OTUNBA Fatai Isola OSIKOYA (1927 – 2021)
Raji Sanni Osikoya (a.k.a R S Manager), Giwa (President) of the Obafowora Age Group of Ijebu-Ode, was dashing, rich, and popular in Ijebu in the first quarter of nineteenth century. But he died rather young, and suddenly, at 33 years of age leaving behind a 6 year old son, Fatai Isola Osikoya who is the subject of this Tribute.
Born December 10, 1927, Alhaji (Abdul)Fatai Isola Osikoya attended Moslem Primary School and Ijebu-Ode Grammar School both in Ijebu-Ode. After passing Cambridge examination, he had a brief stint in Kaduna as a clerk in Government Treasury, and later at Lands Department in Ibadan as a draughtsman before proceeding to the United Kingdom in search of the golden fleece.
He studied building engineering at Brixton School of Building (now University of West Bank), missed the opportunity for a post graduate study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, which he qualified for by coming top in his graduating class but the Western Nigerian government which sponsored his university education insisted he should return home to work for government.
He served his bond with the government, found employment with Shell Company of West Africa Ltd as construction engineer and later established his own construction Company, FISKO Construction Engineering Company Ltd.
Otunba Fatai Isola Osikoya would say he was rascally while growing up but a review of some accounts of his rascality actually could also be taken to mean he was very principled as a young man. He showed commitment to the Islamic faith very early in life and did not waver until he breathed his last on June 5, 2021 at 93 years.
Otunba Osikoya was a veteran pioneer of sorts. He was one of the children who first used the Isoku premises of Moslem school in 1938 (I was in the school 1956 – 1961).
As a secondary school student in Ijebu-Ode, he combined his talent of free hand drawing with entrepreneurship when he named his pioneering endeavour to produce graphic design works and sign writing for commerce as “OSI SIGNS”. He grew the endeavour into commercial success, mentored others to take it over and the business, “OSI SIGNS”, remained very popular and respectable in Ijebu-Ode even after he had gone overseas to study.
As the first indigenous graduate engineering builder in Nigeria, he, along with his colleagues, championed the establishment of the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON, established 24th April, 1990) and became its pioneer Chairman. That was after he had led the formation of, and served as the pioneer President of the Nigerian Institute of Building, (NIOB, inaugurated November 5, 1970).
He was a Corporate Member of the Institute of Building, UK and also of the Building Surveyors Institute, UK.
Otunba Osikoya was unique in his commitment to family, community and his faith. His story is inseparable with Islam and its development in Ijebu-Ode in his life time and he raised that religion’s tenet of ‘Giving’ to a level of art. Scholarships, construction of monuments, promoting girl-child education, donation to worthy causes, and organisation of mentorship and educational programs for youths counted as priorities in the list of his preferred investments.
Otunba was a family and community man through and thorough. Having his root in two very prominent families: the Agbomiyans his paternal family, and Alli Oduwoles (fully expressed as Eniodunmo Alli-Ige Oduwole dynasty), his maternal side, it became a bond, indeed a covenant, that he led all through his adult life a leadership of shining examples, discipline and united commitment to human and community development.
At 6 years old in 1933, the interment of his father did not quite register the true import of the unusual ceremony to young Fatai Isola Osikoya. His only recollection, and connection to the day, was a big crowd and a very bright evening. Darkness was pushed away by the large number of gas lamps, and huge lanterns of sorts, brought in by natives to provide lighting and he saw that as remarkable. It was so bright in the night that he must have, metaphorically speaking, wished the brightness never went dim. And for the remaining 87 years he spent on this side, Otunba FISKO kept the shining brightness of his families, community and society always aglow.
Materials for this tribute derive from : personal knowledge; information contained in earlier tribute on the subject matter; and published work in “The Ijebu Nation in its True Perspective”(a must-read) by Engr Kayode Sote.
A slightly different version of this Tribute is also available at