Good people die everyday. Yet not all of them affirm for us the goodness in humanity and leadership the way Chief Ezekiel Adetunji Adebusuyi did. Chief Adebusuyi whom my grandmother introduced to me as ‘Ola Iya,’ was an indisputable passionate Osu community leader. A man of many facets – Leader, Teacher, Mentor, a politician, and a committed Methodist Christian. A contemplative man by nature he took Osu community, family, and Church to the heart of his existence. His main pursuits connected Osu and well being of the sons and daughters of Osu. Chief Adebusuyi in his mentorship capacity, leadership was delivered contemplatively and reflectively. Chief Adebusuyi’s patience allowed people to learn their lessons in their own time. As a mentor he promoted success through self discipline. Chief Adebusuyi carried out his leadership role in the community as privately and humbly as possible often used his own resources and contacts to steward community development and youth employment. Chief Adebusuyi led from the heart without a need for fan-fare. In Osu community Chief Adebusuyi was a visionary, he planned meeting and projects with cognitive maps allowing him to organise his plans. Chief Adebusuyi loved people, and was willing to do the hard work it takes to build all kinds of relationships and developments including the construction of Osu Town Hall, and Loja’s palace. His legacy lives and breathes kindness.

Chief Adebusuyi was born on the 5th day of February 1925 to Pa George Bewaji Adebusuyi, a scion of the Ofokutu dynasty of the Ijesa, and Madam Alice Ekunkeyede Adebusuyi, daughter of the legendary Fatilewa (Iroko Barafon), the Premier Looyin of Osu, both of blessed memory. His father died and the job of sending him to school fell on his mother.

He started his primary school education at the Methodist School, Oke Oja, Osu in Atakumosa West Local Government of Osun State in the year 1932. There he was until the end of 1938 when Rev Albert Olusoal Orekoya (1906-1976) who later became Methodist Bishop of Ibadan Diocese, recognising the potential in him, took him along to Odo Igbira (now Odo Aiyedun Ekiti) on the latter’s transfer from Osu to Odo-Igbira in Ifaki Circuit of the Methodist Church. At Odo Igbira, he read standard five and six in 1939 and 1940.

With reference to his biography, in January 1941 Chief Adebusuyi was appointed a pupil teacher and stationed in Methodist School, Ikole Ekiti. Thereafter, and in 1942 he was advised to come home. He then applied to the Rev R. N Ludlow, Manager, Ilesa Circuit of the Methodist Church for appointment as a teacher. The application succeeded and he was posted to work at Methodist School, Osogbo in January 1943.

At the end of 1943, Chief Adebusuyi took the entrance examination to Wesley College, Ibadan and he was among the successful candidate who entered Wesley College, Ibadan, in 1944. The course ended in 1947 and he was among the successful candidates in the Teachers’ Higher Elementary Certificate Examination of that year.

At the end of his training, Chief Adebusuyi was located to Abeokuta Circuit and was posted to Itesi Methodist School, Abeokuta to teach. Between 1948 and 1950, he was at Imo Girls School, Abeokuta and Asero Modern School, Abeokuta. On the 21st of December 1950, he got married to the amiable Christianah Mosunmola Taiwo Adebusuyi (Nee Soluade) at St Peter’s Anglican Church, Ake, Abeokuta. His friend and classmate at Wesley College, Justice S.O Ajileye was the bestman of the occasion. We look forward to celebrate with mama on her 70 years wedding anniversary in December, 2020.

In the same month after his marriage, Chief Adebusuyi was transferred from Abeokuta to assume duty as headmaster of the United School, Aiyetoro, Egbado, a joint School of the Anglican and Methodist Churches, which he developed up to standard 6 by 1952. In 1954, he was transferred back to Abeokuta to teach at the Methodist Secondary Modern School, Asero. He was in this school till 1955 when was transferred to Ibadan to assume duties as supervisor of Schools for Ibadan Circuit. He resigned his appointment as supervisor of schools in May 1957 in a bid to further his education overseas.

It is on record that Chief Adebusuyi proceeded to England in July, 1957, for further studies the same year he built his first house, ‘Ola Iya’ House in Osu. He returned to Nigeria in December 1963, having qualified as a Chartered Secretary of the Chartered Institute of Secretary and Administration and Associate member of the National Institute of Credit Management. Chief Adebusuyi was very helpful to Nigerian students in United Kingdom especially in accommodating the few ones from Osu. On his return from England, he was among the foundation officers of the Agricultural Credit Corporation of the then Western Region of Nigeria.

Chief Adebusuyi returned to Nigeria when politics was going through turbulent time. It is important to note that the National Congress of Nigeria and Cameroon (later National Council of Nigeria Citizens, NCNC) was launched in August 1944, the Northern People’s Congress was launched in Kaduna on October 1, 1950 and the Action Group Party was launched in April 1951. The three parties reflected the three tribes in Nigeria, Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa, hence, ethnicity became the hallmark of Nigeria politics even till date. A year after Chief Adebusuyi’s return to Nigeria, 1964, the third Federal election was held, following after those of 1954 and 1959. The post-1959 NPC –NCNC coalition government devoid of ideological compatibility among others finally broke down with the row over 1963 census figure. There was also a schism in the AG in 1962 when Samuel Ladoke Akintola and his followers left the AG and formed the United People’s Party (UPP), and later the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP). On 3rd June 1964, the NCNC formed an alliance with the Action Group in Western Region and christened the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA). Under the Premiership of Akintola in Western Nigeria and Pa Odeleye Fadahunsi as Governor, Chief Adebusuyi served as Secretary, Ijesa South Local Government with the headquarters at Ilesa. Sir Folorunso Ogunjuyigbe explained that, the tragic ravage of the Nigerian political system by tensions and strains that has been developing through years of political conflict was very turbulent and explosive in Western Nigeria. There was political stalemate most especially in 1965, pre and post election rigging and violence, the ‘Wetie’ violence in the defunct Western Nigeria until the military intervention on 15th January 1966.

