Parents: Josiah Akinyele and Abigail Lapeno
Date of Birth: 18 April 1882
Reign: 1955 – 1964
Summary: Isaac was the second son of Christian converts Josiah and Abigail. Josiah was the son of a pagan warrior of Ibadan with a relatively high place in Ibadan's militocracy. He converted to Christianity in the 1850s. His wife, Abigail, was the daughter of another Ibadan pagan warrior who similarly converted to Christianity. Abigail was Josiah's second wife, and their first son, Alexander, later became the first Anglican bishop of Ibadan. Isaac was their second son and attempted in all his ways to mimic his elder brother. He excelled in school and the people of Ibadan began to look to him as an example. By 1910, the ruler of Ibadan proclaimed that every household must send at least one child to school. During this time, Isaac worked as a civil servant in the British government of Nigeria. He became a customs inspector in 1903. Over the years, he improved his rank, becoming a judge of the native court in the 1910s while also establishing cocoa plantations throughout Ibadan. In 1914, he and his brother joined the Egbe Agba O'Tan association of educated Yorùbá tribespeople. Alexander soon after founded the Ibadan Progressive Union, which was a peaceful organization supporting change in the native government in Nigeria. Isaac joined the Faith Tabernacle in 1924. It was a church that emphasized local customs and traditions in Christianity, thereby increasing the desire to join the religion. By 1935, Isaac became a Ibadan lord (Oloye) and soon after appointed Balogun, a title akin to duke in Europe. In 1948, he was recognized for his Christian virtues by the crown of the United Kingdom and became an officer of the Order of the British Empire. Yet even in his old age, he had not yet reached his pinnacle. For his services to Ibadan and the British government in Nigeria, Isaac was appointed the Olubadan of Ibadan, a non-hereditary kingship over the city. When Queen Elizabeth II visited Nigeria in 1956, she knighted Isaac.
Nigeria's independence movement was already begun, though, when he became olubadan. By 1960, independence had been recognized and the entire country was up in revolt. Nigeria was in a state of chaos. The north was dominated by Islamic groups while the south was Christian. Throughout the entire episode, Isaac remained separated from the government, preferring instead to seek peace initiatives. Isaac hosted several peace conferences in Ibadan between 1962 and 1964, but all came to naught. A federal government with a constitution was proclaimed in 1963 but the warring continued. Isaac died in 1964 with the country he loved still in turmoil.
Date of Death: 30 May 1964
Successor: Yesufu Kobiowu
Other Monarch Deaths:
Wladislaus II, duke of Poland (1159)
Ferdinand III, king of Castile (1252)
Charles IX, king of France (1574)