THE BIOGRAPHY OF AKOGUN MAIKEL OLUSEGUN OKEOWO – Nigeria’s Most Celebrated Students Union Leader (1941-2014); President, National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS) 1977/78

Maikel EniOlorunda Lasisi Olusegun Okeowo was born on 5th August 1941 during the Second World War to Papa Jeremiah Okeowo and Madam Abigail Alaba Okeowo. He was the first son of his father and mother out of the seven children of his father, and two of his mother. His mother had lost twelve children to infant mortality before he was born. Thus, he was named “EniOlorunda” (Specially made by God) when it became clear that he was not going to die like others.

His Primary education started at the Sokoya School in rural Agbele in 1948 from where he had to move to African Church Bethel School, Ijoku, and Sagamu and from where he came back to Sokoya Wesley School, then in Sagamu. He completed the first (Primary Six) Leaving Certificate Examination in December 1955, moved to the United Secondary Modern School, Sagamu in 1956 and finished in December 1958.

His early schooling life was lived in several places including Isote with paternal grandmother, Gisanrin; along Robert Street with Iya Olorisa Kehinde Sobajo; at Etitale-Sabo-Ofin with his father’s Sister, Madam Hannah Olusesi; at Emuko with one produce clerk Mr. Isola off Isote Street; with a brother teacher, Mr. Samson Adekunle and at Agbowa in Agaga compound, with another family friends; the Bamigbelus/Odutalas.

He had to leave Ewu Lisa near Eruwuru every morning through Iwelepe, Araromi and Rofo towards the rural village Sokoya School with books and food in the school bag. Later, he had to leave the Ewu Lisa rural residence for Sagamu every Sunday evening for Sagamu to school and return to Ewu Lisa farmstead on Friday afternoons after schooling was over. In another language, the weekends were usually spent in the Lisa village and Kajola farmstead up till the end of his Secondary Modern Three in December 1958.

He left for Lagos in February 1958 to seek non-teaching employment but none was forthcoming until June 1958 when he was employed as a teacher by the Lagos Diocesan Anglican Mission and posted to St. Philip’s School, in riverine Ese-Offin, near Ojo, now in Lagos state.

He was transferred to St. Michaels’s School Ojo in January 1961 and in January 1962, he gained admission into St. Luke’s College, Ibadan for the Teacher’s Grade Two Certificate which he completed in December 1964.

In January 1965, he was again posted to St. Luke’s Secondary Modern School, Okuku and two years later he was posted to St. Michael’s Primary School, Okuku in the Odo Otin District of Osun State.

On 29th May 1965, he got married to his heart-throb, Princess Alice Kemi Abayomi of Sagamu.  The marriage produced his first five biological children.

Between January 1968 and December 1970, he was in Off,a Kwara State with Adesiyans and the Olawoyins. Two distinguished families in Offa that had tremendous positive input and impacts on his life, in terms of taste and style. Simply put, Chief (Mrs.) Adeola Adesiyan and Chief Josiah Sunday Olawoyin were two of his roles models.

His Offa connection was instrumental to his community leadership posture. He loved sincerity, loathed hypocrisy and pitched his tents always on the permanent site of the oppressed. Hence, his continued struggle against injustice. “Live or die but don’t subsist like a living dead” was Akogun Segun Okeowo’s most cherished maxim.

He was correspondent student of the Rapid Result College between 1965 and 1970 to strengthen his education with the Ordinary and Advanced Levels of the General Certificate of Education with the intention of gaining admission into one of Nigeria’s Universities.

The ambition did not readily materialize and he had to accept admission into the Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo for the Nigerian Certificate of Education; NCE in English & Geography between January 1971 and June 1973.

At the Adeyemi College he was seriously involved in both student unionism and campus journalism. “Mallam Badman the He-goat” was his pseudonym in Adeyemi while he was renamed “Mallam Blunt Pen” two years later at the Unilag. At Adeyemi College of Education, he was elected President of Students’ Union.

He was posted to St. Peter’s College, Abeokuta in 1973 where he taught up till October 1973 before proceeding to the University of Lagos to read Political Science, Philosophy and English. His involvement in Students’ Unionism at the University of Lagos was a worthwhile record. He was elected University of Lagos Students’ Union President during the 1976/77 session and a year later, he was elected National President of the National Union of Nigeria Students (NUNS) for the 1977/78 session.

Akogun at the constituent Assembly

He became a member of the Constituent Assembly by virtue of his office as the NUNS National President in 1977. His NUNS leadership led to the famous National Struggle for democratization of Education popularly referred to as “Ali Must Go” during the General Olusegun Obasanjo Military dictatorship between 1976 and 1979. Nigerians Students’ were brutally vandalized, leading to the dastard murder of many of his colleagues especially at the University of Lagos and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Three other students’ union presidents; Bukar Mbaya from ABU, Zaria. Ekpein Appah from UNIBEN and Offiong Aquah from UNICAL along with him were rusticated, but they managed to get their rustication annulled by President Shehu Shagari thus allowing them to go back to complete the interrupted degree studies which Olusegun Okeowo conditionally did at the University of Ife.

During the 18 month rustication (April 1978-October 1979), Chief Gani Fawehinmi gave him “professional asylum” in his chambers during which time more than one hundred legal cases pending in various courts across the country (Lagos, Ibadan, Kaduna, Calabar, Port Harcourt, Benin, Ile-Ife, Zaria, etc) against students involved in the struggle were successfully prosecuted with all the appellants discharged and acquitted.

