LATE CHIEF SHADRACH TITUS ADELEGAN, Deputy-Speaker, Western Region House of Assembly (1960-1965) Educationist, Politician, Statesman, Humanist and Great Patriot B.A (London) 1951, obtained from the University College, Ibadan, is still being remembered for his patriotic and selfless services to humanity in different capacities, and for his unquantifiable sense of patriotism. Adelegan abandoned a lucrative public service career as Education Secretary in Ibadan in 1957, and turned his back to all the comforts of the city and the prospects of a bright future to return to lpetu-Ijesha in 1957, to establish Ipetu-Ijesha Grammar School, at a period when no university graduate was willing to reside or work in lpetu-ljesha, a rural community that then lacked all basic social services. In his autobiography: ‘The Part To Play’, Adelegan disclosed that he made huge personal sacrifices that affected the future and comfort of his family, so that children of other people in Ijeshaland and other places, could also acquire education and progress in life. Little wonder, many people, including Adelegan’s admirers often described him as an over-patriotic Nigerian. His children who speak so fondly about his contributions to national development say Adelegan has quietly made history as one of the greatest Nigerians that ever lived.
Born on May 19, 1921 (it probably might be earlier) to a humble peasant family of Pa. Joseph Fatusa, a carpenter, and Madam Esther Fatusa, an itinerant trader, late Chief Shadrach Titus Adelegan, politician, educationist, community leader, patriot and great humanist remained until his death, one of the few silent heroes in Nigeria, whose contributions to the development of man and the society remain eloquent testimonies to selfless service, hinged simply on humanitarian and patriotic considerations. For the better part of the post-emergency Western region during which Adelegan served as Hon. Speaker of the Western House of Assembly; S.T., as he was fondly called was highly regarded as an honest community leader and politician, who commanded the trust, respect, and confidence of his colleagues, both on Government and Opposition Benches, who both openly commended him on the floor of the House, for brilliantly conducting proceedings of the Western Region Legislature, impartially, thus stabilizing the polity.
Excerpts from the Hansard – (Official Bulletin) of the Western Region House of Assembly of 6th April, 1965. (With Hon. S.T. Adelegan presiding) indicate the following Tributes to Hon. S.T. Adelegan for being an impartial Hon. Speaker: DEPUTY SPEAKER – TRIBUTE
‘’Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola (Premier): ‘’Perhaps I may express the sentiments of both Sides of the House. We pay you, Sir, (S.T. Adelegan) the commendation that is due to you for the efficient manner in which you have been able to carry on and discharge the duties of the Speaker of this honourable House. (Cheers). It is unfortunate that ill-health prevented the Hon. Speaker of this House from attending this important Budget Meeting but, in spite of the short notice, you came to our rescue as an experienced Deputy Speaker, who has been able to assimilate and acquire a great deal of practical knowledge. For this, we are very much indebted to you for the successful completion of this Budget Meeting, and I think that your performance on this occasion augurs well for the future because you have discharged your duties remarkably well, so efficiently and so charmingly, that the Members of the Opposition will always like to see you on the Chair.’’ (cheers)
Alhaji Dauda Soroye Adegbenro: (Leader of Opposition) ‘’Mr.Speaker, Sir, I like to associate myself with the views and sentiments expressed by the hon. Premier. When the appointment of Mr. Speaker was proposed, I was consulted, and I argued that you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, ought to have been promoted to the post of the substantive Speaker. I was informed that there were some difficulties in the rank and file of the NNDP, and I had to agree that you still hold your post as Deputy Speaker; and in spite of the fact that you happen to be the Deputy Speaker, you have discharged your duties impartially and you deserve our commendation as well. There is only one request I will like to make and I wish that you give this your serious consideration. I hope you will not fall into the trap of preventing Hansard to be distributed to hon. Members as was done during the closing days of your predecessor in office. This is very important and I will wish that you do not allow yourself to be used for that type of funny business. Mr. Deputy Speaker, Sir, we congratulate you for being an efficient and impartial Speaker.’’
Mr. Deputy Speaker: ‘’I thank the hon. Premier and the hon. Leader of Opposition for their compliments, and I wish fervently, that the hon. Speaker will be well in time to take up his duties. Thank you very much.’’
Indeed, Pa Adelegan’s contributions are worthy of being recorded in Nigeria’s positive pages of history for demonstrating virtues of honesty, integrity, uprightness, selfless service, patriotism, dedication and commitment to his chosen goals in national interest. S.T. Adelegan demonstrated his patriotism and brilliance while representing Nigeria at the 1965 Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in the House of Commons, London, where he and the late Olubadan (then Hon. S.O. Lana – the then Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister) spoke vehemently against the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in the then Southern Rhodesia (now South Africa) by the apartheid regime of Ian Smith. Records show that Hon. Lana and Hon. Adelegan argued so eloquently and brilliantly on the floor of the British Parliament against the continued British occupation of South-Africa such that they were almost accused of encouraging insurrection against the Queen of England. Some of Pa Adelegan’s strongest virtues were his simplicity, humility, forthrightness, hatred for acts of vanity and ‘’say it as it is’’ policy. Late Chief Adelegan was a very sincere person who remained very free from destructive biases and never engaged in speaking ill-advisedly about anybody; including those who might have offended him in anyway. And he never tolerated liars. Go tell lies against another person; Baba Adelegan would call that person and requested you to say all you said in his presence.
