He is a man for all seasons and one of the most patriotic citizens of Ijebu Imushin. The educationist- turned politician is best known for his motivation, diligence and commitment among his peers who often describe him as a gem. Personalities from all walks of life trooped in to Ijebu-imushin at St Mary’s Anglican Church on Saturday 25th February 2017 to pay their last respect to the man whose love for his community and people and dedication for service cannot be forgotten. Who then is popularly regarded as SEGAB?
SEGAB is taken from his names “Segun Abiodun”. Otunba Segun Abiodun, can best be described as a man for all seasons, a play he acted in during his secondary days in Olu-Iwa, College (now Adeola Odutola College), Otunba chose to be an extra-ordinary person very early in life and he lived life to the fullest against all odds.
Otunba Bobakeye of Ijebu-Imushin is the first of seven boys of Late Pa Folorunsho & Madam Sinabu Abiodun from the Idoko and Odolameso axis of Ijebu-imushin. He was the Baba Kekere (small daddy) to his brothers and as soon as his parents passed on to the great beyond, he becaome their Big Daddy.
An alumnus of St. Mary’s Primary School, Ijebu-imusin & Adeola Odutola College, Ijebu-Ode. Otunba left Ijebu axis for Lagos to work with his late uncle, Mr. Adefalujo. The quest for greener pasture started with his first job at the defunct Post and Telecommunications Limited as a clerical officer. Otunba married very early with all the options on the table including to further his education overseas or locally.
Otunba married Deaconess Yinka Abiodun ( nee Ajede) of the Ilodo, Ijebu-Imushin Royal Family and she is best described as the uncrowned Mama of Oba Isiaka Ajede, the Ogirimadagbo of Ilodo, Ijebu-Imushin, because of religious beliefs. The union is blessed with five children who have in turn made them proud grand parents. As a trained educationist, Otunba was a strict disciplinarian and as well as a charismatic father. His favorite adage to his children which he got from his own father was “whenever you are faced with taking a landmark decision, ALWAYS REMEMBER THE SON AND DAUGHTER OF WHOM YOU ARE”.
By being the first of seven boys, Otunba practically had children before having his own; therefore life in the late 60’s was very humble despite an understanding wife. By the early 70’s and with the advice of his mentors like Professor Akin Osiyale, Alhaji J. O. Adeniji ( Tabade) and General Ogundeko, Otunba proceeded to attain NCE in University of Ibadan and Post-Graduate Diploma in the University Ibadan to seek a better place and position in the book of life.
Otunba was a special education expert that could communicate with the deaf and dumb. As an educationist and physical educational specialist. Back in the days in St, Finbarr’s College, Lagos, Otunba was the Game master under Father Slaterry & Mr. Kpotie to the likes of the Late Stepthen Keshi and Henry Nwosu. Otunba rose to become Vice-Principal, Principal and was posted to various Schools in the Lagos Educational system.
He finally retired as a TESCOM Director, a very enviable position that reports to the Lagos State Commissioner of Education.
Prior to and upon retirement the business part of Otunba was in the 80’s. Segab Promark (Nigeria) Limited grew and Otunba ran it for decades. Most people knew Otunba as simply “SEGAB”. A publicity and Marketing company which he ran so well that made the people of Ijebu-Imushin honour him with the assignment of the Odun Omo- Olumusin Rally Chairman in 1990 ( Otunba was the youngest man to have successfully organized the August Rally Event then).
Otunba was a community hero and was at the forefront of using his Media links to publicly consolidate the newly installed Oloko of Ijebu-Imushin in his rightful place among Ijebu Obas. No wonder the Oloko made him his BOBAKEYE in the early 90’s. Ijebu-Imushin announced Otunba to the hall of fame just before he passed on in 2017 and was a constituted member and authority in IPB ( Ijebu-Imusin Planning Body) for decades.
