Where are they Now?




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.

image083        image082

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.



About the author

Uthman Shodipe

Uthman Ademilade Shodipe, a descendant of King Ado, the first King of Lagos, is from the Dosunmu Royal House. A student of Classical Antiquity and History of Political Thought, he studied Comparative Literature and Intellectual History of Europe 18th Century at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).