Sister Cities: Of Chicago and Ibadan: Music, Architecture, Disney et al

by Augustine Togonu-Bickersteth

There are interesting coincidences between Chicago in the U.S. and Ibadan city in Nigeria.

In Chicago is the Chicago Tribune, the largest Newspaper outfit in Chicago, whereas in Ibadan is the Tribune Group, the largest such outfit in Ibadan.

Chicago was incorporated in the 19th century and Ibadan was founded in the 19th century and they are both the third largest cities in the U.S. and Nigeria.

Chicago is the capital of Mid West United States and Ibadan is regarded as the political Capital of South West Nigeria.

Chicago used to be the Agric Machinery Capital of the U.S. and Ibadan is the Agric Research Capital of Nigeria.

Chicago is the printing capital of the U.S. and relatedly Ibadan is the publishing capital of Nigeria.

From Chicago and Ibadan respectively we had Barack Obama and Abiola Ajimobi, both fathered by Muslims, both senators, both associated with a citizenship controversy. Obama, U.S. President and Ajimobi, Governor of Oyo State, both with Masters degrees. The U.S. Presidents are usually sworn in on January 20. Ajimobi’s political godfather Lam Adesina was born January 20 1939 and his wife Saratu on July 4 1944 – the American Day of Independence.

The Physicist, Enrico Fermi in Chicago is credited with winning the Second world War for the U.S. President Harry S.Truman. Fermi was called “The Pope” because he was always right. Fermi has been described as being as good a theoretician as he was an Experimentalist whereas the Politician Obafemi Awolowo was the chief strategist for the Nigerian Head of State Yakubu Gowon, during the Nigeria Civil war. Awolowo is referred to as “the sage” because of his wisdom. He has been referred to as a Political theoretician cum practical economist.

On December 2, 1942, Fermi tested his invention- the first Nuclear Reactor at Chicago, in a squash Racquet court. The next day, December 3, 1942, in Ibadan, a son Oluwole, was born to Obafemi Awolowo to become an avid squash racquet player. Fermi was an Italian American. Awolowo had a house in Apapa. There used to be a lot of Italians in Apapa. Awolowo also had a soft spot for the Italian Giuseppe Garibaldi, a guerrilla fighter and revolutionary always in opposition in Italian Politics. Awolowo was always in opposition in Nigerian Politics.

James Abram Garfield, a lawyer and classicist, who got his nomination for U.S. Presidency in Chicago was assassinated, whereas James Ajibola Ige, a Lawyer and Classicist, who lost his nomination as a presidential candidate in Ibadan, was also assassinated.

Chicago is the home of the world’s first skyscraper and Ibadan is the location of the first skyscraper in Nigeria.

In Chicago and Ibadan, we had the architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Demas Nwoko, both described as evolving an entirely new architectural identity for the U.S. and Nigeria respectively.

The Mayor of Chicago had declared October 17 as Frank Lloyd Wright day whereas on October 16, 1968 Jumoke Adenowo was born in Ibadan to be described by CNN as Africa’s “Starchitect.” She has also been referred to by the Guardian Nigeria as the Nigerian Face of Architecture while Chicago is the Architectural Capital of the World.

In Chicago we had Oprah Winfrey, Media Proprietor, Broadcaster and talk show host once described as America’s most powerful woman for – amongst other reasons – the number of viewers of her TV Programme whereas in Ibadan we have Folake Solanke, a lawyer and first Woman Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), former Chair person of the Western Nigeria Television Broadcasting Corporation described as Nigeria’s most powerful woman on account of being the first Non Caucasian President of Zonta International worldwide – a Professional and Business women Organization which incidentally had their first World Headquarters in Chicago.

Chicago was crucial to the development of Jazz music in the U.S. and Ibadan, Highlife music in Nigeria. Interestingly one of the Highlife Greats in Ibadan was named Roy Chicago.

At Chicago was Walt Disney, a Comedist and Cartoonist. He had his Laugh-O-Grams whereas in Ibadan we had Solomon Iguanre. Also a Comedist and Cartoonist, he had his Laffomania. Disney gave rise to what has been described as the world’s greatest entertainment company and Laffomania has once been referred to as the funniest comedy outfit in south west Nigeria.

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