I rejoice with Basorun Kola Daisi as he adds another year today, September 14th, 2023, to the already action-packed 90 years that God, in his Infinite Mercy and Grace, has allowed him to spend in the land of the living — with a sound mind and in good health. No celebrations and felicitations can be too much for this great Nigerian icon, an outstanding philanthropist, a doyen of commerce and industry, and definitely, one of the finest gentlemen, in the annals of the history of Ibadanland.
My first contact with Chief Kola Daisi happened about fifty years ago. I had accompanied my mother, who is now late, to a social engagement at Itabale Olugbode where she hailed from and where she had returned after the death of my father in 1965. She lived in the area for another 7 years before she built and moved to her own house, in 1972. Immediately my mother saw Chief Kola Daisi, she hailed him and called him by his first name: ‘Kola, bawo ni o!!’ I remember that I immediately recoiled with trepidation and fright as I subtly cautioned her not to embarrass the big man that I perceived Chief Kola Daisi was, through my candid assessment of his aristocratic carriage and mien. On that day, I saw a man who was an embodiment of dignity and respect and who stood out of the crowd, in a very positive manner. I wondered what relationship my mother could have with such a ‘big man’. Almost immediately, she laughed and she used her right hand to point to the direction of Chief Kola Daisi’s family house at Itabale Olugbode which was just a stone’s throw from my mother’s family compound, at Iyalode house, within the same precinct!!! Thereafter, to my amazement, my mother and Chief Kola Daisi exchanged pleasantries. They were obviously within the same age bracket. Later, Chief Daisi took the time to ask me what I was doing and I told him that I had just left secondary school and that I was working as a clerk in the Ministry of Finance, at the Government Secretariat, in Ibadan. He gave me some money that day and that was the beginning of my long and very fruitful relationship with him. Despite the huge age difference between Chief Daisi and myself, he has never treated me shabbily or with disdain, in all our private and public interactions. It was later that I discovered that Chief Daisi was also a relative of my late father, Alimi Adio of Agbede Adodo.
Despite the fact that Chief Daisi is a lawyer, his foray into different sectors of the Nigerian economy meant that by 1980 or thereabout, he had become a household name in Nigerian commerce as well as in the Banking and Finance industry. He was also hugely popular in social circles. After learning the ropes of legal practice in the Chambers of Ayo Rosiji and Co, he diversified into multifarious businesses, like his soul mate, the late Otunba Sobumi Balogun.
Coming from a very humble background it did not take time before Chief Kola Daisi started giving back to society. He definitely raised the bar in the fight against poverty and want amongst the natives of Ibadanland, by putting smiles on the faces of people, especially the less privileged members of the society. His philanthropic activities have been coordinated through the KD Foundation, which operates very efficiently and effectively without much fanfare and without attracting too much attention to its many charitable works. The University of Ibadan and the University College Hospital are some of the corporate beneficiaries of his many philanthropic gestures. He also made contributions to Sultan Bello Hall in 1997 when I was the Hall Warden. His generous disposition to life and the honest desire to contribute positively to the development of society precipitated his interest in tertiary education, which culminated in the establishment of the Kola Daisi University, which is domiciled in Ibadan.
I remember, with a sense of gratitude, Chief Kola Daisi’s attendance at my second daughter’s wedding in 2014 and the Traditional wedding of my last daughter, in 2018, in the company of Baba K. O. Latunji. Perhaps, in consideration of his regard for me, on the 5th of February, 2013, he sent me a short note which I hereby reproduce:
‘My Beloved Friend, in grateful appreciation of the brotherly love and CONCERN you showed in the relentlessness of my “mysterious” (recent) TRAVAILS, I forward to you the attached copy of the ORDERS made in the judgment eventually delivered (in the case), just before Xmas, for your information and records. I pray that, especially at the beautiful stages of your life, you will never have to experience such a completely VICARIOUS but deeply excruciating TRIBULATIONS as was my lot. God bless you throughout this season and always. KD.’
No doubt Basorun Kola Daisi has seen it all and he is now fully enjoying the fruit of his labour. I pray that Allah would grant him a healthier, longer life and prosperity. Congratulations sir, as I wish you a very happy and blessed 91st birthday. Ire o.