Obit: Chief Gladys Adukẹ Vaughan, Ọtun Iyalode of Ibadan, Pioneer Educationist, dies at 93 – Tọla Adenle

April 16, 2014



aunti vaughnEducation pioneer, fighter for women and children’s rights, traditional icon sat pretty for her 90th birthday picture; she would have turned 94 in July.



The death has occurred at Ibadan of  Gladys Adukẹ Vaughan (nee Akinloye) of Ibadan; she died of old age last night at her Bodija, Ibadan home.

In the very republican and orderly chieftaincy rules that characterize awards of chieftaincy titles in the ancient city, Chief (Mrs.) Aduke Vaughan was the Ọtun Iyalode, the last ladder below the Iyalode, the head of all women in the old capital city of the Yoruba; it remains more than the cultural capital to this day.  Now, all the titled women along Iyalode line will move up one step up the ladder; it’s the same with the men for whom the last step is the Olubadan.

Chief Vaughan founded the Omolewa Nursery/Primary School, a boys and girls private school in 1962 after having taught at the Maryhill Nursery Primary School, Ibadan on her arrival from England with the fabled “golden fleece”, a special education certificate in Education.

She belonged in the same education pioneering group with Chief Bolarinwa of Alafia Institute, Chief Wuraola Esan of People’s Girls School and a very few brave and very bright Yoruba women who occupy the same pioneering status in Nigeria’s educational firmament.


OMOLEWAeyin ni ndi akukoẸyin ni ndi akukọ – from the Ọmọlẹwa Nursery/Primary School’s website – is a Yoruba saying for an egg today, a cockerel tomorrow! Very apt for these lovely girls who look happily and confidently into the future. 


Omolewa SchoolPart of the main block of Ọmọlẹwa Nursery/Primary School.

I might as well confess that I’m probably no passer-by writer to Mama Vaughan whom I addressed as Auntie throughout the time I ran into herthrough many years after 1966 when my most senior brother, then the University of Ibadan’s Registrar, was forced into my job-search; Lọ ba Mrs. Bolarinwa tabi Mrs. Vaughn.   I told him I did not know either of the women.  “I’m not sure Mrs. Bolarinwa has vacancies right now but Adukẹ may have!” The third name was even more baffling but he gave me a piece of paper and off I went, first to Auntie Mrs. Bolarinwa at a sprawling compound up the hill at Mokola; she also directed me to Auntie Mrs. Vaughan who was the Adukẹ!

Auntie Mrs. Bolarinwa and Auntie Mrs. Vaughan were the first women I ever met in my life who ran their own schools – big schools as far as I knew. The land areas of both schools were very impressive, and remain so even by today’s standard although Ọmọlẹwa’s infrastructure at that time was less developed than Alafia Institute’s.   What great examples and inspiration to young girls!

She would be my boss and Auntie for 1966 before I left for the Ibadan Technical College (now Polytechnic) at the end of the year, and an Auntie she would remain for the rest of her life but now that she has joined the greats who opened doors for many young women directly like me or indirectly as inspirations to others, she is now Mama to us all.

Chief Vaughan was very hard-working, very firm and very fair.  She was generous with her time telling me how to be careful … very motherly and very protective to all the kids under her care.  While I did my work well – pardon my being the one to say so since Auntie is no longer around – I was perhaps a fairly self-absorbed young girl that it was difficult for me to know how many of the kids were hers apart from Mrs. Biodun Pomary who was then at Yejide and Mrs. Ronke Adefope who would later attend St. Anne’s.

I had left Omolewa, for example, before I learnt that Molara Tinubu and two other girls from Lagos were not hers; nor was the very bright Sola Ajibola who, like Molara, was in my class and also a favorite of Auntie.  Of course I would later know she had other kids and adopted children apart from those two lovely girls, now gorwn lovely women. Looking back at the responsibilities  Mama shouldered in her forties, makes me admire not only her achievements but her capabilities even more than the awe in which I held her.

Mama Vaughn is survived by many children and extended family to whom she was very special as she took great interest in everybody.  Her old students, friends and many benefactors also mourn her passing.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.


WEDNESDAY, APRIL 16, 2014.  6: 48 p.m. [GMT]

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4 Comments on “Obit: Chief Gladys Adukẹ Vaughan, Ọtun Iyalode of Ibadan, Pioneer Educationist, dies at 93 – Tọla Adenle”

  1. Tuoyo Kunu Says:

    Yes indeed Mama Vaughan has passed on to glory,she was a disciplinarian and a kind-hearted woman who touched many lives. May her gentle soul rest in peace. She will be missed.



  2. Fatai Bakare Says:

    I say a very big Amen to the prayer you used at the end of the piece of eulogy you showered on the great mama. Those of us who believe in paradise (heaven) and hell, do not need to consult a seer or an oracle to know which path a person would follow when he dies. Obviously, we can judge by the deeds of individuals when they sojourn here on earth. There is no gainsaying the fact that mama will be highly welcomed, hugged and embraced by her Lord.

    Though, I never met her in life and cannot not remember if I have read about her (but I feel I must have), however, from the picture seen of the main building of her school by your courtesy, she was somebody who believed in giving proper education to the young ones in a serene environment. I pray that these structural and educational legacies that she left behind are maintained and remained for eternity.

    I pray we do not have an unscrupulous or drunkard leader who would wake up one day and demolish the school to pave way for a car park or a shopping mall. May God forbid a bad thing.

    Once more I pray for the repose of the soul of the great educationist.



    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Fatai,

      Thanks v. much for this contribution.

      No, I do not believe that Nigeria – at least the Western part of it – will be saddled for long under the yolk of internal colonialism, pardon that allusion here. I think things will be sorted out IF Nigeria gets sorted out at the center. Otherwise, we are set for one big calamity.

      During the recent era of one of the past Oyo State’s governors, a landmark – albeit “just” an old, old tree under which women sold soda by the crates – known as Coca Cola
      Abẹ Igi
      because it was directly opposite the old Coca Cola factory “under THE tree” was erased when the tree that gave a bus/taxi stop or street area a name, was cut down. You hailed a taxi/bus at any part of Ibadan to Coca Cola Abẹ Igi and the taxi or bus driver knew exactly where you were going. but what’s ‘just” a tree to people whose values derive only from money?

      They could have acquired just a few more feet from the other side of the road, the Old Leventis (Coca Cola) side to ensure that the landmark area’s name was left untouched which would have enabled the tree to remain. I mean there was Coca Cola Abẹ Igi written in the style of street name script pasted on that spot!

      It still pains me to think of the mind or minds that took that decision to widen a road and have that sign brought down before uprooting that tree WHEN THE ROAD COULD HAVE BEEN WIDENED BY GOING TO THE OTHER SIDE.

      Now, demolishing schools for parking lots or a mall is beyond me, especially one of the oldest private high schools in Osun state and this has nothing to do with the much-talked about that point compensation. An educational institution should not be demolished for trading shops.




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