When indigenes dissected Herbert Macaulay’s Ibadan heritage

September 12, 2019
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THE core of Ibadan gathered recently at the legendary Mapo Hall in Ibadan for a book launch and a kind of convergence. The event witnessed a gathering of sons, daughters, children and friends of the famous city for the presentation of the book entitled ‘Herbert Macaulay a.k.a. Oyinbo Alawo Dudu’, focuses on the man whose name is its title and commissioned by Ibadan Action Council (IAC), an affiliate club of the Central Council of Ibadan Indigenes (CCII).

“Herbert Macaulay, a.k.a. Oyinbo Alawo Dudu” was written by the first Managing Director of Ogun-Oshun River Development Authority (OORBDA), Jide Fatokun, an engineer who holds a PhD in Agricultural Engineering (Soil and Water) and a proud Ibadan son. The 149-page book is the result of an extensive research to prove that Herbert Macaulay, regarded as the father of Nigerian nationalism, is of Ibadan ancestry.

The event had in attendance prominent sons and daughters of the iconic city who had converged on the historic Mapo Hall to give solidarity to Dr Fatokun and the IAC, as well as promote the cause of Ibadan, which is among the core mandates of CCII.

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In a goodwill message, the Aale of Oke’Lerin in Ogbomoso, Oba Samuel Babtunde Oyebamiji Amao II, said he was a major stakeholder in the project of tracing the origin of Herbert Macaulay. The traditional ruler said he was involved “as the traditional head of the community that hosted the family which traced the descent and parentage of Herbert Samuel Heelas Kitoyi Lasaki Macaulay in Arere’s Compound, Okeelerin, Ogbomoso.”

Adding to his argument, the Aale of Okeelerin said: “Quoting The Drum magazine of October 1970, Oriare, a native of Ogbomoso and the progenitor of the Macaulays later migrated to Ibadan. One of the sons of Oriare called Ojo Oriare got married to Kilangbe, who was a granddaughter of the founder of Ile Ogo in the Oyo province of the Western Nigeria.”

Oba Amao commended the Federal Government for returning history as a subject into the Nigerian academic curricula and also praised the work of the author in putting the book together, describing these as “a step in the right direction.”

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In reviewing the book, Professor Remi Akinade commended the IAC and the author for the work and noted that it was a praiseworthy study into the life of Nigeria’s historic figures, especially Herbert Macaulay and Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther. Professor Akinade recommended the book for all Nigerians, saying it would expand their horizon.

In a foreword to the book, foremost Professor of Oral History, Bolanle Awe, noted that the author’s findings to write “Herbert Macaulay, a.k.a. Oyinbo Alawo Dudu” had “shown the significance of oral traditions.”

Professor Awe, however, advised that “much still has to be done to confirm his interviews with members of Macaulay’s ancestral compounds in Ibadan and Ogbomoso. The assertion by his son, Ogedengbe Macaulay that he was of Ibadan ancestry has to be proved either from Ogedengbe’s records or from other sources.”

Professor Awe said we owe Jide Fatokun for drawing attention to this aspect of the life of Herbert Macaulay and for working really hard to trace the ancestry of Macaulay to Ibadan in an assiduous manner.

In the six chapters of the book, the author discusses “Oriare in the establishment of Ibadan”; “the Sierra Leone episode”; “Thomas Babington Macaulay (1826 – 1878)”; “Herbert Olayinka Macaulay”; “Colonial Government always on his trail” and “emergence of Nigerian nationalism” in that order. One of the many unique features of the book is the inclusion of some of the writings of Herbert Macaulay in its appendix, and this is apart from photographs.

Fatokun’s latest book is a product of extensive research into the roots, life and work of the subject matter, and the work traces the ancestry of Macaulay from the history of the Oriare family backwards from Kissy, Sierra Leone to Ibadan, through Ajase’po now in Kwara State and Ile Areree, Okeelerin, said to be the genesis of Ogbomoso. It also sought to establish that Odelotan, the progenitor of the Oriare family emigrated to Ibadan in the wake of the establishment of the present Ibadan early in the 19th century.

The book is a credible contribution to the studies in the life of the foremost Nigerian and father of the popular political activism in the country. Just like Dr Fatokun has done, kudos must be given to Ibadan Action Council for commissioning the work, thereby furthering the cause of knowledge and deepening the discourse on the enigma called Hebert Olayinka Macaulay.

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