• Thursday, June 13, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Here’s what to know about new Olubadan of Ibadan

Senator Lekan Balogun

Senator Lekan Balogun, a prominent technocrat, politician, activist, author, and philanthropist, recently celebrated the historic feat of succeeding late Saliu Adetunji as the 42nd Olubadan of Ibadan.

Born into a royal family, Lekan’s inclination for hard work was evident from an early age.

Young Lekan was enrolled at CAC Modern School, Anlugbua, after completing his primary education. Then he was staying with one of his brothers, Late Hamzat Adewale Balogun, a government servant who was studying privately for the GCE Ordinary Level. Lekan was secretly reading his brother’s email, which proved to be quite useful when he was writing his qualifying test, similar to a ‘G4’ at the time. Lekan took and passed the Qualifying Examination while in his second year of the three-year contemporary school program.

He was a very well-known student, so getting into university was not an issue for him. In fact, he had a number of options before he chose Brunel University. In 1973, he graduated from university with a master’s degree in administration and economics. He worked for one and a half years with the Lamberth Local Government Social Services Department before deciding to pursue his Ph.D

He returned to Nigeria and accepted a position at Zaria’s Ahmadu Bello University. After being hired as a positive research fellow to write papers for the government to highlight how well it was doing rather than normative research, where he would be writing what the government should do, he felt the idea of ‘praise singing’ government programs contradicted his progressive ideological principles.

He later took up an appointment with Shell British Petroleum Company where he had a very flourishing career and got promoted almost every year until he became the Head of Recruitment. This bright prospect notwithstanding, Lekan didn’t stay too long in the company. He was no longer comfortable with a situation whereby as a member of management, he was saying ‘no’ to most of the workers’ demands and using his intellectual prowess to deny workers of what he considered to be their rights.

The military coup of December 1983 kept him and other political giants in the cooler for 16 years. He later re-emerged on the political scene with his election as a distinguished senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 1999. As Senator Lekan Balogun rose in politics so has he continued to rise in the traditional hierarchy of Ibadanland, culminating in his present position as the Olubadan elect of Ibadan land.

Lekan Balogun, until the death of Oba Adetunji, was the Oba Otun Olubadan of Ibadan land, sits on the Board of several companies with interests in Oil and Gas, Distributive Trade, Management Consulting, Mechanized Farming, and Export of non-oil items as well as Travels and Tourism. It was during his sojourn in the UK that Lekan developed the white-black consciousness which crystallised into activism and the struggle for human rights. He later became the gubernatorial candidate of one of the major political parties in the country, the Nigerian People’s Party of Nnamdi Azikiwe.

A former Presidential Aspirant on the platform of SDP, Senator Balogun was also a Gubernatorial Candidate for the PDP in Oyo State in the present political dispensation and a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the Fourth Republic. He was chairman of the Senate Committee on National Planning and was a member of many Senate committees such as Appropriations, Security and Intelligence, Police Affairs, and Defence. His younger brother is the incumbent Senator representing Oyo South in the Senate, Senator Kola Balogun.

Senator Balogun has written and published widely. Many of his publications include but are not limited to; A Review of Nigeria’s 4 years’ Development Plan, 1970-1974; Nigeria: Social Justice or Doom; Power for Sale: published in Punch Newspaper; Arrogance of Power; Nigeria

As Oba Lekan Balogun rose in politics so has he continued to rise in the traditional hierarchy of Ibadanland, culminating in his present position as the second in rank to Olubadan of Ibadan land.

Today, Kabiyesi Lekan Balogun is celebrating his 75 years on earth and it is our fervent prayers that he lives long enough to move to the next level as the Olubadan of Ibadanland.