By Remigius Akinbinu

Ondo City is the second largest city in Ondo State, Nigeria. It has a population of estimated 400,000 and sprawls across two local government areas (Ondo West and Ondo East)

Some of the Local industries include food processing, wood processing, cocoa manufacture, and the cultivation, harvest and processing of plantains.

Ondo City is primarily inhabited by the Ondo speaking people of the Yoruba tribal extraction, major inhabitants of South West Nigeria.

Ondo has two stadia: a 5,000 capacity stadium in the Adeyemi College of Education, and Ondo City Stadium, which has a capacity of 10,000 and a division two football professional team which Rising Stars F.C. and some other amateur and feeder clubsides.

Some notable companies in Ondo include John Holt, Stanmark cocoa processing company (now Cadbury Nigeria plc), Kiranil Nigeria Limited, Sunshine Cassava Processing Company and wood industry, China Railway Construction Corporation Limited CRCC, Zokamn Construction company, Filaoye Investments Ltd, The Nigerian Concrete Industry.

Popular festivals celebrated in Ondo include Odunbami, Ogun festivals, Odun Moko and Ekinmogun day.

Ondo City is the trade center for the surrounding communities in the region. Yams, cassava, grain, and tobacco are grown. Cotton is also grown, and is used to weave cloth called Aso Oke fabric.

Ondo City (Kingdom) alongside Idanre and Ileoluji constitute the axis which is the largest producer of cocoa in the Nigeria.

The title of the king of the town, who reigns as a direct descendant of the fabled Emperor Oduduwa, is “Osemawe”.

Historically the Osemawe of Ondo ranked high in hierarchy of Yoruba Obas. The 1903 Obas protocol list by Sir Mcgregor then Governor of Lagos colony, (which list is used as a reference point) has the Osemawe as No. 5 after the Ooni of Ife, Alaafin of Oyo, Awujale of Ijebu-Ode and the Alake of Abeokuta. The Osemawe was also No.5 among the direct descendants of the sixteen sons of Oduduwa as in the article on Yoruba Obas written by William Bascom and published in New York Times of 1969.
Oba Aderele Tewogboye, the longest reigning Osemawe who died in 1974 was the Chairman of the defunct Western State House of Chiefs in the early 60s.
The serving incumbent is Oba Dr. Victor Adesimbo Kiladejo,a renowned medical doctor, who was selected in September 2006 following the death of his predecessor Oba Festus Ibidapo Adesanoye. *The Osemawe is the head of the Kingdom’s ruling council known as the Osemawe-in-Council consisting of the six high chiefs (the Eghaes). High Chief Lisa is 2nd in command to the Osemawe and the present occupant of the seat is Simeon Oguntimehin, a former President of ICAN. He succeeded the late Bayo Akinnola,OON, Old Western State commissioner for information. The Lisa is followed by the Jomu. Present Jomu is Ambrose Akinsade,an astute administrator, who succeeded Late Jomu Akinwumiju a foremost chartered accountant. The Odunwo which is occupied at the moment by Olabanji Akingbule, a renowned Engineer and foremost industrialist. The Sasere title is next with Olusola Adeduro,a Howard University graduate, well known industrialist and philanthropist being the current Sasere having succeeded the late D.R. Akinola. The Adaja follows and the current Adaja is Solafuboye Ayodeji, a chatered accountant who succeeded Late Stephen Kola Adeyeye the highly successful petroleum magnate. Next is the Odofin presently occupied by Ebun Olawoye, a renowned Engineer who is reputed to be the first Nigerian to come out with a first class honours in Engineering from a British University.

The development of the city by its indegenes is put under a central development committee known as the Ondo Development Committee (ODC) The committee is presently headed by Chief Opeyemi Bademosi.

Educational Institutions.

Ondo City is blessed with three universities.

Ondo State University of Medical Sciences is a university of medical sciences owned by the Ondo State Government, established in 2015. It is the third specialized medical university in Africa, and Nigeria’s first specialized medical university to be accredited by the National Universities Commission.
Wesley University of Science and Technology is a private university owned by the Methodist Church of Nigeria.
Adeyemi College of Education is a federal government-owned higher education institution which at one time was known as Adeyemi University of Education. It is a degree-awarding institution affiliated to the Obafemi Awolowo University at Ile-ife.

Ondo City also has:
*John Bosco Institute of Technology, Ondo City.

* The National Institute for Education Planning and Administration (NIEPA), Nigeria, conceived by the Federal Ministry of Education, in collaboration with UNESCO -HEP Paris, is a sub-regional staff college.

Some of the popular secondary schools in Ondo city are; Ondo Boys High School, St. Joseph’s College, Ondo Grammar School, St. Helen’s Unity Girls’ secondary School, St. Louis Catholic School, St. Monica’s Grammar School, Independence Grammar School all of which were founded before 1961.

