Titus Martins Adesoji Tadenianwo Aderemi (15th November 1889-7th July 1980) was a quintessential Yoruba monarch. He was the Ooni of Ife in 1930 and was on the throne for an uninterrupted period of fifty(50) years until his death in July 1980. He was a member of the Oshinkola ruling house of Ife. He succeeded Ooni Ademiluyi Ajagun who died on the 24th of June 1930. He was the first literate Ooni.
Oba Titus Martins Adesoji Tadenianwo Aderemi was born on the 15th November 1889, every inch a king, to the family of Osundeyi Gbadebo and Adekunbi Itiola, his 19th and last wife and a native of Ipetumodu. On the day of Adesoji’s birth, his father, Prince Gbadebo Osundeyi had just arrived from a war expedition and as a gifted seer, Prince Osundeyi carried the baby into his laps, gazed intently into his face and was happy at what he saw. He instructed Adekunbi, to search for red beads, which they presented this special baby, pronouncing him an Ooni, a future Ooni, who is however an ancestor Ooni, who had come back through their family. Prince Osundeyi named this unusual baby Tadeniawo Ayinla Aderemi, who took his first footsteps at seven months (7) and started walking.
As a restless spirit, everything about Aderemi was quick and fast. He started schooling in January 1900 at the St. Phillips School, Iyekere, Ile-Ife. He left school in 1906, became a pupil teacher in 1907 and immediately registered with an overseas correspondent school, for private tuition, backed up with private lessons from the late Bishop A.B Akinyele, to whom he paid visits at Ibadan.
He joined the Nigerian Railway Corporation in 1909 in the construction section and worked in various other departments as Station Manager at Port-Harcourt, Iwo, Ile-Ogbo, Offa, Ibadan and several other places in the Western Region from 1919-1921, when he resigned from the Railway Corporation, after he had saved up some money, to set up his own business. Adesoji Aderemi came into instant success when he started a Motor Transport business as well as a trade in produce-buying and general merchandise.
After a brief tutelage with John Holt of Nigeria, he became an agent for UAC and later a Factor for John Holt Ventures, Mc lever and OLGeyser. He traded in three cash crops–cocoa, cotton and palm kernel which he bought from Iwo, Ede, Ipetumodu, Ile-Ife, Gbongan, Ile-Ogbo and Ibadan. He hoarded these produce while speculating an upturn in prices. He was reported to have made so much money as a result of the upturn in prices that he threw a party for the people of Ile-Ogbo where he was living at the time to show his joy.
He started his transport business with a fleet of Lorries and buses ferrying people and goods to and from many places around the country including Onitsha and Kafanchan. He became so financially successful that, he was nicknamed “Atobatele” (already famed as King) by his contemporaries and the people of Ile-Ife and also “Ooni Ola” (Tomorrow’s king). Adesoji bought his first car in 1920 and by 1930; he had used three cars which included an open roof car.
His fame and popularity was a pain in the neck of the then reigning Monarch, Ooni Ademiluyi Ajagun, that he was charged with impersonation and large flamboyant display of wealth at the Upper Palace Court of the Ooni. He was fined twenty- five (25) pounds. It is a funny coincidence and instructive that this sum of twenty-five(25) pounds which he paid as fine was returned to him by the Ife local council on his ascension to the throne in 1930.