Akogun with Gani Fawehinmi

The case filed against him by the FGN had no substance; hence he was discharged and acquitted at the Federal High Court, TBS, Lagos after a 43-day detention in the Ikoyi Prisons had been declared illegal .Thanks to the legal competence and brave performance of Chief Gani Fawehinmi, the only unconditional benefactor of the struggle.

Nigerian students showed exemplary concern for their leadership either in detention or in exile and marshaled magnanimous solidarity. About two or three of the Universities donated N14, 000.00 (fourteen thousand naira only) channeled through Chief Gani Fawehinmi which was shared equally among the aforementioned four rusticated leaders including Segun Okeowo.

His own share of the donation (N3, 500.00) was used to initiate the building of his house at 21A Surulere Street, Makun Sagamu on a small parcel of land, freely given to him by his mother, Madam Abigail Alaba Okeowo. The house, whose foundation was laid in 1980, was finished in 1986. It is a symbolic house that stands as a memorable partial relief to the pains of the struggle.

The Olabisi Onabanjo’s UPN/ OGSG also showed concern for his plight by granting him a study leave with pay to complete his interrupted studies at the University of Ife. Chief Sesan Soluade, the Deputy Governor, facilitated this gesture for which he remained grateful till he passed on in 2014..

 After his Graduation (B.A. Hons English, the University of Ife in June 1981) he continued teaching at the Methodist Teacher’s Training College, Sagamu from where he was appointed principal for Ogijo Community High School, Ogijo in November 1984.

He was a residential principal in Ogijo for fifty months until January 1989 when he was transferred to Makun High School, Sagamu where he served for almost seven years until October 1995, when he was posted to Remo Secondary School for a fifteen-month tenure from October 1995 to December 1996.

His final posting, as public Secondary School Principal, was to Christ Apostolic Grammar School, Iperu Remo for three years between January 1997 and December 1999 when he retired as a Grade Level 16 principal after a forty-year public service (1959-1999)

While at Ogijo, he initiated a supplementary relationship with Miss Florence Oluyemisi (Nee Leshi) of Isara and the relationship graduated into a second marriage in 1994. That marriage produced another two children.

His sixteen year tenure as a principal between 1984 and 1999 in the four secondary schools saw him through a wide range of exposures, experiences and professional vicissitudes at the end of which he had cause to praise the Lord for His Grace and in granting him the victory and the glory.

In October 1994, for example, the Ewusi of Makun in Sagamu, HRH Oba Olutayo Efuawape Ogunsowo (Inanuwa II) singled him out and was    conferred with the chieftaincy he had earmarked for him several years ago. That was how he became the Akogun of Makun, Sagamu, and the very first of Makun in Sagamu.

In December 1997, the conferment of a honourary PhD was conferred on him by the All Saints’ University of New York, U.S.A  

In December 1998, the Alaperu of Iperu Remo and the Ebi of Idena, Iperu Remo, separately conferred on him two different heavyweight chieftaincy titles as the Obamuwagun of Iperu and the Bobajiro of Idena-Iperu, respectively. Both chieftaincy tittles were conferred consecutively on the same day, Friday 18th of December 1998. Citations at all the three conferments quoted him as an exemplary leader worthy of emulation.

By Akogun Olusegun Okeowo’s own assessment, teaching is the most noblest and most rewarding of all professions. His teaching tenure was highly productive with several heavyweight citizens including doctors, lawyers, farmers, teachers, engineers, technocrats, administrators’ etc, graduating through his tutorials.   

Retired but not tired, Akogun Olusegun Okeowo made a foray into politics in the year 2003. His former disciple as a Student Union’ President in 1978, Otunba Gbenga Daniel was seeking election into the office of the Ogun State Governor and had enlisted his support and services as the Director of Research and Publicity of the OGD Campaign Organization. However, throughout the journey into politics, he maintained he was not a politician but ‘an activist in politics’

In the year 2002, he married a third wife, Mojibade. The marriage produced a child.

In 2003, he was appointed a Commissioner 1 in the Teaching Service Commission (TESCOM) of Ogun State. In 2007, he officially resumed office as the Chairman of the Commission, an office he held till May 2011.

In May 2008, The Akarigbo of Remoland, Oba Michael Adeniyi Sonariwo, Erinjugbo II; OON, conferred upon him the title of Baameto of Remoland.

A die hard community practitioner, Akogun was the grand patron of “THE AKOGUN BASE’’ a social-political cultural and youth oriented NGO based in Sagamu. He was also conferred the GRAND COMMANDER OF NIGERIAN TEACHERS by the Nigeria Union of Teachers.  He was also conferred with the Life membership of the University of Lagos Students Union amongst numerous other honours from students’ bodies.

Fadesewa Of Simawa, conferring upon Segun Okeowo; Olootu Omoba of Simawa

A community leader and communal development pioneer per excellence, he was conferred with the Chieftaincy title of the OLOOTU OMOOBA (Head of The Ruling Houses) of Simawa, Sagamu In 2010. He lived in the rural community of Simawa, until his final passage.

On January, 28 2014, Akogun Maikel Olusegun Okeowo departed the world after a brief illness in his Sagamu home.   

One thought on “THE BIOGRAPHY OF AKOGUN MAIKEL OLUSEGUN OKEOWO – Nigeria’s Most Celebrated Students Union Leader (1941-2014); President, National Union of Nigerian Students (NUNS) 1977/78

  1. No doubt daddy was gifted, blessed and fervent in whatever he sets his mind to achieve. He was selfless and full with the spirit of equality through fighting for justice. As you sleep on Pa. Segun Okeowo; Olootu Omoba of Simawa, may your legacies continue to live on. My prayer is that the good you fought and stood for will not evade us in any way as we yearn for true leaders and follower-ship.

    Like

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