HECTOR OMOOBA: DILIGENT POLICE BOSS
By AKINLOLU AJE
CHIEF Hector Omooba, who is the Bobajiro of lyin-Ekiti, was born at lyin on December 18, 1924. He went to school early, that is, at the age of six years because his parents were Christians who were friendly with the local Anglican Catechist of St. Mark’s Church and Primary School at lyin-Ekiti, in Ondo State.
Once when they were making the adjectival comparison of “Well” (a state of personal well being) a classmate of his said “well, weller, wellest”. In spite of the humour the boy caused, he received twelve strokes of the cane and that became his cognomen at school. The school at Iyin stopped at Standard Three and Hector had to go to Ado-Ekiti to read Standard Four to Standard Six in Ado Ekiti in 1939.
In Ekiti-land then, there were five schools which reached the lofty Standard Six. These were at Akure, Igbara Oke, Ijero, Ushi and Ado-Ekiti.
Archdeacon Harry Dallimore, the author of “West African Geography,” a book for geography in the elementary schools in those days founded Christ School, Ado-Ekiti. Omooba was not given the teaching job by Dallimore because he was one of the brightest in his Standard Six class and also, because Dallimore wanted to upgrade the school to a secondary school. He was therefore admitted as a boarding student.
The school was comprehensive and mixed. His school mates included Messrs S. B. Aje, the first Federal Chief Librarian; Ambassador Victor Adegoroye; Archdeacon Jegede of Ondo Arch Deaconry; William Adeloye (former NBC Finance Controller); Ben Obaweya, later Chief Inspector of Education, Ondo State; Timothy Oluyide, former Manager, WNMB, Ibadan and Mrs. Mercy Olaniyan, who now runs her deceased husband’s hotel at Alaka, Surulere.
He went to the School of Agriculture at Apata – Ganga, Moore Plantation, Ibadan, from 1946-47. His classmates there included Mr. Justice Bola Babalakin of the Supreme Court; Justice Ovie-Whiskey; Michael Akintomide; Director, School of Agriculture and former Permanent Secretary; and Walter Eze of Onitsha.
After training, he resigned his appointment with the West African Cocoa Research Institute because he was posted to Yandev Agricultural School, Benue Province, a place he found too far away from home. So, on August 1, 1948, he joined the Nigerian Police Force which was just recruiting school certificate holders. The salary was £128 (N256) per annum, as against his former salary of £90 (N180) per annum. He was posted to lyaganku, Ibadan.
Of course, he entered the Police Force as a typist, a skill he had acquired privately.
Then started a series of transfers which took him to Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Calabar and so on. Omooba was Sub-Inspector in September, 1953; Assistant Superintendent of Police in August 1957 and Assistant Superintendent of Police a month after.
He was at Ebute- Metta Denton Police station in 1957; Yaba in 1958; Ijora in 1959; and was sent abroad to study at the Police Staff College, Conventry in Britain in 1960.
He worked at the Lion Building, Campbell Street, Lagos. He was promoted Superintendent in January 1962 and appointed Provincial Police Officer for Oyo/Oshun/Ife/Ilesha Police Province.
He was transferred to Ijebu Ode later in 1962; Divisional Police Officer (Mainland, Ikoyi, Surulere, Yaba and Apapa) later and Assistant Commissioner of Police in 1967, Bauchi and again to Maiduguri. Omooba once led a police delegation to the Interpol Conference at Ottawa in Canada.
The delegates included Mr. Etim lyang, who later became Inspector-General of Police. Omooba retired as Commissioner of Police South — Eastern State in 1975. During the Civil War, he was a member of the military cabinet of each location where he served.
When he retired, e became a general contractor in 1976 and between 1983-85, he was invited to the boards of a group of five companies. These were Swenig Furniture Company; Architectural Metal Products Limited; Asiatic Industries Limited; Mandarin Industries Limited and another. He was also Managing Director of Lovelli Stewart Construction from 1976 to 1982. Chief Hector Omooba lives at Modupe House, Ikorodu Road, Maryland, Ikeja.
He held the management of the group of companies till 1991 when he resigned to give himself complete rest. He holds many church posts and is a member of AWAM, a men’s society with important members like the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade Olubuse; General Adeyinka Adebayo (rtd); Alhaji Bolarinwa Abioro; Chief (Dr.) Kola Balogun and Chief V. A. Osijinrin, the Balogun of Agege.
First Published Saturday, 3 October, 1992.