Julius Osibamowo: An Icon with Legacy of Giving

Ibilola Adefope

On the 25th of November 2023, Chief Julius Osibamowo passed on to the great beyond at the grand old age of over 97 years. He lived a long and fulfilled life, an unsung hero in the history of Nigeria, and like his ancient namesake Julius Caesar “he came, he saw, and he conquered.”                                                                     He was born in Ikenne in Ogun State on April 11, 1926, to the family of the Late Pa Joel and Late Mama Mary Efunsola Osibamowo in Ikenne Remo.                                                                                                                            His parents were hardworking and well esteemed in the community, despite relatively modest means. He had numerous sisters and brothers, all of Blessed Memory.


Julius Osibamowo was an exceptional student right from his primary school days at St Saviour’s School in Ikenne up to his secondary school at the Baptist Boys High School Abeokuta (BBHS) which he attended and, was until his demise endowed as the life patron of the school.

Of note, at the BBHS 100th anniversary celebration held in 2022, he was acknowledged as the oldest surviving old boy of the school. In 1946, the very clever young Julius Osibamowo won a scholarship via a competitive examination, where he scored the fourth highest mark nationally. He then travelled overseas to study civil engineering at Glasgow University in Scotland. He later completed a master’s degree in municipal engineering (now called environmental engineering) at the highly esteemed Imperial College in London, UK.


During his educational sojourn in UK, he met Miss Theresa Osilaja in London. Theresa of Blessed Memory was the daughter of the renowned Chief Ignatius Washington Osilaja, an indigene of Ijebu Ode ordained under the order of the Knight of St. Slyvester, was one of the few converts instrumental in bringing the Catholic Church to Nigeria and was the first and largest indigenous commercial printer in Nigeria at the time, and her mother who was a princess from Ile Ijosi, Ilesi Ijebu Ode. Julius Osibamowo married her in 1956, greatly reaping the benefit of her strict Christian upbringing confirming the scriptures that “a husband of a good wife is a fortunate man, he has found a good thing and obtained favour from the Lord”, this reality he regrettably only acknowledged in toto shortly before his passing. They had three children in the United Kingdom, Babatunde, Efunbo and Oluyemi and returned to Nigeria on the sponsorship of his very wealthy father-in-law expecting their fourth child Ibilola, and thereafter Folasade and Olaleke were added to the devout Christian family fold.

A very ambitious, entrepreneurial and a highly motivated young man, Julius Osibamowo established his own civil engineering company EFBIKO Engineering Ltd in 1964. EFBIKO being an acronym, made up of the first letters of his name, his wife’s name and the names of his six children in the following order – Efunbo, Folashade, Babatunde, Ibilola, Kofoworola, Olatunji, Oluyemisi and Olaleke. He was blessed with a devout Catholic, very hardworking and generous wife who devoted her life to being a sacrificial wife, caring mother and erudite business partner, together they raised highly successful children from their union; all professionals in different fields namely a Civil Engineer, Medical Doctor, Medical Doctor, Lawyer, Architect and Civil Engineer.                                                                                                                               Their union has been exceedingly and abundantly blessed with numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren, who are currently all resident in the UK and USA.


On his return to Nigeria, Julius Osibamowo first worked at the Lagos City Town Council as an assistant town engineer, becoming the only chartered municipal engineer in the council and probably in the entire country. After leaving Lagos Town Council, he joined Dorman Long Ltd where he was the first professional Nigerian engineer on their staff roll. Recently, when Dorman Long celebrated their 75th anniversary, he was invited and again honored as the longest surviving ex-employee of the company. Impressively, he was a key member of the first set of professional civil engineers in Nigeria and, eventually became the President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, as well as the Vice President of the World Federation of Engineering Organisations; positions he held for several years.

EFBIKO Engineering rapidly grew to become the largest indigenous civil engineering company in Nigeria, regularly competing for projects with the foreign giants such as Julius Berger, G. Cappa etc and became foreign partners with the billion dollars organisation, Camorati Italian Construction situated in Milan in the early 70’s.                                                                                                                                           Some of the notable projects completed included the original Ikeja Airport, sections of Tin Can port, the roads and residential infrastructures in Festac Town, the Kaduna State Water Scheme and numerous other multimillion naira projects nationwide. EFBIKO Engineering constructed numerous residential properties throughout the width and breath of Lagos; they pioneered the development of numerous properties situated in the Lagos Mainland, in particular the highbrow suburbs of Okupe Estate in Ikeja in the 80’s; of particular note is “in recognition of the laudable contribution to the development of Okupe Estate”, the prime street was re-named “Kofoworola Crescent” after his wife Theresa Kofoworola Osibamowo of Blessed Memory.


