Chief (Dr.) John Agboola Odeyemi, the Obasewa of Ife, former Chairman of Ecobank Nigeria Plc and Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria will be 85 on Thursday.

He was born in Ile-Ife on April 4, finished Elementary Education at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic School, Ile-Ife in 1954 and later trained as Higher Elementary Teacher at St. Leo’s College, Abeokuta between 1956 and December 1959.  In 1965 and 1966, as a student on Sandwich course in Accounting at The College of Commerce & Technology, Wednesbury, Staffordshire England, he won the Rubbery Owen Prize, for the “Most Distinguished Student of the Year”; and “Outstanding Performance of the Year” respectively.

He is the Chairman of JKN Limited and JAO Investment Company Limited.  He also serves currently on the board of Kinley Securities Ltd – Stockbrokers.  He is also the Chairman of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry Board of Trustees.

He served on the Board of a number of other companies and he was the Chairman of Ecobank Nigeria Ltd from September 2006 to March 2010; was Chairman Refuge Insurance Company Limited and Obafemi Awolowo University Investment Company Limited from January 2007 to December 2012.  He was also a Director of Lead Bank Ltd, OASIS Insurance Plc, Multimalt Limited, Sowsco Well Services Limited and Kajola Integrated Investment Company Ltd.

He was the Past President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Past President of NACCIMA and was Chairman Nigerian Accounting Standards Board 1990 – 1995 and past President, Ife Development Board 1995 – 2004.

He was a member of the National Political Reform Conference February – July 2005; Member of the National Privatization Council (Bureau of Public Enterprise) October 2004 – October 2006; Member of the Committee on The Assessment and Monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals – June 2005 – October 2006 and was founding Member of the Governing Board of UNESCO Institute of Science, Technology and Innovation Centre in KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia.

He was honoured by the Federal Government of Nigeria as MEMBER OF THE ORDER OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC (MFR) 2005; by Osun State Government with the STATE DISTINGUISHED MERIT AWARD FOR PHILANTHROPY AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT in 2007 and by the ILE-IFE Community with DISTINGUISHED MERIT AWARD in 2008.

He was given a Merit Award by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria in 2005; Awarded Doctor of Science in Business Administration (Honoris Causa)   by Obafemi Awolowo University Ife in December, 2007. He was also given a special award by the Federation of Construction Industry for his contributions to the infrastructural development in Nigeria in June 2009 and appointed member of the Council of Oduduwa University, Ipetumodu, Osun State in September 2009.  He was conferred Patron of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Osun State Council in August, 2010.  He was also appointed Patron, Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers Foundation in October, 2011.

He built, equipped and donated a building for the museum of antiquities to the Institute of Cultural Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. He played a significant role in the linkages that led to securing the financial sponsorship of the Leventis family for the completion of the Natural History Museum.  As part of his philanthropic gestures and his vision for the preservation of Natural and Cultural Heritage, in 2011, he donated a vehicle for field work to the Natural History museum, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife.  He was also honoured with an Annual Lecture on CONSERVATION AND PRESERVATION OF NATURAL AND CULTURAL HERITAGE “CHIEF (DR.) JOHN AGBOOLA ODEYEMI ANNUAL LECTURE” by the Department of Natural History Museum, University of Ife, Osun State effective April, 2014.

He served as the Chairman of Seham Health Care Foundation a non Profit organization dedicated to the development of public awareness and care of Viral Hepatitis in Nigeria. He is one ofthe Patrons of CAREMI (Foundation for the Care and Resettlement of the Mentally Ill). He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Down Syndrome Foundation, Nigeria, an NGO that takes care of children with Down syndrome.

He is a devout Christian and regular contributor to the promotion of evangelism.  He worships at Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral Church (AVMCC) in Ikeja.  He remains active at his original family church, St Paul Anglican Church, Ayegbaju in Ile-Ife where he was installed as the EkerinIjo in 2004 and was installed Balogun of the Church on 23rd February, 2014. He was installed as the Otun Baba Ijo on 18th November, 2017 and was finally installed as Baba-Ijo on November 2020.  He constructed and donated Chapel of St. John the Evangelist, the Vicarage and Children Amenity Hall to the Diocese of Ife.  He has contributed to major activities and developmental events in the Ife Diocese, Anglican and other Christian churches countrywide, including mentoring of St. Paul Anglican Model College Ayegbaju as Chairman Board of Governors and donated the school hall.

He was the inaugural Chairman Ife Diocese Endowment Fund and Chairman Ife Diocesan Investment and Development Committee. He serves as a member of AVMCC Endowment Fund inaugurated by the Church in February 2013.

He is a member of Christian Friends Society and Torch Bearers Society of AVMCC, Young Men Christian Fellowship, St. Paul Anglican Church, Ayegbaju, Ife and he is a patron of the following societies: Band of Mercy, Archbishop Vining Memorial Cathedral Church, Lagos, Christian Morning Star Society, Anglican Church of the Pentecost, FESTAC Town, Young men and Women Christian Association, Anglican Church, Oshodi, Prison Fellowship Nigeria, Lagos Chapter.

He is a member of The Metropolitan Club, Lagos, Beachland Boat Club, Ife Metropolitan Club and a Rotarian, Paul Harris Fellow.