In 1935 when there was no party politics in any shape or form in Northern Lagos Nigeria, some well-meaning

and enligthened citizens of Offa resident in Lagos gathered themselves together and formed an organisation appropriately labelled the "Offa Descendants' Union" with the sole aim of seeking the improvment of Offa district, working for unity, peace and progress amongst all sons and daughters of Offa district and the other districts of Ilorin Division and ultimately regaining for Offa the lost divisional status which she enjoyed until 1917. The co-founders of the Offa Descendants' Union, who attended the first inaugural meeting of the union on 13th October, 1935 (SUNDAY) , Maccullum street, Ebute Metta, Nigeria, are as follows. 1. A. O. Bilewu of Esho Oke's Compound, Offa. 2. Joseph Oyebanji of Afobara's Compound, Offa. 3. Theophilus O. Olanrewaju of Oloyi's Compound, Offa. 4. Samuel Ade Akintoye of Gedegbe's Compound, Offa. 5. S.O. Oyawoye of Elemosho's Compound, Offa. 6. J.A. Oyawoye of Elemosho's Compond, Offa. 7. Jimoh Bukoye of Otenuadieboko's Compound, Offa. 8. Yesufu Alalikirani of Sahwo Elerin's Compoound, Offa. 9. James Omotekun of Olouyi's Compound, Offa. 10. Abraham Adesoye of Ola-Isale's Compound, Offa. 11 Salami Olagunju (popularly known as Salami Atike) of Ojude's Compound. 12. Buraimoh Moradeyo of Aba's Compound. Offa. 13. Moses Oyetoke of Alagure's Compound, Offa. 14. Busari Alabi of Agbopa's Compound, Offa. 15. Lawani Anjorin of Agbopa's Compound, Offa. 16. Shittu Anjorin of Agbopa's Compound, Offa. 17. James Awojobi of Gedegbe's Compound, Offa. 18. Gbadamosi Omowale of Ganifa's Compound, Offa. 19. Sunmonu Adedeji of Asanlu's Compound, Offa. The late Mr. J.A. Aina of Ologuro's Compound, and Mr. (nor Alhaji) Lawani of Gbanifa 's Compound were among those who joined the O.D.U. After the first O.D.U. meeting of 13th October, 1936. When the Late Mr. A. B. Oyediran, B.A. (Dunelm) Dip. Ed. (London) returned to Nigeria in

1936, he joined the Offa Descendants' Union and around the same time other illustrious son of Offa and districts such as Pa William Adedoyin, (elected life President in later years) Mr. Abiodun Sawyer, Mr. Henry Charles Sawyer and two other brothers of the Sawyer family (the four of them Offa princes but whose parents sojourned in Sierra Leone for some years before returning to Nigeria). The native family name of the Sawyers is "ADEGBOYE". The said late Mr. Oyediran was appointed the first General Secretary while Mr. H. C. Sawyer was appointed the 1st National Treasurer and the late Pa. W. Adedoyin was unanimously elected the first President of the union. The late Mr. J.A. Odesanya succeeded Mr. H.C. Sawyer in office as National Treasurer some fifteen years later. Steps were immediately taken to establish branches in Offa and in other parts of the former Western Nigeria and soon thereafter branches began to spring up on the Gold Coast (now Ghana) as well as in the former Northern Nigeria viz. Gusau, Minna, Jebba South, Kaduna, Kano and Jos etc. it was very much later that a branch was formed in Ilorin for fear of victimization. Mr. J.M. Adesiyun was Assistant General Secretary of the union for upward of about ten years. He played a positive role in Britain in 1956. Pa John Oyeladun, Pa N.O. King Olawoyin, Pa Samuel Adesiyun Pa John Soleye, Pa. J.OS. Onawola, Pa John Awodola, Pa Edwin Adepoju Pa. Jacob Olatunji, Pa. John Afolabi, J.D. Abifarin, Pa. Joseph Irinoye ljaodola, Pa. Jacob Olaniyi, Pa. Daniel Wande, Pa Joseph Adeleke, Pa. James Ogunsola Alagbede and Jacob Shogo were among the earliest members of the O. D. U. at Offa in 1937. All the people mentioned in this paragraph are now deceased. My father was the chairman of the Offa branch whilst Pa. J. O. S. Onawola was the secretary and Pa. J.I. Ijaodola my father's cousin was the circular bearer. The O. D. U. meeting were held in my father's sitting room from 1937 until 1950 when meetings shifted to Offa Grammar School because my father had become very old and more people had joined the union. Any important personage from Lagos such as Oyediran or Ernestlkoli used to stay in Pa Adesiyan's House. whenever they come to Offa. Muslims in Offa did not readily join the O D U in Offa because those who first embraced the Union at home were all Christians, including all the presidents (Baba ljo) of the existing main churches in Offa at that point in time Alhaji Gbadamosi ljaiya, Alhaji Giwa Ilesanrni, Alhaji Bello Jatto and Alhaji Aliyu Olatinwo who were leaders of the Muslims in Offa saw the organisation as a Christian movement and all other Muslims at home shared the misconception of their leaders. It was Mr. J.A . Oyeleke, who returned home in 1939 to head the St. Mark's School, Offa and who was very friendly with Alhaji Sanni Giwa Ilesanmi who helped to persuade the Muslim leaders, through the influence of Alhaji Giwa in 1942 that the O. D. U. was

