region. Played significant role in the government as minister of agriculture and natural resources. Elected chairman, Ibadan City Council in mid-fifties. Parted ways with AG in the ‘60s during the western crisis. Elected chairman, National Party of Nigeria (NPN) in 1979, went on self exile in 1984 when military struck. Came back much later, and died in 2007.
Ọba Adesọji Tadeniawo Aderẹmi Late Ọba Adesọji Aderẹmi was one of the leading traditional figures of 20th century Nigeria. He was enthroned as Ọọni of Ile-Ifẹ in 1930, his era marked significant political, economic transformation, and development in Yoruba land.  At a time, he served as the President of Western House of Chiefs and Legislative Council of Nigeria. He became the Governor of Western Region between 1960 and 1962, the critical time in Yoruba history. He died in 1980.
Ọba Lamidi Ọlayiwọla Atanda Adeyẹmi 111, The Alaafin of Ọyọ. Ọba Lamidi Ọlayiwọla Atanda Adeyẹmi 111; the 43rd Alaafin and the great-great-grand-son of Ọranmiyan- the first Alaafin of Ọyọ needs no introduction. He became Alaafin on November 18, 1970, two years  after Ọyọ Mesi had concluded his election to the exalted throne as the next Alaafin. A man of many parts-as a historian, a sportsman, and  more important-a Cultural Anthropologist. As a leader, Ọba Lamidi Adeyẹmi has become Yoruba culture ambassador- he has championed the promotion and the preservation of Yoruba culture home and abroad. On several occasions he has defended the defenceless, even challenged military regime- at a time when no highly placed Nigerian would do so, because of the associated risk. A fearless, courageous, and people oriented Ọba, who has impacted his domain positively. From 1970 to date, Ọyọ-Alaafin has witnessed economic, social, educational and infrastructural development. Like Alaafin Atiba, who brought far reaching reforms to Ọyọ in mid 19th century, Alaafin Adeyẹmi has brought changes to the traditional institutions in Oke-Ogun area- where several traditional rulers have been elevated.
Ọba Okunade Ṣijuade, Ọọni of Ifẹ-The Olubuṣe 11. Ọba Okunade Ṣijuade, Ọọni of Ifẹ (Olubuṣe 11) mounted the throne of his fore-fathers more than three decades ago. A grass-root and progressive Ọba. Ile-Ifẹ has witnessed so much development under his rulership. Under him, Ọṣun State carved out of Ọyọ; he is the Permanent chairman, Ọṣun State Council of Ọba and chiefs.
Ọba Sikiru Kayọde Adetọna, The Awujalẹ of Ijẹbu-Land, Ọgbagba 11. Ọba Sikiru Kayọde Adetọna, The Awujalẹ of Ijẹbu-Land needs no introduction. He is the longest reigning monarch in Yorubaland, and by extension in Nigeria. Ọba Adetọna ascended the throne of his forefathers in 1959 and witnessed Nigeria becoming a free nation. From his exalted stool, Ọba Adetọna has seen Nigeria from the beginning to date, guided by wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and discernment,  Ọba Adetọna is always with the people. No wonder the Ijẹbus home and abroad see him as their overall father. Ijẹbuland has witnessed phenomenal development under his rulership. From few schools (primary/high) and agro-allied industries in 1959, Ijẹbu-land can boast of four universities, numerous primary and post primary schools. A large number of industries from sole proprietorship to public quoted companies, some of which are owned by Ijẹbu sons and daughters. Besides, Ijẹbuland has witnessed remarkable infrastructural development. A culture ambassador, he introduced Ojude-Ọba carnival- a yearly organized exhibition to show-case Ijẹbu, and more important, rich Yoruba culture to the outside world.
Chief Timothy Adeọla Odutọla, The Ọgbẹni-Ọja of Ijẹbu-land. Chief Timothy Adeọla Odutọla an entrepreneur extraordinaire was born in Ijẹbu-Ode in 1902. After his education, he took up court clerk appointment job in Lagos.  Since he came from a home where trading was a vocation  he resigned and started trading in fabric and fish. Later, he ventured into cocoa and palm oil business and  because of too much control by the then Marketing Board, Chief Odutọla went into tire business in the fifties. As time went on, he established a tire factory in Ijẹbu-Ode, first of its kind in Nigeria. In fact, Chief Odutọla belonged to the first generation of Nigerian entrepreneur- he established several other industries and schools. He was a member and later president of Nigerian Stock Exchange. He died in 1995.
Pa Adebayọ  Faleti 

Alagba Adebayọ Faleti is a Yoruba of repute.  A poet,  an actor, a writer, a teacher, and a culture ambassador. A living legend, whose knowledge of Yoruba has no equal, very good at speaking, but excellent in writing. For over over sixty years, when he founded Ọyọ Youth Operatic Society, his name is synonymous with the development of Yoruba language through literature and drama. His working career spanned over 30 years in media industry.Everywhere he worked, Pa Faleti left a footmark,  a reference point for others to follow. He has several books and plays to his credit, books include: Won Ro pe Were ni, Baṣhọrun Gaa, Ọmọ Olokun Ẹṣin, Magun, and Fere Bi Ẹkun. 

Some of his plays include: Ṣaworo Idẹ, Ṣawo-Ṣọgbẹri, Afọnja, Agogo-Ewọ.
Some of the achievements of Pa Faleti are: introduction of scripting to Yoruba play, translated the National Anthem into Yoruba, and introduced nightly Ramadan broadcast to Muslims. He introduced outside broadcasting Christmas show from town-to-town, when at BSOS, he coined the term “baba Keresi.”
Above all, Pa Faleti introduced the “phone-in” at BSOS, the simultaneous interaction between program anchor and the audience. A regular feature in all electronic media operating in Nigeria as of today.