Another worthy Charlean hits the Diamond Jubilee mark today. He is retired Air Vice Marshall Adebowale Olanrewaju Odunlade - he was born on October 10, 1960 to Colonel Matthew Olu Odunlade (retired) of Otiigun compound at Ayeyemoro, Ile-Ife and Madam Margaret Oyinade Odunlade.
Young Adebowale had to attend about four (4) primary schools as the child of a serving military man then, whose call to duty required regular transfers and postings. He started his Primary School education at Children's House School, Ibara, Abeokuta in 1966; he moved to L.A Primary School, Ile-Ife in 1969 and later to L.A Primary School, Ikeja in 1970 before finally completing his Primary Six (6) at Surulere Baptist School, Surulere, Lagos in 1972. Due to the desire of his father to allow his son have a feel of his place of birth, he enrolled young Adebowale at St. John's Grammar School, Ile-Ife in 1972. However, Adebowale had to move again to St.Charles' Grammar School, Osogbo, in 1973, where he completed his Secondary education and obtained his West African School Certificate in 1977.
Following the footsteps of his father, Charlean Adebowale Odunlade joined the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) as an Officer Cadet in 1979. He passed out after successfully completing his cadet training in 1981 with NDA Certificate of Education. He thereafter moved to Kaduna Airforce Base for further military training and was commissioned as a Pilot officer in January 1982. He commenced his carreer as a military pilot in 301 Flying Training School Kaduna and successfully completed his Primary Flying Training in 1983. Thereafter, he proceeded to 303 Flying School, Kano where he completed his Basic Flying Training Course. His performance in the course put him on spotlight as he won the BEST ALL ROUND GRADUATING PILOT AWARD of the Course....What a feat, for a Charlean!
The Federal Government, through the Nigeria Airforce, continued to invest in Charlean Adebowale Odunlade by sending him to more Advanced courses like Air Weapons School in Kainji and Instructor Pilot Training where he earned his Combat and Qualified Flying Instructor (QFI) ratings respectively. He attended Ghana Command and Staff College in addition to being a graduate of the National Defence College. He has a Post Graduate Diploma in Public Administration and an M.Sc in Strategic Studies from Nigeria's premier university, the University of Ibadan.
As Charlean Adebowale Odunlade continued to rise in service, he faced the rigours and horrors of war - he had to fight in the Liberian/Sierra Leone ECOMOG operations in1990-91 and 1993-94. He also served at the crisis- prone Democratic Republic of Congo as African Union Reconnaissance Mission Air Operations Officer. He was the Chairman, National Committee for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons, in the year 2013.
Now in retirement, Charlean Odunlade was a total military Professional who never held any political appointment. At the military set up and high command, he was highly respected. He was at different times, the Director of Personnel and the pioneer Commandant of the Air Warfare Centre at Markurdi, Benue State. Towards the end of his career, he was Chief of Training & Operations Nigeria Airforce and Chief of Defence Communications at the Defence Headquarters.
Air Vice Marshall Odunlade belongs to many societies like SCOBA, IBB International Golf and Country Club. He is also an Alumnus of the National Defence College.
As a passionate philanthropist, Charlean (AVM) Odunlade has positively affected the lives of hundreds of widows, orphans, the less privileged and the needy through the empowerment programs he embarked upon since 2012 within Abuja and its Area Councils, Yola, Markurdi, Kwoi in Southern Kaduna, and Garam in the outskirts of Niger State. This, amongst other sterling qualities, informed the decision of the 'We The People of Nigeria (WTPN)' political party to select him as their Vice Presidential candidate in the 2019 general election.
SCOBA appreciates AVM Odunlade's involvement in and financial support for the refurbishment and stocking of the Science Laboratory of our alma mater and the 40th Anniversary of exiting St. Charles' as organised by his Stanza, 737, in 2017. Debo's classmates regard him as a gentleman to the core and a strong pillar of financial support to their Stanza.
Stanza 737 is also honoured to have as its member, another former colleague of Charlean (AVM) Odunlade in the Airforce, Group Captain Abbey (rtd). We appreciate them all as we celebrate the birthday boy of today, AVM Odunlade.
We also remember Charlean (AVM) Odunlade's first cousin, Late Charlean Samuel Adebola Adeyemo (Stanza 789) who passed away in London in 1992. They were inseparable in their days in school, particularly in Basement Dormitory.
Charlean (AVM) Adebowale Olanrewaju Odunlade is happily married to Mrs. Olabisi Aderonke Odunlade and they are blessed with 2 children.
We rejoice with him, his family, Stanza 737, friends and associates on the celebration of this unique day. We wish him many happy returns of the day in good health, prosperity and longer life.
Happy birthday, AVM!
SCOBA CEC 2018/20