World War II

Oladele Ayibiowu, born circa 1886 (according to his eldest son, Sunday Ayibiowu), is one of the living veterans of World War II. Oladele left his royal family at Emure-Ekiti, then Western Region, Nigeria as a farmer, (when Cocoa was not a cash crop but just a fruit) to work/live with a Catholic priest in Ado-Ekiti district of the then Western Region of Nigeria now Ekiti State, South-West, Nigeria. He had the opportunity to join the West African Frontier Force which was a quick decision Oladele made to salvage the effects of heartbreak after his fiancé dumped him. Oladele’s journey in the military started from Zaria, Northern Nigeria, when learning Hausa Language was compulsory. He proceeded to different countries of the world during the Second World War fighting in Japan, Jordan, India, Russia, Germany etc

Since his return to Nigeria after the Second World War in 1945, Oladele said “no reward or recognition was given to him and other veterans by the Nigerian government ” He stayed back in Lagos for a while, where he worked briefly with the Lagos Island District office before returning to his hometown to start a new life in farming.

Today, Oladele reflects on his past experiences as a West African Frontier Force’s soldier with mixed feelings, one of which is being part of the people that fought with their lives on the line to achieve global peace, and not getting any reward or recognition from the government after the years of war.

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