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Akinyele, Isaac (Oba)
1880 to 1965
Christ Apostolic Church (Aladura)
Nigeria


Oba Isaac Akinyele was the Olubadan of Ibadan, a traditional ruler of Ibadan, one of the largest cities in Africa. During his reign he promoted Christianity in Ibadan and the surrounding areas.

He was the son of Josiah Akinyele, an early convert to Christianity in the eighteenth century. His twin brother Alexander became a clergyman and later a bishop. As a clergyman, Alexander was one of the founders of the Ibadan grammar school. Isaac entered government services in the junior ranks to which Nigerians were confined in those days, becoming a customs inspector for the Ibadan District Council in 1903. Later Isaac worked as a farmer for a couple of years. In 1914, he and his brother formed the Egba Agba O'Tan, a small tribal association.

Isaac Akinyele became an active member of the Christ Apostolic Church (a pentecostal denomination) and served for a long time as the church's president in Nigeria. He also became a chief and rose steadily in the traditional hierarchy over which an Oba, the Olubadan, has ruled since 1936. He became Otun Balogun and then in late 1953, Balogun. Problems were expected because the title had close associations with the traditional Yoruba religion which made it difficult for a devout Christian to hold such a title. But the problems were overcome and Akinyele rose steadily towards the Oba's throne.

He was involved in politics as a party supporter of the Action Group (AG). His political interests conflicted with those of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC),--which controlled the Ibadan District Council--and its local leader, Adegoke Adelabu. In 1955, he was elected Olubadan of Ibadan after serving as chief judge.

In 1962 Oba Akinyele's rule was soon engulfed in the turbulent political development in Western Nigeria, the result of which was a growing rift in the Action Group between its leader, chief Obafemi Awolowo, and his deputy and premier of the Western Region, chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola. This came to an end when Alhaji Adegbenro, Awolowo's supporter was appointed premier by governor Sir Adesoji Aderemi, the Oni of Ife. Disorder broke out in the House of Assembly as the new premier was presenting his government for vote of confidence. Following the subsequent outbreak of violence both among the parliamentarians in the assembly and among their supporters outside, the region was placed under a state of emergency. The government was suspended and Dr. Moses A. Majekodunmi was appointed sole administrator of the Western region.

Throughout the entire political crisis Oba Akinyele remained aloof, placing himself at the disposal of any peace initiative for which Ibadan was a venue on several occasions. He ruled for only ten years but left an enduring legacy. He died in May 1965.


Sources Consulted Include:

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ARTICLES IN LEARNED JOURNALS
* Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria (Ibadan : Ibadan University Press): Vol. V Nos. 2 & 3, 1970, (Adeleye, R. A.).
* Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria (Ibadan : Ibadan University Press): Vol. VI Nos. 204, 1969, (Ekejiuba, F.).
* Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria, "A Biographical Sketch," (Omu Okwei), (Ibadan : Ibadan University Press): Vol. III No 4, 1967.
* Journal of African History, (London : Cambridge University Press): Vol. V No 3, 194 (Hopkins A. G.).

PERIODICALS AND NEWSPAPERS CONSULTED
Africa (Tunis : Ministère des Affaires Culturelles et de l'Information, 1971 ff).
Africa Diary (Delhi : Africa Publications (India), 1961 ff).
Africa Research Bulletin (Africa Research Ltd), (Oxford : Blackwell, 1964 ff).
Ambassador International (Vol 211; 1985).
Commonwealth Currents (1978).
Guardian (London, s.n.).
Independent (London, s.n.).
The Times (London).
West Africa (London : West Africa Publishing, 1917).

External link

Encyclopaedia Britannica (complete article): Aladura