Otunba sojourned in England briefly in the early 2000s with cousin, Chief Remi Abiodun and in-law Chief Teluwo. While in England consulting with the Special Education Kids and families, his love for his people and Ijebu-Imusin triggered again and Otunba decided to come back to his beloved Ijebu-Imushin folks and become a politician. With associates like Senator Lekan Mustapha, Otunba became the Vice- Chairman of Ijebu East Local Government. He consolidated his position as party and people leader and a force to be reckoned with in PDP and outstanding APC. He’s the patron of Dimeji Bankole Group prior to his demise. He will be the first to remind all young politicians that came to him late when he supported Dapo Abiodun over his opponent, giving the saying of Senator Durojaiye, that “upon attaining the age of 70, you belong to your people not a party”.
When the Oloko of Ijebu Imushin said, the whole town was mourning he meant it, just like his late uncle, Professor Osiyale will tell Otunba’s wife and children when they complain of his always going to Ijebu imusin at the slightest opportunity back in days, “ that is where Otunba finds his peace – his…. TRANQUIL-FIELD”. Honourable Otunba Segun Abiodun has run the race and won, the very race that many run and don’t finish. We celebrate the hometown icon, a man of all seasons and the Bobakeye of Ijebu-Imushin at his Otunba Segun Abiodun today and to God be the Glory for his legacy.
Derived from the tribute written by his beloved son, Prince Seyi Abiodun, quoted that life gives us a lot of options but one of the options life does not give us is who will be your parents, brothers and sisters. We have no say in that, it’s ordained by God and beyond us all. Otunba Segun Abiodun defined what he considered success and ran with it against all odds. He made up his mind that he wasn’t going an ordinary man.
“Having known my father for almost 50 years, I will say I am blessed to have had a Dad like him. He let me and my siblings into his life as soon as as we were able to be part of his thought process. I watched him transform from Daddy, Master, Principal, JS, Segab, Otunba, Honourable, Daddy again. I remember when Otunba MS, my uncle called me on my way to OSUTH and said “your daddy is gone” and I asked myself gone where? Can he ever go? No, he has just transitioned because the first prayer that I said was, God give me long life to spend close to the same time I had with Otunba with my own son.
As a father, Otunba’s teaching were very simple, wealth alone doesn’t define a successful man, character does. If there’s anything I want to thank Otunba for he made my brother and I see hardwork as pastime. As far as Otunba is concerned there’s no option to hardwork in life. In later years, I will tease him and say Otunba, how about smart-work? His reply was his swagger, Otunba always presents himself at his best and he passed that on to all his children. He is either wearing his Agbada, Suit, traditional attire, for him, looking good was good business and God help you if you can talk well, write and have a drink over whatever your problem is, you are his man. As far as Otunba was concerned, life comes with its problems, you must learn to live it to the fullest.
This ultimately defines who you are as a man, a father or otherwise. It was like Otunba knew he would soon leave and I couldn’t see it or was oblivious of it. I remember just last year when he called me and said a street was opened by Eye Foundation and next to your property that you have refused to do anything with, and he said he wants to acquire it in my name. I said to him, why in my name? I already have one street in Lagos in my name? This one will be in your name, this is your community, your people deserve it.
He prayed for me and said your own son will always honour you as you have always gone out of your way to honour me. And I simply said Amen. My Otunba, you are not gone, you have only transitioned because, I know if you are here today, the celebration of life today will receive your total approval. Knowing you, you will be telling someone to add Bobakeye to your Memorial Centre and that Seyi ought to know that you are not just an Otunba, you are Honourable Otunba Bobakeye Segun Abiodun of Ijebu-Imushin. You are so right and yes, I concur and by the special grace of God your transition will make those you have left behind united and stronger.
Among prominent indigenes from the town who paid tributes to SEGAB are the following in their most benevolent words “He had unalloyed loyalty and respect for traditional institutions. This character of his had endeared him to many Royal Highness in the domain aside our own Oloko who he served most dedicatedly to the last, particularly as he blared the siren fixed to his personal car to lead his entourage for official outings”.
– Major J. Ade Abiodun (RTD).
“My brother, your sudden departure from this world is a shock to me and my entire family. We, however thank God for the life you lived and touched. We will surely miss you and your company. Rest in Peace my dear Egbon”.
– Major Gen. S. A Odunsi (Rtd).