Ondo Boys’ High School, founded in 1919, is the oldest school in Ondo state and one of Africa’s 50 oldest schools. These are a few out of over two hundred public and private schools in the city.

Medical Village

The Medical Village comprises the 100-bed Mother and Child Hospital, Gani Fawehinmi Diagnostic Centre, trauma hospital, kidney hospital, call centre, emergency medical services (EMS) hospital, Heliport, staff quarters, staff school, shopping mall, and sports centre.

Trauma and Surgical Hospital is an all-purpose trauma care facility and special surgery centre, the first of its kind in Nigeria. It recently got accreditation for post-graduate residency training by the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) and National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN).
Mother and Child Hospital: The need for a well-structured and functional two-way referral system from the basic and comprehensive health facilities led to the construction of the 100-bed facility Mother and Child Hospital (MCHA). This facility has reduced child and maternal mortality by 50%. Its goal is to bring free, qualitative, effective, and sustainable health care to women and children where they live work and play. The World Health Organisation has chosen the hospital as a research centre for child and maternal health care delivery and also as an affiliated institution by two American universities.
Gani Fawehinmi Diagnostics Center is a state-of-the-art diagnostic centre with modern equipment and facilities, computerised tomographic scan (CT scan), sonography station/color, Doppler, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), digital X-ray, MRI system room, mammography, pathology, video conferencing auditorium stations, telemedicine and a VIP lounge. The center is in conjunction with MeCure India Healthcare Limited.
Kidney Dialysis Hospital is a state-of-the art kidney care centre with 15 kidney dialysis machines and a complete team of medical personnel.
Cardiac Intervention Centre
Radiotherapy and Cancer Institute
Ondo State Specialist Hospital is an all-purpose general hospital located in the heart of the city.
There are also various public and private hospitals and maternity centres across the city.

Tourism and hospitality

There are investment opportunities in the tourism sector within Ondo and in nearby towns. Idanre and Oke Igbo are favorite destinations for domestic and international tourists, less than 30 minutes away from Ondo by car.
Some other places of interest are the ancient Moferere market rebuilt by the administration of Dr. Mimiko in 2013, the Medical Village, Laje road, the Osemawe Palace, Oba Adesanoye Civic Centre and Funmbi Fagun estate.

Hotels and event centres abound in the city of Ondo. Of note are the Polak International Hotels, Afinju Hotel Resort and Suites, Level 2 Lounge, 1828 Hotels & Suites, Faith Hall and Hotels, Esporta Suites and Hotels, Leisure Spring Hotels, Sunny Sky, Ade-Super Hotels and Cinema, Akiavic Blue Roof Hotels, Adoc event centre, Labim Hall & suites and Bimoor Event Centre.

Ondo City now has three beautiful ‘Inner City Gates’ which spectacularly announces the city to visitors because of their massiveness and aesthetic build.

Ondo City also has three flourishing Radio station namely Eki FM, M&C FM and Suncity FM.

Some notable natives and residents:

*Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye AKA King Sunny Adé, Nigerian musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and a pioneer of modern world music; been classed as one of the most influential musicians of all time.

* Timothy Olufosoye (1912-1992) Archbishop, was the first Primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.

* Josiah Olufemi Akindayomi (1909–1980),Reverend, founder of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), while pastor Enoch Adeboye took over as General Overseer.

*Saliu Akinbolaji Oladapo, (Late),attended Ondo Boys High School, former Lisa of Ondo Kingdom. Outstanding Industrialist and entrepreneur who was regarded as one of the wealthiest men in the Western region in the 60s and 70s. His famous residence at OkeBaike area which still remains one of the most massive structures in the city was a tourist attraction in the 70s which the Ondos proudly called ‘Uli agho shifila”.(A house you see and you’re compelled to remove your cap in awe). The modern SAO City Residential Estate in Ondo was so named after him.

*Festus Ibidapo Adesanoye, CFR, late, attended Ondo Boys High School, the erstwhile Osemawe of Ondo. A graduate of the famous London School of Economics who was Secretary to the federal executive council during the Yakubu Gowon regime. He was permanent Secretary in four federal ministries (Defence, Petroleum, Housing and Education ) and was the Chairman of First Bank Plc between 1990 and 1992.

*Samuel Adesujo Ademulegun, an army General who was Nigeria’s third commissioned army officer after Aguiyi Ironsi and Zakariya Maimalari but was murdered before the Nigerian civil war.

* Samuel Ibitayo Fawehinmi (late),attended Ondo Boys High School, pioneering Nigerian furniture magnate ,wealthy industrialist and owner of the vast Ibitayo estate in Ondo city.

* Olabanji Akingbule, Sir, British trained civil and Structural Engineer, industrialist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He’s the current High chief Odunwo of Ondo who is ranked as among the biggest shareholders in corporate Nigeria with biggest shareholding in Nigerian Breweries Plc among other top companies. He’s reputed to have owned more buildings than anyone in Ondo including the most sky scrapers in the city.

*Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, actress, singer, philanthropist and former model of Ondo City descent from Lagos; since her Nollywood film debut in 1995, she was honoured in Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world alongside Michelle Obama, Beyonce and Kate Middleton.

*Frederick Fasehun (born 1938), medical doctor, hotel owner, and leader of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC);

*Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi,(late) SAN,SAM, activist and philanthropist and winner of several awards in rights activism including the Bruno Keisky award.

*Frank Akinrele SAN, One of the earliest Nigerian lawyers to be conferred with the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Two of his children, Ademola Akinrele SAN and Adedolapo Akinrele SAN have also gotten the silk gown.

*Canon Moses Craig Akinpelumi Adeyemi,(late) founder of Ondo Boys High School (One of the 50 oldest secondary schools in Africa) in whose memory Adeyemi College of Education was named.

*Oladipo Olujimi Akinkugbe,CFR, attended Ondo Boys High School, Professor Emeritus in medicine, former VC Unilorin, former VC ABU, foundation Chairman of JAMB and winner Nigerian National Merit Award. Was the foundation President of the Nigerian Hypertension Society and the Nigerian Association of Nephrology. He has received the Searle Distinguished Award in Research and the Boehringer Ingleheim Award of the International Society of Hypertension for his extensive studies on Hypertension and Cardiovascular Diseases in black populations. He has at various times been Visiting Professor of Medicine at Harvard (1974-75), Oxford (1981-82) and Cape Town (1995).

*Sylvester Feyisayo Adegoke, Professor of Geology and winner Nigerian National Merit Award.

*Alexander Opeyemi Akinyele, the Lobosin of Ondo Kingdom. Public Relations Veteran, Former chairman of the National Sports Commission, former Minister of Sports, industrialist and entrepreneur of note.

*Ifedayo Oladapo, OON, NNOM (1932-2010),attended Ondo Boys High School, academic and professor of civil engineering at the University of Lagos and winner Nigerian National merit award.

*A.O. Dosekun,(late) attended Ondo Boys High School, former provost College of Medicine Unilag and Nigeria’s first professor Emeritus in medicine.

*Olajompo Akinkugbe, JCA, attended Ondo Boys High School. Former Justice of the Court of Appeal.

*Joseph Iranola (Logbosere) Akinsipe, late,attended Ondo Boys High School, industrialist, entrepreneur and foremost businessman who was on board of several top flight companies and the owner of Lipakala Farms and General Endeavours group.

*Olusegun Mimiko, attended St. Joseph’s college Ondo, medical doctor, politician former Minister of housing and urban development and longest serving Governor of Ondo State and winner in 2012 of the prestigious United Nations Habitat Scroll of Honour award (the 2nd Nigerian to have won the award)

*Oludolapo Ibukun Akinkugbe,attended Ondo Boys High School, philanthropist, pharmacist and foremost industrialist, on board of so many blue chip companies.

*Victor Oladokun, attended St. Josephs college Ondo, a creative force behind several cutting-edge TV programs; has presented hundreds of episodes of leading international news and magazine programs such as CBN World News and Turning Point International; CEO of 3D Global Leadership.

*Omobola Johnson (Nee Akinnola), former Minister of Information Technology, first Nigerian MD of Accenture and first Ondo woman to become a minister of the federal Republic.

*Victor Oloyede Awosika (late), attended Ondo Boys High School, philanthropist, industrialist and consummate medical doctor and founder of Holy Trinity hospital Lagos once ranked as the biggest private hospital in West Africa.

*Mosunmola Abudu, usually known as Mo Abudu, is a Nigerian talk show host, TV producer, media personality, human resources management consultant, entrepreneur and a philanthropist.She has been described by Forbes as “Africa’s Most Successful Woman”.

*Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (born 1967), British actor and former fashion model; born in Islington, London to Nigerian parents of Yoruba, Ondo City origin; he is fluent in several languages including Yoruba, Italian, and Swahili.

*Olu Maintain, born Olumide Edwards Adegbolu;Winner, Nigerian Music Awards, Nominee World Music Award. He rose to prominence in 2007 with the release of the hit song “Yahooze” from his debut studio album Yahooze, the song won the Nigeria Entertainment Award in 2008 for Hottest Single of the Year; in 2008, he performed “Yahooze” at the Royal Albert Hall, London and brought on stage Colin Powell, the former United States Secretary of State.

*Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy MBE (born 1952), royal portrait painter; born in Ondo City; in 2001 she painted the official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II for her Golden Jubilee.

*Godfrey Oboabona, international footballer and African Nations Cup winner 2013 with the Super Eagles who plays for Turkish club Çaykur Rizespor, as a defender; born and bred in Ondo.

*WALEY , American rapper of Maybach Music Group; born Olubowale Victor Akintimehin in Northwest, Washington, D.C.;his parents are of the Yoruba Ondo City ethnic group of south-western Nigeria and came to the US from Austria in 1979.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *