12th Year Memorial Tribute For The Olu of Urhobo of Ikale Land- Chief Francis Ighoriowhunu Obayendo
(24th April, 1928- 26th February, 2010)
Chief Francis Ighoriowhunu Obayendo was born in Omoderribo Village Agbaro Otor in April, 24th, 1928.
Together, with his siblings, an elder brother and sister, they started out life with their grandmother at Kokori Inland before migrating to the coastal town of Ode-Irele in Ondo State. There, he became part of the privileged few to complete the modern school certificate, a glowing feat which secured him a comfortable career in the teaching profession in the 50’s.
Not one to rest on his oars, Chief Obayendo embraced entrepreneurship with an apostolic zeal and made a success of it. Upon the death of his elder brother, he took up the challenge of running the family owned business of sale of Palm Kernel produce and turned it into a profitable venture.
Chief Obayendo had the midas touch. He prospered in business such that he rapidly expanded and diversified his investments to include the famous OBAS bread from his bakery. He was also a major distributor of liquor and carbonated drinks to include Skull Beer, 33 Beer, Canada, Dry Gin, Cocacola among others.
In addition, he revolutionized the transportation business in the town by selling bicycles and motorcycles, making them more accessible to the people.
As a man of faith, he acknowledged the guiding hand of God in his businesses such that his first transport vehicle, a Datsun Saloon Car 120Y, was named “Oghenekewe Transport” which meant By Providence. Gradually, he added to his fleet and became famous for owning luxury brands of buses pickups and lorries such as the Bedford model.
He was a deep rooted family man and he ruled his large family of seven wives, forty one children and numerous grandchildren with equity and fairness.
He personally exemplified the detribalised Nigerian, and his marriage to women from different communities lend credence to his good nature towards everyone.
He loved his community and willingly joined several clubs and associations which benefitted immensely from his wealth of advice, expertise and knowledge to aid growth and development of the land.
In appreciation for his numerous contributions to the community, he was awarded several awards from many esteemed organisations with the highest honour of a chieftaincy title, Olu of Urhobo of Ikale land, given to him by the Olofun of Ode-irele. This gave his family the privilege to celebrate the Eje Festival as the last festival in the community.
He lived a fulfilled life and he is remembered for his good deeds in all areas of life. He trusted the Lord and he lived a life of purpose.