Ogbomoso-born renowned author, AGBO AREO, of Pacesetter fame, for burial July 28

Ogbomoso-born renowned author, AGBO AREO, of Pacesetters fame, for burial July 28




Agbo Areo, the pioneer of the Pacesetters Series’ novels is dead.


He died on June 8 in his sleep at the age of 83. His remains is to be laid to rest on Friday July 28 in Ogbomoso.


The Ibadan-based, Ogbomoso-born author and publisher, often regarded as Nigeria’s “bookmaster,” because of his exploits in writing and authoring books, editing, publishing and marketing of same, wrote his first novel in 1977 titled, “Director,” under the “Pacesetter Series.”


In 1979 he authored “The Hopeful Lovers” and would go on to author many other novels and academic books that became popular.

In a tribute published in some national dailies Sunday, July 2, 2023, Dele Sobowale, a widely read columnist, remarked, “Baba Agbo Areo was possibly the greatest book professional Nigeria ever produced. His work in book writing, editing, proof-reading and publishing place him so far ahead of any of our greatest writers – including all the award winners. While the Achebes and Soyinkas only wrote, Baba Areo covered all the aspects of book-making – including buying paper, designing cover, correcting manuscripts, initiating text books for all the levels of education – from nursery/primary to postgraduate studies.”


Pa Sobowale also put in his tribute: “Baba Agbo was a writer of novels and text books used in several states of Nigeria – for primary, secondary and tertiary institutions for more than five decades. But, he went a step further than all the known writers who ever lived in Nigeria. He was, until his last breath, a widely acclaimed publisher; and, as such, has been responsible for releasing more than four hundred books by other writers, biographers and Professors — especially at the University of Ibadan.”


Pa Areo attended Okelerin Baptist Primary School, Ogbomoso, Ibadan Provincial College, and also schooled at Osogbo, before graduating with a degree in English at the University of Ibadan.


He was on the staff of Macmillan Publishers, one of the world’s largest book marketers, where he rose to top management cadre.


Among others while at MacMillan he pioneered the Pacesetters Series with his first novel – Director (1977), The Hopeful Lovers (1979), co-authored MacMillan Junior Illustrated Dictionary (1983), The Mothers’ Choice (1992) and Prescribed Poems for SSCE (1998-2000), with Notes and Commentary.

He later resigned from Macmillan to found Agbo Areo Publishers & Agbo Areo BK Publishing & Consultancy Nigeria.


According to a statement by the family, made available to newsmen, “Agbo Areo was born on 18th June, 1940 in the then Ogbomoso Native Authority, subsequently, Ogbomoso District Council, and completed his standard six class at Okelerin Baptist Primary School, Ogbomoso. After, a BA(Hons) English at the University of Ibadan.


“Agbo Areo started his book publishing career with the Nigerian branch of the multinational Macmillan Publishers, during which he pioneered the Pacesetters Series with his debut novel ‘Director (1977).’ And many more in the series.


“Agbo Areo is a professional publisher of repute, a member of the Nigerian Publishers Association Professional Training Committee for many years, and had trained ‘generations’ of other notable Nigerian editorial/production staff, his expertise in fiction, non fiction text-books, and ter- tiary-level books cannot be overemphasised.


“Some of his published books include Director (1977), The Hopeful Lovers (1979), A Paradise For The Masses (1987), Mother’s Choice (1992). He co-authored others like: Macmillan Junior IIlustrated Dictionary (1983), Prescribed Poems for SSCE (1998-2000), with Notes, Commentary, and a host of others.”


It is added that his funeral rites will commence on Wednesday, July 26 with a Christian wake at his residence in Ibadan.


On Thursday, July 27, a commemoration service will hold at New Reservation Area Baptist Church, New Iyaganku GRA, Ibadan, while his remains will be committed to mother earth on Friday, July 28, after a funeral service at First Baptist Church, Okelerin, Ogbomoso.


“Altogether, he had positively impacted the lives of millions of more Nigerians than most of our political leaders. In fact, people like Buhari have actually destroyed all that Baba Agbo Areo tried to build with books,” Sobowale further noted.

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