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Chief Dennis Chukudebe Osadebay
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{Compiled by Osamede Osunde} Last update 03-08-2015

Chief Dennis Chukudebe Osadebey, lawyer by profession, was the first premier of the then Mid-west Region (August1963-January1966).

Born in Asaba on June 29, 1911, Chief Osadebey had his elementary education at Government school, Asaba, Sacred Heart College and Hope Waddell Training Institute, both in Calabar. He later joined the civil service and worked in the Department of Customs and Excise from 1930 to 1946 when he proceeded to study law at London University and Lincoln’s Inn from 1946 to 1949 on graduation, he was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn. He subsequently returned to Nigeria and went into legal practice.

Chief Osadebey’s political career began in 1951 when he was elected to the western House of Assembly and in 1952 to the House of Representatives. He was a member of
those two legislative houses till 1954 when the new constitution made it impossible for person to be a member of two houses. He then decided to retain his membership of the western House of Assembly.

From 1954 to 1955, he was leader of the opposition party in the western House of Assembly. He became Deputy Speaker of the House from 1956 to1958 when he again became leader of the Opposition Party.
Chief Osadebey was one of Nigeria’s representatives at the constitutional conferences held in London in 1953, 1957 and 1958 for the drafting of a new constitution for Nigeria.

He served in numerous bodies and committees including those of the Governor’s Privy Council in the then western Nigeria, the western Regional Scholarship Board, the western Region Law Revision Committee, the western Region Finance Committee and the Nigeria Customs and Excise Law Revision Committee.

His political career got a further boost in 1960 with his election as president of the Nigerian Senate from where he led the Nigerian Parliamentary Delegation to the United States of America, Canada and the United Kingdom in 1962.

Chief Osadebay with members of the interim Administration

He acted as Nigeria’s Governor-General in 1961 and in that year he was awarded Commander of the order of Senegal By the president of Senegal.
On the creation of the Midwest Region on August 9, 1963, Chief Osadebey was appointed administrator.  On February 1964 he became the first premier of the state after his party; National Convention of Nigeria Citizens {NCNC} won the first general election held in the state.

He was one of the one founders of the NCNC of which he was national legal adviser. He was also the National Vice Chairman of National Party of Nigeria {NPN}.

Apart from holding numerous Chieftaincy titles including the Ojiba of Asaba, Chief Osadebey was also awarded the revered national honour of Grad Commander of the Order of the Niger {G.C.O.N} by the president of Nigeria in 1964. He was also conferred with the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws {LL.D} in the same year by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Chief Osadebay delivering his inaugural speech in Benin City

He was made pro-Chancellor and chairman of the Governing Council of the University of Lagos, Lagos in 1980. In the same year, he was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters {D.Litt} of the University of Benin, Benin City.

Among other interests of Chief Osadebey was his deep involvement in the Boy Scouts Movement. He represented Nigeria at the Boy Scouts world jamboree in England in 1929 and in 1933 he founded the 13th Owerri Group of Boy Scouts at Port-Harcourt and subsequently became the first Scouts- master.

In 1960, he became the chairman of the parliamentary Guild Old scouts in Lagos and was appointed International Commissioner of Nigeria Scouts.

He was a recipient of the silver Eagle Medal of the Boy Scouts.

Following the creation of the Anglican Diocese of Asaba in 1977, Chief Osadebey was appointed Chancellor of the Diocese.

An author of several publications, Chief Osadebey’s works include “Africa sings”, a book of one hundred poems, and the “poems of Osadenis”. His autobiography “Building a Nation” which X-ray his life as well as the political and constitutional development of Nigeria was published in 1978.

Chief Osadebey was also interested in African Affairs particularly the political and constitutional development of English speaking Africa.

Compiled by Osamede Osunde (info@edoworld.net) Last update 03-08-2015

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