Visionaries

Visionary

Our first chairman, Chief Samuel Olatunbosun Shonibare, was a very astute business man generally recognized as well ahead of his time. He acquired 50 acres of Onigbongbo village from Onigbongbo family in 1955. He recognized that its proximity to the proposed airport would make it a gold mine and acquired for £5, 000. Many of his generation thought he was mad because it was basically a village but he was proven, by time, to have been very intuitive and very smart. It was acquired under the name of Chief S. O Shonibare but in 1959 after he borrowed £250, 000 to execute the project from Backlays Bank DCO, he changed, as part of the conditions of the loan, the title deeds which was in his name to a new company which he formed called the Shonny Investments and properties limited in 1959 and built what is now called the Shonibare estate. He didn’t call it Shonibare Estate. It was called Maryland Estate, arguably the first mixed residential estate in Nigeria. It contained 8 blocks of fully furnished 2 bedroom flats and 13 bungalows. The estate had special; features that were remarkable because there was a borehole and gas lamps had been fitted in the sitting rooms even though, at tht time, there were no problems of water or light. And apparently there were plans to get generators and this was in the 1960s. so, Chief Shonibare was visionary enough to ensilage the problems that could come in future. By the time he died he was already talking to people like Sony and Woolworths and even though he died very early at 44 in 1964, he was recognised as a colossus of his time and it is easy to see because his mentor was Lord Roy Thomson of fleet street who was the publisher of daily express. He was a Canadian who became the quintessential English man and acquired the Scotsman after he acquired the Sunday times in England and he also got one of the first television rights and was obviously the link that helped the western Nigerian government set up a tv station 50 years ago and he took Chief Shonibare as his adopted son. Lord Thomson was the first Baron of fleet Street and actually the last person to be given a hereditary peerage in the House of Lords.

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The Visionaries