Sir Ogunjuyigbe and Prince Dire Arimoro agreed that Osu community was not exempted from the election riot and violence in 1965. According to them, in the bid to maintain peace and order, mobile policemen were drafted to Osu on the order of the regional government to maintain peace and two people lost their lives in the crisis. On the election crisis, Sir Ogunjuyigbe explained that Chief Adebusuyi was a misconstrued person, a passionate and good person whose action or intention was given a false understanding and interpretation. According to Sir Ogunjuyigbe, “Chief Adebusuyi loved the town than any other persons I came across. Osu is number One to Chief Adebusuyi even before his family and church. The problem was that, people don’t understand him, especially the educated elites, hence a sort of power tussle between the old order and the new order.” Sir Ogunjuyigbe explained that, beyond the political crisis, Chief Adebusuyi used his position to employ a lot of people into the Civil service. He was very instrumental to the construction of Osu Town Hall, the Loja’s palace, and the location of the Atakumosa Local Government Headquarters in Osu in the defunct Oyo State .

While Chief Adebusuyi was still in the civil service, he was invited to be Loja of Osu after the ascension of Loja Adekanye but he excused himself to be allowed to retire before venturing into the traditional throne. Chief Adebusuyi whose weekly visit to Osu from Ibadan became a routine provided leadership to the maiden Odun Iyo in Osu in 1976. Special thanks to his wife for her support. Mama is indeed model of Proverbs 31 woman.

On the creation of States in 1976, Chief Adebusuyi was reassigned to Oyo State Water Corporation as Secretary. It is important to note that Osu water system was given priority before Chief Adebusuyi returned to mainstream Civil Service and retired in 1981. I became very close to Chief Adebusuyi in 1981 when I started teaching at Osu and I always looked forward to our weekend chats basically on Osu development and church matters.

Chief Adebusuyi was a devout Christian of the Methodist Church. He was a lay preacher of the Church before he went on further studies overseas. While still as a student in England, he presented a musical organ to Methodist Church, Oke Oja, Osu. On 29th December, 1985, he was installed the Baba Ijo of Methodist Church Oke Oja, Osu. Chief Adebusuyi worked with others like Ambassador Ogunjuyigbe, Chief R O Fasetire, Baba Ogunjemite, Mr S O Odekunle, Baba Fagbamiye, Baba Gabriel Ojo, Baba Amos Akilapa, Baba Fakolade, Mama Fatuyi, Mrs Deborah Ale, Mr Falaye, Mr Maayo Akilapa, Mr I F Farodoye, Mr Moses Okegbile, Mr Adesoyin, Rev Ojoniyi, Mr Wole Oni, Mr Fatundimu and many others in the construction of the new church building. Being ordinary resident in Ibadan, Chief Adebusuyi worshipped at Methodist Cathedral, Agbeni, until his ascension. In the Cathedral, he was a member of the prestigious Wesley Group of which he one served as President. He was also a class leader. On the 14 years of Methodist crisis in Nigeria especially on the issue of disagreement over the church’s 1976 Constitution which reared its head after 1974 Conference at Immanuel College, Ibadan, Methodist Cathedral, Agbeni where Chief Adebusuyi worshipped was the major base for the Presidential group in the Western region. However, Chief Adebusuyi’s bid to extend the group to Ijesaland was blocked by Sir Michael Familusi and others who were in support of the Patriarchal group.

One of the major trying times for Chief Adebusuyi and his loyalists was in 1989 when he contested for the vacant stool of Loja of Osu after the ascension of Loja Omolade Adeyokunnu who died on 11th June, 1989. Sir Ogunjuyigbe explained that old and new animosities were built up by his opponents hence at Owa Obokun’s palace, ‘Prince Jethro Adegoke’s candidature was approved as the fourth Loja of Osu.’

Chief Adebusuyi, an urban person, meek and cool was honoured on 19th November, 1994 by the Methodist Church Nigeria with the award of “Member of the Order of the Wesleys” (MOW) at the Methodist Church of the Trinity, Tinubu Lagos. He fiddled smoothly on the harmonium and was a lover of church music. He was made Otun Ajiroba of Egbe-Oba by His Royal Majesty Oba Adetunla Adeleye II, the Elekole of Ikole and Paramount Ruler of Egbe-Oba Land, on 14th January, 1983. He breathed his last at Alafia Hospital, Adamasingba, Ibadan, on the 18th day of October 2001.

Chief Adebusuyi will be remembered for his exceptional sense of humour, his boldness, his genuine love of his community, Osu, humanity and his interest in the educational progress of anybody that came his way. He was truly a man for his people of Osu. Chief Adebusuyi popularly called “GRANDAD” is survived by a wife Mrs Christianah Mosunmola Adebusuyi. It was a thing of joy to speak with grandma on phone yesterday and she was able to recognise my voice immediately. Thanks to all my big brothers and sisters for caring for grandma.  We remember Chief Adebusuyi’s late senior sister, Madam Esther Adepeju Aluko-Shadare, his late junior brother, Chief Oluwafemi Adebusuyi and his late “twin” Justice S.O Ajileye. Please, remember his beautiful wife ‘GRANDMA,’ children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws in prayer.