Dr. Obadiah Johnson (born in Freetown, Sierra Leone) was a liberated African or recaptive originally from Nigeria, and he was a Krio. Obadiah was the second Nigerian ever to qualify as a medical doctor. Although this achievement of his was a milestone in history, however, he became famous only for tackling another monumental undertaking. In 1897, his older brother, Reverend Samuel Johnson (Nigeria) completed a major work on the history of the Yorubas but, in Dr. Obadiah Johnson's own words, "A singular misfortune...befell the original manuscripts of this history, in consequence of which the author never lived to see in print his more than 20 years of labour." The manuscripts were sent to an English publisher in London, England, through a missionary society, in 1899 but, "nothing more was heard of them."
In 1900, Dr. Obadiah Johnson visited England and called on the publisher who told him he misplaced the manuscripts and, "that they could not be found, and that he was prepared to pay for them." Although Dr. Obadiah Johnson smelt a rat immediatelly, however, he and his brother decided to "let the subject rest there." The original author, Reverend Samuel Johnson (Nigeria), died a year later on 29 April 1901. Thus, Dr. Obadiah Johnson had "to rewrite the whole history anew from the copious notes and rough copies left behind by the author."
Dr. Obadiah Johnson died in London in 1920 and, the book, A History of the Yorubas from the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the British Protectorate, was published in London in 1921 by George Rouledge and Sons. This book is recognized worldwide as a pioneering historical study and a book of record, which sealed the two Johnsons' places in history.
(Editor's Preface), A History of the Yorubas from the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the British Protectorate
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