Sanusi Adebisi Idikan, The First Notable Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
Sanusi Adebisi Idikan was an enigmatic personality that traversed Ibadan’s landscape in commerce, engaged in philanthropy and humaneness in the late 19th and 20th centuries
He was born in 1882, in Ibadan during the reign of Aare Latoosa, the Baale of Ibadan, and died in 1938, during the reign of his bosom friend and Father-in-Law, Olubadan Okunola Abass Aleshinloye
Adebisi’s father, Adesina, gave birth to three children- Adetinrin, Adeoti and himself; they were all into the selling of Ofi clothes in and outside the city of Ibadan.
He was an itinerant Ofi clothe weaver, a traditional Yoruba Clothes using for traditional occasions such as Marriages, Burial and so on. Before the age of 18years, Adebisi was well known in the business of Ofi with customers from places like Iwo, Ile Ogbo, Ikire, Osogbo, Ife, Ondo and even the far-flung of Benin.
Aside from the Ofi business, he also ventured into large-scale farming in Ashipa village, Mamu where he developed a large cocoa plantation; he also extended the cocoa business to Apata Ibadan where he acquired about 200 acres of Land.
In recognition of his success as a Cocoa farmer and businessman, he was made the Gowa Egbe (Head of society) by his other successful merchants like Otiti, Ekolo, Afunleyin, Ladimeji from Isale Ijebu and Adeyemo Owonbuwo from Oopa-yeosa. This led to him adding Giwa to his name, was then known as Sanusi Adebisi Giwa.
During his days, he was a celebrated Philanthropist; he was known to pay taxes of other farmers who couldn’t afford the payment of tax.
Tax payment, during these times, was taken seriously that failure to do so attract detention in the Mapo which also served as the Treasury office then. It used to be difficult to get someone to bail defaulters out because most adults were tax evaders and an attempt to bail another person out will land such person in the same detention.
The Tax problem, however, became a problem that a Balogun of Ibadan; Balogun Ola, son of Baale Orowusi attempted committing suicide to this course. He said it is better than to see Ibadan Young men in detention. The valiant self-murder was recognized by the people of Ibadan who named him Kobomoje (the one who displayed gallantry against timidity).
Adebisi was displeased with the way tax payment was handled in Ibadan; being one of the first set of Ibadan elites, perhaps if not the first person to ride a car apart from his hordes of horse.
As part of his philosophy- The rich must help the poor who are vulnerable; to this effect, he went to the Chief Tax officer for the Ibadan Colonial Office that he will be paying tax on behalf of every taxable adult in Ibadan.
The record had it that the chief Tax Officer was shocked as he knew the financial implication but Adebisi insisted on paying. From then, the colonial officer would calculate the amount of tax expected from all Ibadan taxable office and would go to Adebisi’s residence to collect the money.