22 July, 2020
A couple of days ago, I received a post on the GCIOBA MAIN SOCAL WELFARE platform regarding our distinguished Old Boy, Professor Wole Soyinka`s 86th Birthday, 13. 07. 2020, and I rejoiced with him on the occasion, while wishing him many happy returns of the Blessed Day, accompanied by the best wishes of all, viz Top & Robust Health round the clock and all year round in the many years ahead.
As a curiosum, it may be added here that I shared with Professor Wole Soyinka the fortune of being in the Greatest House in Government College, Ibadan – GRIER HOUSE of course. His entry was in 1946, while mine was in 1955.
I wish to offer a remark to Paragraph 2 of the post which stated inter alia “He started Road Safety Program in Old Oyo State under Bola Ige, called MajaMaja. This he later took to the Federal Level to become Federal Road Safety under IBB”.
At this juncture, it is imperative to put the records straight.
The entire vision, mission and birth of Road Traffic Safety Corps in Nigeria and indeed in AFRICA belong to Major R. O. A. Salawu, who had nursed the idea since his early days in the Army.
No sooner the words O. S. R. S. C. i.e. OYO STATE ROAD SAFETY CORPS are uttered, than the echo of Major Salawu´s name rings out, and reverberates all around. The name Major R. O. A. Salawu is synonymous with Road Traffic Safety throughout the Continent of AFRICA – The Ancestral Home Of All Human Beings. Without an iota of doubt, Major Salawu richly deserves the cognomen “Generalissimo of Road Traffic Safety”. He had a vision and a mission of curbing the carnage on our nations` blood thirsty roads, and eliminating the wanton squandering of precious lives. This altruism was the driving force behind his resolve to confront head-on, the scourge of turning the roads to slaughter slabs in our nation and throughout the entire Continent of AFRICA.
In pursuance of his vision and mission, and with his inspirational leadership, administrative prowess and unwavering altruism, Major Salawu conscientiously and dedicatedly nurtured the trail blazing and pace setting idea to fruition when he handed his proposal to the then Military Governor D. M. Jemibewon in 1977. The Gazette of Oyo State Road Safety Corps Edict Number 18 of 12th August 1977 bears undisputable testimony to this landmark in Road Traffic Safety. From the very beginning, Major Salawu drafted me into his proposal, as I fully shared his vision, mission, ideals and altruism. Back then, I was a Consultant in the Department of Community Medicine in University College Hospital, Ibadan where I was engulfed in Medical Research with focus on Epidemiology of Infectious and Non-Infectious Diseases and other ailments/infirmities, of which ghastly Road Traffic Accidents accounted for a substantial share of fatalities, as the cold hands of death painted our roads with the blood of innocent victims. One could only imagine the horror, heartbreak, grief, unspeakable sorrow and the repercussions that the wanton and dastard loss of precious lives unleashed on bereaved families and the society at large.
As one of the Pioneer Honorary Road Marshals, together with my other colleagues like Chief Ibikunle, Big Ben Ajani and others that the Generalissimo, Major R. O. A. Salawu appointed to implement the life-saving vision and mission of his NOBEL PRIZE or equivalent AWARD deserving project, we were all honoured and privileged to work with him, and under his leadership and guidance on this noble cause.
OYO STATE ROAD SAFETY CORPS was the brainchild of Major Salawu, and it was another FIRST IN AFRICA emanating from our part of the country, and setting the pace for the Federal Government of Nigeria to follow in Major Salawu´s footsteps to establish a Federal Road Safety Corps over a decade later – on the 3rd December 1987.
Indeed, the iconic stance of Generalissimo of Road Traffic Safety, Major R. O. A. Salawu was the forerunner of the present day ROSAFA (ROad SAfety For Africa) of which I have the honour and the privilege of being the Chairman of its Board of Directors, with the Icon of Road Traffic Safety Major R. O. A. Salawu, as its Patron.
All salutations and honour to Major R. O. A. Salawu, The Generalissimo of Road Traffic Safety in Nigeria and in AFRICA – The Origin Of All Mankind.
Author: Professor, Sir Ade Ojeniyi GRIER HOUSE (The Greatest House) 1955 entry.