Moshood Olabisi Ajala: The man who traveled around the world

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Olabisi Ajala is Nigeria’s most famous traveller. His name was credited to travel and adventure. Apart from being a globe-trotter using Vespa. Though, his work as a journalist was not well known, and neither are his philandering ways.

Moshood Adisa Olabisi Ajala who was also addressed as Ọlábísí Àjàlá was a famous Nigerian travel writer who traveled to almost all countries of the world. He is also a journalist and actor. He is famous for being a globe-trotter, with escapades in Israel, Egypt, Palestine, India, The United States of America, and some other places. In 1963, Olabisi Ajala published his only book titled “AN AFRICAN ABROAD”, which covers and gives details of his travels histories.

Olabisi Ajala was born in Ghana in 1929 to a Nigerian polygamous family of about thirty(30) children and four(4) wives . He was the twenty fifth child. When Olabisi Ajala was young, his family relocated to Nigeria.

EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

After his family moved to Nigeria, he attended Baptist Academy in Lagos and Ibadan Boys’ High School in Ibadan.

He traveled to United States in 1952 to study pre-medicine at the University of Chicago. Then, he was the first black student in the Delta Upsilon Pi ‘fratority’, a co-educational Greek-letter organization. He later furthered his education by studying Psychology at the Roosevelt University (formerly “Roosevelt College”).

In April 27, 1957, Ajala began a trip around the world which started from London, and that formed the genesis for his nickname called An African Abroad

Ajala had visited several countries, amongst them are; Australia, Egypt, United States, United Kingdom India and lots more which he traveled on his Vespa bike that has many autographs of dignitaries he had met. On his journey around the world, he met many dignitaries, among whom were, Jawaharlal Nehru(India), Golda Meir(Isreal), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa(from Nigeria), Gamal Abdel Nasser(Egypt), The Shah of Iran,and Nikita Khrushchev(soviet). He also toured countries like Poland, Germany, Prague, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria, Rumani, Hungary, and Turkey.

During the course of his travel, he suffered challenges with law enforcement. Among the challenges include; (i)He was accused of trying to assassinate Nikita Khrushchev by being too close to him in public in soviet union. (ii) He was almost shot for speeding across the border of Israel and Palestine without permission, among others. All these were published in his autobiography.

The book was written as a travelogue and a piece of journalism. He expressed opinion on how people lived in the places he visited, opined on the political situation in Israel and Palestine, as well as on the world leaders he met. The book was published in Sidney where he married Joanne and had three children with her.

OLABISI AJALA’s EXPERIENCE IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Olabisi Ajala opined of a cross-country trip to Los Angeles on a bicycle when he was in Chicago. The trip covered about 2, 280 miles in twenty eight(28) days, ending in Los- Angeles. Many accolades were credited to him as a result of the trip, including coverage in the major newspapers of the time. Ajala was received by Los Angeles city’s mayor, Fletcher Bowron upon his arrival in the city.

In Los Angeles, he became a domestic superstar, and gave a lot of interviews. He was later cast in a movie titled “White Witch Doctor”, based on the 1950 novel by Louise Stinetorf, and produced by 20th century Fox. He had been given the recommendation by Ronald Reagan whom he had met three years earlier.He was also signed up to act in the movie “Killer Ape” but never started work on it.

Lots of women liked him as a celebrity and got married to many to some them; One of the women he got married to was Myrtle Basset, a Chicago nurse Myrtle Basset who gave him his first child named Oladipupo Andrei Ajala who was born on January 21, 1953. The name, Oladipupo means “wealth has increased.” But Ajala had first denied paternity of the child. He had to be forced by the courts to pay 10 dollars per week to the mother when he refused to show up in court to take the blood test he had ordered. Olabisi Ajala then disappeared and never saw his son, Oladipupo again until 1976 when the latter had become a pianist. Oladipupo gave up the ghost on January 19, 2020.

In December of 1954, Olabisi returned to the United States with Hermine Aileen, his new wife who is a New York model. Both of them settled in Chicago. But in 1955, Hermine Aileen divorced him on charges of philandering and adultery, a charge he did not contest. In December of 1955, he remarried again to a London actress named Joan Simons.

DEPORTATION OF OLABISI AJALA

Olabisi Ajala was sentenced to one-year jail term after encountering many difficulties with the law for some insignificant offenses which includes; issuing false checks. Meanwhile, he had abandoned his academic activities because he should have been transferred to Santa Monica Junior College but was not keeping up with his studies. As a result of this, Ajala was ordered to be deported to his country, Nigeria.

The deportation order was not okay with him, so, he protested the order and claimed he would be executed by his father by the means of voodo. Also, among his protest so the deportation order can be overulled, he climbed an 80-foot radio tower, threatening to kill himself unless the order was reversed. After about 24 hours on the radio tower, Olabisi Ajala jumped down from about fifteen(15) fees and sustained a sprained back. Ajala became stranded and began hunger strike for a whole month;he could not afford feeding himself because he has no money with him anymore, he was later deported.

OLABISI AJALA’s RETURN TO NIGERIA

After the challenges he has faced everywhere he had traveled to(USA inclusive), Ajala decided to return to Nigeria. After he had landed in Nigeria and started his every day life activities, he got married to Alhaja Sade and they had children together. He became a famous influential. He also became an entertainment promoter and publicist, who has worked with the “Fuji progenitor”, Alh. Dr Sikiru Ayinde Barrister.

As a result of his reputable achievements, he was praised in one of sir Ebenezer Obey’s song with the song line “You have travelled all over the world. Ajala travelled all over the world…”. From then on, he was now regarded and addressed as “Ajala travels”.

Photos source: Wikipedia and Getty images

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