Remembering Adedotun Kayode Degun
THE late Adedotun Adedeji Kayode Degun was born on October 10, 1928 in Lagos. He was the first child in a family of eight — four boys and four girls. His father was the late Pastor Isaiah Debowale Degun, who was an Assistant General Superintendent of Christ Apostolic Church, Nigeria. His mother was the late Mrs. Abigail Olawunmi Degun (nee Adebogun) from the renowned OdumoslJ/Odubela Adebogun Family of Itantebo, Ijebu Ode.
At the age of four and a half, Adedotun was enrolled at the Christ School, Faji, Lagos in January 1933 and was in the school for three years before he had to relocate with his parents to Minna, now in Niger State. In Minna, Adedotun was enrolled at St. Peter’s Primary School, where he spent another three and a half years with his parents.
Adedotun’s father was a Post Master in the then Post and Telegraphs Department. When the father thought about the adverse effect his frequent transfers would have on the education of his child, he decided to bring him to Lagos in April 1937, to live with his uncle and aunty, Mr. and Mrs. David Awode.
Adedotun was a very brilliant student and in record time, gained admission into CMS Grammar School, Lagos, in January 1940 for his secondary school education. He passed out in December 1945 with a grade one distinction in the Senior Cambridge School Examination. Immediately after his secondary education, he was employed as an Accounts Clerk in the Post and Telegraphs Savings Bank, Lafiaji. He worked there for about three and a half years before he was offered admission into the famous Fourah Bay College, Freetown, now University of Sierra Leone, in September 1949.
A devout Christian, Adedotun was Fourah Bay College’s paid organist while in the school, a position that assisted him to meet some of his needs. He was also the Lawn Tennis Captain of the college and Minister of Games and Sports from 1951 to 1952. At the end of the third session, his sojourn at Sierra Leone paid off as he was awarded the B.A. (Durham) in 1952.
He came back to Nigeria after graduation; he was just about to turn 24 years old then. He joined his Alma Mata, CMS Grammar School, Lagos, as a graduate tutor under the able leadership of Bishop I. Kale. He taught Latin, English Language, Religious Knowledge and Yoruba. He was an all round, well-balanced scholar who mixed very well with his students.
In April 1954, the late Adedotun got married to his lovely wife, Princess Christiana Morolake (nee Odubanjo). After getting married, he proceeded with his wife to the University of London Institute of Education where he obtained the Postgraduate Certificate of Education of the University of London in June 1955.
On his return from the United Kingdom, he joined the then Western Regional Government Service on October 10, 1955, as Education Officer (Examinations). He rose to be a Permanent Secretary in the Western State of Nigeria. He was a very dynamic Civil Servant.
When Ogun State was created in 1976, as a result of his leadership qualities and integrity, Adedotun was appointed as the pioneer Secretary to the Military Government and Head of Service of the new state on February 9, 1976. In spite of his status, Adedotun was very humble and accessible to all and sundry. He was a dedicated civil servant who never enriched himself by virtue of his exalted position. He was an outstanding, inspiring, dynamic, purposeful, articulate, respected and irresistible leader. He voluntarily retired from service at the age of 51 as Secretary to the Government and Head of Service.
Though retired, Adedotun served the country in other capacities including as President of the Ijebu Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He was also appointed the Life Vice President of Ijebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 1986; Patron of Ijebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry in January (1996); Chairman, Board of Trustees, JUBULLIMA VENTURES; Executive Vice Chairman, Sunrise Bottling Company, Ijebu Ode (April 1980 to January 1986) and Chairman, Nigerian Wire and Cable Co. Ltd, Ibadan (a member of Odua Group of Companies) from 1989 to 1991, among others.
In recognition of his diverse contributions to the development of the country, he was conferred with the National Honour of Commander of the Niger (CON) by the General Olusegun Obasanjo Military Regime. He was also conferred with the traditional title of Madasa of Ijebu land on November 25, 1995.
May his soul continue to rest in peace, Amen.
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