He was a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers (M.I.C.E), a Member of the Institution of Public Health Engineers (M.I.P.H.E.) and a Fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers (F.N.S.E). His career spanned over six decades, as he worked literally till the very end having started as a Senior Assistant City Engineer of Lagos City Council, as Project Engineer at Dorman Long and finally as the Chairman of EFBIKO Engineering Limited. He undertook executive tasks with numerous professional associations namely as a Member of the Governing Council of Yaba College of Technology for eight years; the Nigerian Representative for the World Federation of Engineering Organisation for ten years and attended Seminars, Symposiums and Conferences in Leningrad, Washington, Ottawa, London, Paris, Budapest, Cairo, Tunis, Jakarta and Casablanca.

Unrelenting in his pursuit of excellence in industry and a desire to make an impact in Nigeira, in the public sector he accepted appointments as Member of the Industrial Committee for Ogun State and Ogun State Committee on Export Promotion; Member Advisory Council of College of Agricultural Science, Ogun State University; Chairman of Committee on Relocation of Medical School to Ikenne Remo and as the Chairman of Gateway Transit Ltd, Ogun State and Member of Ogun State Polytechnic Governing Council. Meanwhile in the private sector, he was appointed the President of Ogun State Association of Standard Hotel Owners; Life Vice-President of Ogun State Council of Chambers of Commerce; President of Ogun State Council of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture; National President of Baptist Boys’ High School Old Boys Association; Member of Rotary Club of Ikenne and Patron of Remo Local Association of Boys Scout of Nigeria; Member of Governing Council Nassarawa College of Technology; Grand patron of Friendship Badminton Club; Chairman of Excelsior Continuing Education Centre, Ikenne; Chairman of Body of Governors of United High School, Ikenne and Chairman of Association of Tourism Practitioners of Nigeria, Ogun State Chapter.

At the height of his professional success in 1982, Julius Osibamowo being a thoroughbred patriot decided he was going back to his hometown in Ikenne, Ogun State to contribute to the community development of the town. At the time, the family could not really understand his decision to leave the thriving business environment in Lagos to permanently relocate to Ikenne, but he prudently reasoned that a man cannot be rich and completely fulfilled, if he was surrounded by so much poverty in his community.                                                                                                                                       He then began what can only be described as one of the largest and most altruistic distribution of great wealth to literally all and sundry; family and non-family members inclusive, and fondly got nicknamed “Baba Scholarship” in Ikenne, and the whole of Ogun State.

He practiced the biblical ethos of being his brother’s keeper showcasing “whoever gives to the poor and needy is in reality, giving to the Lord” and in so doing, was blessed to live to the highly remarkable “near-miss by 2 years” centenary mark as the date of his funeral was his 98th birthday. Whilst in Ikenne for a duration spanning over 40 years, he laboured tirelessly and established numerous types of businesses in Ikenne with his main objective being not-for-profit, but to provide gainful employment to the indigenes of the town.                

                                                                                                       With his passion for education and his lifelong philosophy that “education is a useful key to unlock poverty”, he established the O & A Primary School and the O & A Academy ensuring that every young citizen in Ogun State should be given the opportunity to an international standard, good quality education to ensure their self-sufficiency in future.                                                                                                            In addition to offering numerous financial grants and scholarships to the indigent children nationwide accepted in the schools, he supported the building of the town hall, sponsored many christians on pilgrimages to Jerusalem, and lobbied for the Ogun State University medical school to be located in Ikenne to upscale the status of Ikenne town.


Osibamowo was bestowed with the high Chieftaincy title of the Lisa of Idotun, and eventually was crowned as the Baba Oba of Ikenne. Julius became a staunch member of the church, having sought forgiveness from the Lord for his human weaknesses. He supported the building of the then Obafemi Awolowo Memorial church where he worshiped; he was elected as the Baba Ijo and was installed by the first Bishop of Remo Anglican Diocese. Later he purchased land in a prime location and constructed the church building known as All Saints Church then, but now referred to as Our Saviour’s Church Ikenne. On his 95th birthday, he donated a landmark property to the Anglican diocese, as he devoutly believed and felt called to financially contribute to the work of the Lord in his latter days; proven by daily singing of the song “Jesus never fails, forever more”!!!

Despite his busy schedules constructing numerous buildings in Ikenne such as budget-priced hostels for students of the University of Ogun State and residential properties for local citizens to reside in at heavily discounted rent payments; he still insisted on contributing his time and expertise by being a board member of many of the above stated public and private institutions, and was President of the Ogun State Chamber of Commerce up until his passing away to greater glory.

Julius Osibamowo was indeed a father to many people far and wide in Ikenne, Lagos, UK and USA.  His impact on the fortunes and development of Ikenne should not be forgotten, as those he left behind will forever celebrate his life and great laudable achievements. For his good works mostly in the Church and to humanity; his memory will linger forever and his legacy of altruism will live on.

Adefope is a Legal Tech Consultant and an Apple/Google App Developer; Founder of WILLIT App, a Will-writing App.

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