resident Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday expressed sympathies with the family of renowned author and publisher, Pa Gabriel Omotayo Onibonoje.
Onibonoje, who was among the eminent pioneers of modern indigenous book publishing in the country, died in Ibadan, Oyo State, on February 23, 2023, at the age of 92.
A press statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said Buhari shares the pain of loss with the publishing industry, particularly the Nigerian Publishers Association, considering the historic and leadership roles that Pa Onibonoje played in promoting the culture of writing, reading and sharing of knowledge and experiences.
He said: “The President believes the memories of the renowned publisher will be preserved in his books and the many young people he inspired and mentored over many years.
“President Buhari prays for the repose of the soul of the departed.”
The New Citizen reports that Onibonoje was born on September 10, 1930, in Ijebu Jesa, Oyo State, and was educated at St Matthew’s Primary School, Ijebu Jesa, 1940-47, St Luke’s Teachers’ Training College, Ibadan, 1951-56, and University of Ibadan, 1958-1961, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree.
He worked as a teacher in several schools in Ibadan from 1948 to1964. In 1958 he established the Onibonoje Press, which became Onibonoje Press and Book Industries Nigeria Limited, in 1968. Since then he had worked in the book industry and was also a big time farmer since then.
He was a member of the Executive Committee of the International Publishers Association, between 1972 and 1973.
Onibonoje was a recipient of several awards for his contribution to book publishing and farming, including Ife Book Fair Merit Award, 1985, and Outstanding Farmer of the Year, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, 1985-86.
He authored several books, including Africa in the Ancient World: A History Book I (1958), Africa from the Rise of Islam to the End of the Slave Trade: A History Book II (1958), Africa in the Modern World: A History Book III (1958), Civics for Nigerians (1959), and The Indigenous Book Publishing for National Development (1965).
He married Josephine Olufunlayo Arojojoye in 1958, and they had four sons and two daughters.