He hated acts of vanity with passion and refrained from engaging in the mad rush and propensity for the acquisition of wealth, even in the exalted positions he held. Those who knew Adelegan often described him as a philanthropist and humanist with a difference. He was a neat and complete gentleman. He lived a simple life, devoid of ostentatious display of wealth. Shadrach Adelegan, fondly called “S.T.” by his peers and admirers grew up in his Ipetu-Ijesha hometown, in the Oriade Local Government of Osun State, with a pronounced zeal of patriotism, resulting in Adelegan’s deep involvement in the formation of the Ipetu-Ijesha Improvement Union in 1937; a society which he served as General Secretary, when he was barely 17 years old. Interestingly, that love for his community and humanity at large continued to reflect in Shadrach Adelegan’s interactions with people until his death in 2007.
He enrolled at the famous St. Andrews College, Oyo, in 1940. A brilliant student, he emerged the only candidate that succeeded in the admission tests of all the applicants from ljesha Division of the then Western-Region, and completed the Grade II Teachers Certificate in 1944. He equally distinguished himself as a brilliant scholar and sportsman at the Teachers College. By private studies, he passed his London Matriculation course in record time. Adelegan obtained the Intermediate Bachelor of Arts Degree of the University of London in 1949 by private studies. He then proceeded to the University College, Ibadan, to spend only two years to acquire a degree. He was one of the first graduates of the University College, Ibadan, in 1951; graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (London) General Degree in English, Latin and History.
Pa Adelegan was the Ijesha Divisional Secretary of the Action Group from 1957 to 1960, with late Canon J.A. Akinyemi (Professor Bolaji Akinyemi’s father) as the Chairman. Pa Shadrach Adelegan contested the shadow election in 1959, defeating Mr. Osunloye, Sir Dele Ige and Mr. Olamijulo to become the Action Group’s candidate for the then Ijesha Rural North Constituency, comprising today’s Oriade, Obokun and parts of Atakumosa Local Government Areas. Pa Adelegan was elected into the then Western-Region House of Assembly where he served as Deputy Speaker and Chairman of the House Education Committee from 1960-1965. When the Action Group crises occured in 1962, he took it upon himself to move round, visiting the party’s leaders, including Chief Obafemi Awolowo in Lekki, Chief Ayo Ajibola, also a Hon. Member of the Western House of Assembly, and one of his closest friends from 1940, as well as others restricted to certain localities, in order to find an amicable solution to the Action Group political crises. In his autobiography, he narrated how he, (Adelegan) late Chief Lawrence Omole, and late Pa J.O Lawanson (then Organising Secretary of the Action Group) moved to influence the location of the then University of Ife in Ilesha; but didn’t succeed because the four of them combined, could not match the influence of the then Ooni of Ife, Oba Adesoji Aderemi. Pa Adelegan retired from active partisan politics in 1965, following the turbulent period, and continued to serve Ipetu-Ijesha Grammar School which he regarded as his baby. He was never a lover of violence.
Pa S.T. Adelegan’s imparted to his students his versatility in International/Current Affairs and world politics, which he taught every day at the morning assemblies. You had to create time for this ritual. This encouraged a considerable number of his students to become successful politicians, educationists, bureaucrats and technocrats. Shadrach Adelegan was a devoted and committed member of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Ipetu-ljesa, and at a time served as the Vice-President of Nigeria’s chapter of the Young Men’s Christian Association. You helped people as if your life depended on just that. One of your students, Rauf Aregbesola, who later became a State governor, told me a few years back that those stories Adelegan told at the early morning assembly in 1973 encouraged him to be a politician. Ever bold and daring, he constantly told us to forge ahead if we were sure there was no guilt in our minds; no matter what anybody said. (Ti ko ba ti si idalebi ninu okan nyin) You encouraged us by asking: Where is your God?
You were too dear to us such that we never wanted you to die. But who are we to determine when the time was ripe? In your last days, I shuttled between Osogbo and Ibadan to ensure that things were okay on your hospital bed. We could have gone before you; but it pleased God to frustrate the counsel of the babblers. My dear wife whom you lovingly called: ”my darling” till you breathed your last, and my humble self were abducted at Akoda junction near Ede a few weeks to the 2007 general elections and were driven by dare devil criminals on the Ede-Ejigbo-Ogbomosho road before God finally ministered to them to release us. Glory be to God Who made that possible.
The Lord that we serve made it possible for Baba Ogiyan of Ejigbo, Oba Omowonuola Oyeyode Oyesosin to send a rescue team that conveyed us back to Osogbo, barefooted 11.00pm. It was only Jesus Christ that could do that when guns were placed on my stomach! On two other occasions after that gory incident, criminals sought my life and ransacked my official and private residences. They left notes requesting me to resign from government, without giving any reason for that. Even when I relocated to Abuja in 2012, they still came after my life. I reasoned why? because even if anybody gave me a gun, I cannot shoot at a human being in self defence. Take a human life!
But our Deliverer, Rock, Fortress, Providr, Healer and Covering kept us to be able to witness to His wonderful deeds. Today and everyday, we praise the Name of God because that same Jesus Christ still lives, and He will live forever.
Chief Shadrach Adelegan was particularly noted as a very forthright personality, and with preference for fair play, and justice in all situations, no matter whose ox was gored. Those shoes of patriotism appear too large for us to step into. But we have always tried our very possible best, within our God’s endowments.
WE ARE EVER SO PROUD OF YOU, DADDY. YOU HAVE REALLY PLAYED YOUR PART WELL, AND TAUGHT US THAT GOOD NAME IS BETTER THAN GOLD. YOU TAUGHT US TO BE STRAIGHT IN OUR DEALINGS WITH OTHERS. WE ARE GLAD THAT WE HAVE AT LEAST IMBIBED MANY OF YOUR VIRTUES; NOT ALL..PLEASE CONTINUE TO REST IN THE BOSOM OF YOUR CREATOR
FEMI ADELEGAN & FAMILY