not for the Christians alone but for all Offa people. They, therefore, agreed to join hands in the efforts to build the Offa Grammar School through communal effort. My father also invited Alhaji Bello Jatto, his first cousin, and explained to him that O. D.U was not an arm or a branch of Christianity but a cultural organization formed to bring all Offa people together irrespective of religion,age or status. Alhaji Jatto promised to do his best. Things subsequently changed and officers selected to handle the Offa Grammar School project included leading Muslim figures in Offa of those days as a result of change of heart by the Muslim leaders. Apart from spearheading the agitation for a separate administrative division from Ilorin Emirate, the Union mapped out plans for the progress and development of Offa and its environs. The Union founded the Offa Grammar School in 1943 which is now the Eldorado of Offa. The Union also founded the Offa Community Girls' Schools in 1955. In the field of administration, the union succeeded in persuading the Resident of Ilorin Province to allow the Olofa and his chiefs (the 4 ward Heads) to replace the Alkali at Offa and to have an indigene as clerk to the Offa Native Court. The Union also succeeded in persuading the Ilorin Authorities to remove the Ilorin Tax Mallam, (Alabi Owo was the last Ilorin man as Tax Mallam in Offa). AIso demanded the building of a General hospital for Offa in 1946. As a result of the persistent persecution by the Ilorin Native Authority which escalated in 1952, when Sir John S. Macpherson turned down the prayers of the people for the transfer of the Northern Yorubas to the Western Region as contained in the Extraordinary Gazette of 3rd September,1952 (already referred to earlier in this book) the Union decided to employ the services of a young and dynamic Offa man with an obvious flair for politics who could have enough courage and the desire to stay at Offa and lead the fight against the feudal overlords in Ilorin from Offa town so that the Administrative officers in Ilorin would no longer be able to continue to lie to the public that all agitations or progress and reforms being sought were the handwork of "irresponsible people" and "certain lawyers in Lagos" Soon after the Lagos conference of 1952 I received a letter from the late Chief Amos O. Bilewu who was the Chairman of Jebba Branch when I was Recording Secretary from 1948 to 1950 that I should expect a letter from the General Secretary of the 0. D. U. about the decision of the Offa Descendants' Union's conference Committee to appoint me as the Union's Administrative Secretary and that I would in the first instance stay in Lagos for 6 months in the office of Mr. A. B. Oyediran at the Methodist Boys' High School. The purpose of the 6 months pupillage in Lagos was to enable me study the Administrative history of llorin Province and to study all the correspondence already exchanged between the O. D. U. and the Northern Nigeria authorities before I would be allowed to go and settle at Offa after I should have been fully briefed about the

task ahead. About a week later I also received a letter from Provost J.B. Olafirnihan, my former teacher at Offa. Grammar School, intimating me of their unanimous decision in Lagos to appoint me as the Administrative Secretary of the Union and repeated the facts contained in Chief Bilewu's own letter on the same subject matter. He stated further that as soon as I received from Mr. A. B. Oyediran I should resign my appointment with the London and Kano Trading Company Ltd. where I was working as a Sales-man in Mai-Inchi in Sokoto Province, now Sokoto state. He warned me not to let him down. I later received a letter from Mr. A. B. Oyediran as earlier warned and I quickly wrote to our Headquarters in Kano giving one month's notice to resign my appointment with the company which was accordingly accepted. I left for Offa towards the end of March 1953 and after a week at home I proceeded to Lagos to report for duty at the office of the late Mr. Oyediran. I was well received in Lagos at a committee meeting of the executive members which was held in the residence of Mr. Oyediran. Apart from general meetings which were usually held on Sundays at 42 Kadara Street, Ebute Metta, the private residence of Pa. William Adedoyin, Executive Committee meetings were usually held in the evenings in Mr. Oyediran's official residence in Lagos. I was introduced to the Committee members at our first meeting and Mr.Oyediran explained to me the desire of the union to fight for a separate division from Ilorin, to seek the abolition of district Headship in Offa to be replaced with the true traditional Oba under the appointment and deposition of chiefs law, the sort of position which Offa enjoyed until 1917 when the divisional status of Offa was abolished and the Olofa reduced from the position of a 2nd class Chief to that of an ordinary District head. I held the position of the O. D. U. Administrative Secretary from 1953 to 1974. Agitation for reforms in Offa and in me former llorin Division was always fought on the platforn of the union in order to avoid partisan politics being brought into the struggle for progressive administrative reforms in Northern after the first O.D.u. meeting of 13th October, 1936. When the Late Mr. A. B. Oyediran, B.A. (Dunelm) Dip. Ed. (London) returned to Nigeria in 1936, he joined the Offa Descendants' Union and around the same time other illustrious sons of Offa and districts such as Pa William Adedoyin, (elected life President in later years) Mr. Abiodun Sawyer, Mr. Henry Charles Sawyer and two other brothers of the Sawyer family (the four of them Offa princes but whose parents sojourned in Sierra Leone for some years before returning to Nigeria). The native family name of the Sawyers is "ADEGBOYE". The said late Mr. Oyediran was appointed the first General Secretary while Mr. H.C. Sawyer was

appointed the 1st National Treasurer and the late Pa. W. Adedoyin was unanimously elected the first President of the union. The late Mr. J.A. Odesanya succeeded Mr. H.C. Sawyer in office as National Treasurer some fifteen years.