By Adedara Oduguwa
Many born in the 20s and early 30s in the old Ijebu-Remo Province or even in Nigeria would remember this rare enigma and the first renowned Ijebu Remo merchant, Pa D.S.D. Oduguwa. Born into a maternal royal family of Koyelu –Erinwole Ruling House in 1896 at Isote, Makun Sagamu. Oduguwa family lineage could be traced to one Mr. Adeyiga, the father of Oduname, who was the first Apena of Makun. Oduname, who was a slave-dealer, married his son Oduguwa to Princess Efudetu Kuseru who was the 3rd daughter of Kuseru while Awolesi was the only son of Kuseru. Efubamowo was the mother of Efudetu. Efudetu was married to Oduguwa, the father of Soyebo (D.S.D) Oduguwa.
Soyebo’s paternal grandfather “Oduname” and maternal grandfather “Kuseru” were successful traders. Growing up in the old Ijebu-Remo for young Soyebo was both wonderful and turbulent since both father and grandfather were reputable people in the society.
However, at a tender age, he suffered a twist in his fortune as his father met his sudden death.This made him to be stronger and he invested much of his time in determining his future through doggedness, discipline and hardworking. Moreover, through the aid and influence of the Europeans who were his parents’ partners that D.S.D. Oduguwa moved to Lagos and served under an English Merchant called “Mr. Clifford” between 1918 and 1921. Soyebo was under Mr. Clifford when he opened a shop of his own in Lagos under the business name “D.S.D. Oduguwa & Co.” at number 45a, Victoria Street (Opposite the holy central Mosque) P.O.Box 538, Lagos. After opening the Shop, he however, remained with his boss but put his brother Mr. William Oloyede Oduguwa in the shop.
Until, he graduated from his master and started full importation and the sales of both whole and retail sale of imported Bridal attires, Men’s Suit with shoes to match, Men’s cap, helmets on Hats, ladies’ dresses of various sorts with shoes and bags to match. Becoming a big time fashion designer and business magnet. This brought him fame, wealth and honour in Ijebu Remo, Ijebu-Ode, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Lagos and United Kingdom.
He was a well known figure in Lagos and also popular at home here in Shagamu to the extent that any time he decided to come home from Lagos, the drummers (i.e. Sekere Traditional Players) ushered his arrival with pomp and pageantry into Shagamu in his car and his police already on ground maintaining decorum. D.S.D according to historian comes out three times daily on his upstairs balcony to drop money for his admirers and the less privileged. First at 9am, 1pm and 6pm respectively for one week in the town until he travelled back to Lagos.
During D.S.D.’s life-time, his home in Lagos was the next home to many Remo and Ijebu indigenes. Prominent people like Chief M.A.K Sonowo of Illisan, Chief Hassan Odukale-Owner of Leadway Insurance Plc (First indigenous Insurance company in Nigeria) ,Chief Adeola Odutola –the Ogbeni-Oja of Ijebu-Ode and D.S.D Architect and Oba Williams Adedoyin- the then Akarigbo of Remoland , among many others.
D.S.D. was an educated man and extremely hardworking. At the age of 30, he was already in partnership with companies in over 50countries of the world, Including UK, Netherland, Australia, United States and Spain. This exploit brought him many good tidings.He became one of the most successful business barons in Lagos. This was a time when majority of the big stores in Lagos were owned and controlled by the Europeans. It was about this time that D.S.D. was appointed as the first
African to be nominated as a member of the Jury in “Her Majesty St’ Hannah Court’, Tinubu’s Square, Lagos 1n 1934. A feat which put him as the first Blackman Jury in Nigeria. D.S.D. was also appointed to represent Remo Youths during the celebrated Martindale Inquiry in 1936.
D.S.D. Oduguwa was a devoted Christian and a philanthropist of repute. However, from his archive, a letter dated 21st of September, 1937 and credited to Baptist Academy’s Principal, thanking D.S.D Oduguwa for donating two table clocks for
the Sports prize was undiscovered and reproduced below:
This is to acknowledge with thanks your kindly gift of two table clocks for the sport prize. Any
success attained will be due to you who have generously helped and encouraged us.
Additionally, D.S.D. was a staunch member of Ereko Methodist Church Trustee, Lagos and friend to Rev. S.O. Mafe.
D.S.D. married to 6 wives and begot 17 children in all, prominent among which includes: late Sir Solomon Owolabi Oduguwa – a renowned Nigerian athlete and Chief Kofoworola Oduguwa- a statesman, politician and successful businessman.
Motto: “Endurance and perseverance”_ D.S.D
Sadly, D.S.D. Oduguwa met his death on the 5th of June, 1939 at age 43 after a brief illness. Leaving many young children and wives behind. Today, the Oduguwas with a lineage and patrimony traceable to one of the most powerful families in Remo land with a reference curtain which could easily be drawn from the old Isote district explains paradoxically out of excitement and respect why some family ridiculously changed their ancestral name to Oduguwa. In a recent search on Google, Oduguwa was listed as one of the greatest family in Makun Sagamu.
Even though D.S.D. Oduguwa is today no more, his legacies, children, grand-children and great-grand-children continually lights the hope and aspiration of the family.