For three Nigerian undergraduate students, 29th of September was a memorable one. They are the winners of a national essay competition organised by the Dauda Adegbenro Foundation, due to hold its annual lecture in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The students, Osifo Peter of the University of Benin, Gbemisola Ayodeji of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife; and Akintoye Oluwafemi of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, emerged first, second and third best respectively.
Peter will get N50,000 while Ayodeji and Oluwafemi will get N40,000 and N30,000 respectively.
According to the organisers of the Adegbenro Foundation Lecture, the award holding at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library is the climax of a weeklong activities aimed at promoting the legacies of First Republic politician, the late Alhaji Dauda Adegbenro.
While members of the Board of Trustees of the foundation has visited an orphanage, the organisers say the Adegbenro Scholarship and Research Fund will also be inaugurated. With Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and a former Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federaion, Prince Bola Ajibola, being expected as special guests.
The lecture, the foundation says, will focus on national issues, covering politics, economy and development in general. These will reflect on the life and times of the late politician, as captured in his recently revised book titled ‘Resilience in Leadership: Biography of Alhaji Dauda Adegbenro’, written by Olajire Olanlokun, who is also now late. The book forms part of the philosophy of the lecture.
Coming in 12 chapters, the book captures Adegbenro’s early life, his involvement in party politics, his association with Awolowo on the one hand and Akintola on the other, as well as ‘The War of Brothers’, when the battle for the premiership of the Western Region had turned a threat to national peace.
Also accommodated are the legal battle for premiership, post-emergency politics in Western Nigeria, election crises of Adegbenro’s era, a chieftaincy tussle in his Owu town and views of his associates about him.
But as a former Commissioner for Information in Ogun State, Alhaji Yusuf Olaniyonu, notes in his review of the work, it transcends Adegbenro’s personal history. While it captures his attributes such as courage, loyalty and grassroots mobilisation skills, the book engages national history, which is still relevant to the present and the future.
Yusuf notes, “Like every good biography, the book goes beyond the story of a man. It is the reproduction of the history of Nigeria and the politics of an era in which Adegbenro found himself and operated in. The author, while writing about the early life of the late politician, takes us through the history of the early settlement of the people of Owu in Abeokuta and some of the villages in present day Ewekoro and Ifo local government areas in Ogun State.
“From the second chapter, the book takes us through the political life of the late Adegbenro and it continues in that line till the end, except for chapter nine which dwells on the tussle over the Balogun of Owu and Ekerin of Egba chieftaincy titles. Even then, the chieftaincy tussle was in itself a form of local politics.”