By Seun Oloketuyi
Born on October 24, 1935, into a humble family, Sir Kessington Adebukunola Adebutu CON, KJW, FISM is the Odole-Oodua, Balogun of Remoland and the founder of Premier Lotto, the company many now know as Baba Ijebu.
But this is not the most interesting thing about the man whose gaming company offers lotto services and betting in Nigeria and has become Nigeria’s most popular and oldest gaming company since it was registered in 2001.
Baba Ijebu as a name has become synonymous with betting in Nigeria, and like homonyms, Chief Kessington Adebutu’s moniker has many other meanings. To the millions of Nigerians who have benefitted from his generosity and goodness of heart, Adebutu is the man of courage who meets people at the point of their need without prejudice.
Long before philanthropy and humanitarian acts became ‘sexy’ and the PR go-to for every average millionaire, the revered industrialist and astute businessman had begun to cater for the less privileged, while also supporting indigent students and hospital patients who had no means to help themselves. He did this all through his Kessington Adebukola Adebutu Foundation.
Today, by whatever yardstick you choose to measure, Baba Ijebu numbers among Nigeria’s leading philanthropists whose benevolence has spanned over decades. His path to philanthropy can be traced back to his days as a young student thirsty for knowledge.
From Ijero Baptist School, Apapa Road, Ebute-Meta in Lagos where he had his primary education, he was admitted into Baptist Academy, Lagos, for his secondary education in 1951. He eventually completed his secondary education at Remo Secondary School (ESS), Sagamu, Ogun state in 1955, topping his class in the School Leaving Certificate Examination.
His brilliant educational background, no doubt, is a precursor to his love for education, and can be proven by his countless philanthropic gestures to scores of educational institutions and citadels of learnings across the country.
His principle that an educated and healthy soul can never be hungry was the drive behind the establishment of the foundation and he has maintained that drive since.
According to calculatable statistics, his charity foundation spends an average of N150 million monthly on humanitarian activities, and through this, his business continues to touch lives against odds.
As a true philanthropist, Sir Kessington Adebutu does not discriminate in his charitable deeds. He is kind-hearted, socially responsible and continually uses his wealth for human capital development.
This generosity and enviable works earned him titles like ‘Babalaje of Lagos’, and the ‘Asoju Oba of Lagos’.
In October 2015, Chief Kessington Adebutu was decorated with a honorary title of Doctor of Business Administration by the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), for his invaluable contribution to the nation’s economy.
At 88, Baba Ijebu has shown no signs of stopping or resting on past laurels. This is probably why successive governments are constantly seeking his good graces in recognition of his matchless support to the populace.
Sir Kessigngton Adebutu is also the epitome of grace, he is the model of a man who has achieved excellence through the sweat of his brow. He has been named great because of his defiance against all forms of evil, staying true to his vision to offer assistance to every needy person he can, even in the midst of despair and harsh economic realities.
Not one to surrender, it is no wonder that at this 88th birthday, people of influence all over the world have chosen to celebrate him massively.
Fear they say makes a man stingy, but courageous is the one who gives and keeps on giving despite the odds. Baba Ijebu has stood for decades as a symbol of the true spirit of the Ijebus of Ogun State, and it is the hope of many that his legacy lives on forever.