Post Image

Olowofoyeku was born on 21st May 1917, and he grew up as the last born of a traditional extended family in Ilesha, a town in the west-south-west of what had previously been Northern Nigeria, a protectorate within the British Empire. Ilesha had previously been right on the border with Southern Nigeria and was near the border with French-ruled Dahomey. In 1914, both British protectorates, together with the Colony of Lagos, were amalgamated as the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria. Olowofoyeku was born about three years after this new colonial entity had been created by the British. His father died a few months before he was born. His mother enrolled him at the age of 5 at Otapete Methodist School and he was baptized there in the Methodist Church in 1924 and assumed the Christian name “Daniel”.
Read more about Nigerians in history
In school at Otapete Methodist, Olowofoyeku met a classmate, Tai Solarin, then known as Augustus Solarin who became a lifelong friend. They both attended St. Andrew’s College, Oyo, from 1936 until 1942. Solarin later said that he was radically changed by Olowofoyeku’s final essay in which he made the observation that some of the colonialists were ignorant, and not well-prepared for the duties they were assigned, and therefore had no business running the lives of Nigerians. For this essay, he was punished for challenging the status quo and suspended from college in his final academic year. However, he sat for and passed the final teacher’s examination as an external student a year later. He later dropped the middle name “Daniel” as a protest against his perceived oppression by the colonial authorities. In 1932, Olowofoyeku accepted a starting position as a pupil-teacher at Otapete Methodist School, before beginning his teacher training at St. Andrew’s College. Teaching career Olowofoyeku taught at Oduduwa College from October 1942 until 1943. His students included Richard Akinjide, later Attorney General of Nigeria. From 1943 until January 1947, he was the Latin teacher at Methodist Boys High School, Lagos. His first appointment as Principal was at Western Boys High School, Benin, from January 1947 until December 1948. During this tenure in 1948, he took and passed the External Intermediate BA degree of the University of London by studying through a correspondence course. Olowofoyeku moved to Ijebu-Ode to take up an appointment as the 3rd Principal of Olu-Iwa College (which changed its name to Adeola Odutola College in 1964), serving from January 1949 until December 1949.
Sign up for the Connect Nigeria daily newsletter

Political career

Olowofoyeku had experienced the social injustices and powerlessness associated with his prejudicial treatment as a student at St. Andrew’s College and was determined to find a political platform to fight against the system that created it. Urged by the nationalistic teachings of Herbert Macaulay, he became acquainted with Nnamdi Azikiwe, leader of the NCNC, through Chief Odeleye Fadahunsi, another Ijesha elder visiting London. Olowofoyeku joined the NCNC in 1952 and became an executive member of the NCNC under Azikiwe in 1954. The Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria were superseded in October 1954 by the Federation of Nigeria, a federal colony which eventually gained extensive self-government within the British Empire. The United Kingdom finally granted the Federation independence as a dominion within the Commonwealth of Nations on 1 October 1960. Olowofoyeku was elected as chairman of the Ilesha Urban District Council (IUDC) in 1956, and in the same year won his election to the Western Region’s House of Assembly. During this tenure, he sought to modernize Ilesha to the standards he had witnessed being achieved by London County Council during his studies in London. His accomplishments in Ilesha included the installation of pipe-borne water, electricity, market development, town planning, road constructions, sanitation and council staff welfare. Olowofoyeku was a member of the NCNC delegates’ team to the Nigerian Constitutional Conferences in London in 1957 and 1958, the objectives of which were to seek Nigerian Independence from Britain. He was also elected into the Western House of Assembly in 1956 on the platform of the NCNC representing the Ilesha Central Constituency. Olowofoyeku was a member of the NCNC Committee on Africa and Foreign Affairs. He also headed the NCNC Legal Defence Committee, which also included Richard Akinjide, Chief Adeniran Ogunsanya, Kehinde Sofola, and Tunji Ogunbiyi.
Register to attend the Connect Nigeria Business Mixer
Olowofoyeku was a distinguished opposition House member even though not a member of Action Group (Nigeria) (AG), the ruling party of Obafemi Awolowo. Awolowo’s assessment of the political abilities of Olowofoyeku was that: “He [Olowofoyeku] had a good sense of justice and belief in democracy”. Having gained independence from the British as a dominion on 1 October 1960, the Federation of Nigeria lasted until 1 October 1963, when it became a republic within the Commonwealth called the Federal Republic of Nigeria. In 1963, Olowofoyeku was appointed Minister of Education, replacing Sanya Onabamiro. However, after the creation of the Mid-Western State in July 1963, Olowofoyeku was installed as Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Western Region on 26 September 1963. He was also at the same time appointed a Queen’s Counsel (QC) by the British Government, as recognition of his official legal duties to the Commonwealth. Death On 26 March 2003, at the age of 85, Olowofoyeku died. His funeral, which lasted several days, was held partly in the High Court in Lagos, at his main residence in Victoria Island, and at his two homes in Ilesha. Reference Featured Image Source: Married Wiki
Got a suggestion? Contact us:

You might also like:
This article was first published on 1st May 2022 and updated on May 6th, 2022 at 10:39 pm


Jeremiah is a scholar and a poet. He has a keen eye for studying the world and is passionate about people. He tweets at @jeremiahaluwong.

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *