The David Jemibewon Exclusive 4: “General Adeyinka Adebayo & I”

General David Medayese Jemibewon (CFR, mni)

In this fourth  edition of our exclusive encounter with General David Medayese Jemibewon (CFR,
Mni), the General shared the secret of his relationship with late General
Adeyinka Roberts Adebayo who was burried last weekend in Ekiti State  with your Africa’s Number 1 Celebrity
Encounter blog, Asabeafrika.
The Iyah-Gbedde, Kogi State (North Central
Nigeria) born elder statesman in what seems like a tribute to the late General Adebayo painted a picture of a
man cultured in the art of great leadership.
Jemibewon is a former Governor of Western State of Nigeria under late General Murthala Mohammed’s regime between August 1975 and March 1976. He
later became the first Governor of Oyo State after Oyo; Ogun & Ondo were
carved out of the old Western States. He ruled Oyo under Obasanjo’s military regime between March 1976 and July 1978 before
he was promoted as Adjutant General of the Nigerian Army towards the end of
1978.  He came back to limelight in 1999
when he was appointed Minister of Police Affairs under President Olusegun
civilian regime, a position he held with transformative strides till
year 2000.
Enjoy the excerpts in this fourth
part of our encounter with the General.

Let’s talk about the great man,
General Adeyinka Robert Adebayo whom you came to town to give his last honor
today. Who is General Adeyinka Adebayo to General David Jemibewon? With his
death and that of Ogbemudia and General Bisoye, do you think the class of
Generals in your age group are fast depleting?

Late General Adeyinka Adebayo

Number one, the gap between me and General
is still very long. Please, correct that. (General laughter); he
joined the Army in 1948 and I was born in 1940. (Extended laughter), since you
laughed, in your interview, you could state it there. Not only that, he was my
boss. He was my commanding officer. Actually, my very first commanding officer
was Brigadier General Mai Malari. He
was one of the officers that was killed in that January 15, 1966 coup. My
second commanding officer was General
, and next was (General Adekunle) Fajuyi (Assassinated alongside General
Aguiyi Ironsi in the counter-coup of June 1966). So, there is a long gap
between me and General Adebayo. I
think General Adebayo’s number, I think it is NA5, I can’t remember (Actually it
is NA7 as we later found out). And mine is NA 262. So, the gap was just too-too
far. I was in the Congo when he
became my Commanding Officer. The Commanding Officer, Mai-Malari who took us to the Congo
was promoted to come and head the Brigade in Lagos and General Adebayo
was sent to be the Commanding Officer. And before he came, I have been
transferred to Enugu, and the letter authorizing transfer coincided with his
arrival. So, when he came, I had to leave. And within a week, he came to a
conclusion that I had the potential to lead at a higher level.

General David Jemibewon paying tribute to General Adeyinka Adebayo

He summoned me
to appear before him. Because I was about leaving the battalion, and he asked
me if I had any problem and I said I did. I said I wanted to go home and see my
parent because I haven’t had the opportunity to see my parent for some time.
And he wrote a letter to late Fajuyi,
requesting that he should allow me to go home. Anyway, don’t let me waste time
on that. Since then, I had great regards for him and he had always played
fatherly role in my life. He was a great man. So, today, I am very close to
members of his family. We are almost like a family. But as you said, a lot of
the old ones are going now, Ogbemudia
is gone, and he (Adebayo) is gone. General
is gone. Most of us are very lucky people, we might have been
killed during the various coups but we are lucky. So, we give glory to the Almighty
God for being alive. 

Profile of General Adeyinka Adebayo…

The Young General Adeyinka Adebayo in his youth days


Adeyinka Adebayo was born in 1928, the son of a
Public Works employee from Iyin Ekiti,
near Ado Ekiti, (present day Ekiti
State), Nigeria.
He was educated at All Saints School,
Iyin-Ekiti, and later attended Eko Boys High School and Christ’s School Ado Ekiti.
He joined
the West African Frontier Force in
1948 as a regiment signaler and later completed the Officer Cadet Training
Course in Teshie, Ghana from 1950 to 1952. After passing the War Office Examination for Commonwealth
in 1952 as well as the West
African qualifying examination
in 1953, he was commissioned as an officer
in the Royal West African Frontier Force
(RWAFF) as the
23rd West African military officer with number WA23 and 7th Nigerian military officer with number N7
after completing the War Office
Cadet Training in Eaton Hall, England. He later attended the Staff
course in Camberley
(Surrey) in 1960 and the prestigious Imperial
Defence College
, London in late
1965 where he was the only African officer
Full Military Career

General Jemibewon giving his tribute to late General Adeyinka Adebayo

Adeyinka Adebayo
became an officer in 1953. His key career milestones are listed below:
  • Platoon Commander, 1954–1955
  • Regimental signal officer, 1955–1957
  • Between 1957 and 1958, he was an aide-de-camp
    to a British governor-general (the last British
    governor-general of Nigeria
    Sir James Robertson-1957)[5]
  • Company and Detachment Commander, Ikoyi, 1958 to 1960
  • First Nigerian general staff officer, Grade 2 (Intelligence) at the
    United Nations Headquarters in 1961
  • First national general staff officer, Grade 2 Nigerian
    Army Headquarters, 1961–1962
  • First Nigerian to be appointed general staff officer
    Grade 1, 1962–1963
  • Commander, Nigerian contingent in the Congo, 1963
  • He served as staff officer in the United Nations peacekeeping force during the Congo crisis, 1961–1963
  • Chief of staff, Nigerian
    Army Headquarters
    , February 1964 – November 1965 (He was the first
    indigenous chief of staff of the Nigerian Army)
  • Chairman, Organization of African Unity
    (OAU) Defence Planning Committee, 1963–1965
  • Head of Nigerian delegation to the OAU Summit in Ethiopia, November 1966
  • Military governor, Western Nigeria, 1966–1971
  • Commandant, Nigerian Defence Academy, 1971–1972
  • Ceremonial military duties, 1972–1975
  • Retired from the Nigerian Army with the rank of
    major-general, July 1975
  • One of the founders of and vice chairman of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN),
Life as Governor of Western Region

The General & The GDA

governor of the Western region he promoted agricultural extension services in
particular the establishment of the Institute
of Agricultural Research
and Training,
Moor Plantation, Ibadan.[6]
His life during the Biafra War…

General David and Lady Dupe Jemibewon

Adebayo advised
against the use of force in resolving the Biafran crisis.
In one of the most prescient and articulate quotations of the war, he declared:
“I need not tell you what horror, what devastation and what
extreme human suffering will attend the use of force. When it is all over and
the smoke and dust have lifted, and the dead are buried, we shall find, as
other people have found, that it has all been futile, entirely futile, in
solving the problems we set out to solve”.[7]
the onset of war, Colonel Adebayo,
then governor of the then Western State ordered all bridges into the West be demolished
to prevent the Biafran rebels from reaching Lagos the capital of
Nigeria via his state. The rebels
went as far as Ore in present-day Ondo State
about 100 kilometres (62 mi) from Lagos.
the war, he was appointed by the head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, as the chairman of the committee on
the reconciliation and integration of the Ibos (Biafrans) back into the
Nigerian fold.
His tango with the Agbekoyas…

Late General Adeyinka Adebayo died a day to his 90th birthday

General Adebayo was the governor during the infamous farmers’ Agbekoya
revolt over taxation which was eventually resolved peacefully and harmoniously.
Adeyinka Adebayo
retired from the Nigeria
as a major general in 1975.
His Children and his legacy…

The late General Adeyinka Adebayo as a Young Man


 As of 2011 Adebayo
was the chairman of the Yoruba
Council of Elders
His eldest son Otunba
Niyi Adebayo
was a governor of Ekiti
State in Nigeria from 1999 to 2003. Another son, Adesola Adebayo was the Commissioner for Works and Transport, Ekiti State under Dr Kayode Fayemi led Administration from 2010 to 2014.Another son, Adedayo Adebayo, played rugby
for Bath and for the England
National team winning six
international caps between 1996 and 1999. Another of his children, Leke Adebayo is an actor, writer and
producer in London and has appeared
in and scripted various movie productions.
One day
prior to his 89th birthday, Adebayo died on 8 March 2017, after a brief illness
in his Lagos


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