*Says School he founded mentored his children
It was with much sadness but gratitude to God that I learnt of the passing of one of the great personalities of our beloved country and of Kwara State of Nigeria, Chief Emmanuel Olatunji Adesoye.
Chief Adesoye during his eventful life was a well-known industrialist, philanthropist and educationist. It is difficult to say among the three areas of endeavour, in which one he made the most impact. I would say without contradiction that he made his mark in all of them and more.
As an educationist, I would describe him and many would so describe him, as a torch-bearer of education being a pioneer of private School education. He founded the now famous Adesoye College, Offa which has positively influenced the lives of thousands of young people from all the nooks and crannies of our large country.
Adesoye College was so good and its academic achievements so lofty that it attracted the attention of many prominent Nigerians who shunned overseas institutions and sent their children to the School for proper academic grooming and moral training. I am proud to say that I am one of such parents, as four of my children namely, Adamu, Halima, Aminu and Abba, attended the School. I thank him for taking good care of our children and helping to mould them into quality individuals.
As an industrialist, I would say that late Chief Adesoye was special and exceptional. In fact, he was an industrial enthusiast. If you want to give him a pseudonym, it would not be out of place to call him Chief Okin after his Okin Biscuit Industry and Okin Foam both of which he founded. Okin Biscuit Industries, Offa was so good that it was found and consumed in all parts of our large country.
The people of Kwara State and especially indigenes of the ancient town of Offa, will be eternally grateful to this man of vision because he put his native town on the map of Africa and the World as an industrial town where the people enjoyed modern employment and amenities. He provided water, electricity and access roads which benefitted the people of Offa as these amenities were necessary for the proper functioning of industries.
Aside from being a notable educationist, late chief Adesoye was well educated in his own right and the accolade for this goes to his humble but hard-working parents.
He attended the popular African Bethel School, Ebute-Metta in Lagos, an old primary School that has moulded many a great life. He proceeded to St. Marks School also in Lagos for a brief period before moving back to his hometown of Offa, to attend the popular Offa Grammar School. He was at the Yaba Technical College at Yaba, Lagos and the Nigeria College of Arts, Science and Technology, the fore- runner of the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT) Enugu, in 1959.
From 1961-1963, he attended the South East College of Arts, Science and Technology in the UK where he studied Quantity Surveying and became a Fellow of the Institute of Quantity Surveyors, UK.
Chief Adesoye was the first Quantity Surveyor in Northern Nigeria and the second Nigerian to bag the professional qualification. A Fellow of both the Royal (UK) and Nigerian Institute of Chartered Surveyors, late CHIEF Adesoye served as Chairman of the then Afribank Limited.
The late educationist and philanthropist held many traditional titles notably, the Baba Isale of Odo Owa, Maye of Offa and Asiwaju of Offa. In 1996, this illustrious son of Offa, was elected President of Offa Development Union (ODU) in which capacity he contributed lavishly and spearheaded many development projects in the ancient town.
Like many other people who came across this great man in various ways, I would say I consider myself lucky and privileged to have known him and savoured of his great accomplishments in various fields of human endeavor.
Late Chief Adesoye would be greatly missed by the people of Kwara State, and Nigeria at large and more especially by his illustrious family. At a time like this, and in view of the many fruitful years God in his mercy granted him to labour and enjoy this life, we can only once again show gratitude to God, and enjoin his family, friends and associates to show fortitude as they struggle to cope with the reality of this loss.