Colonel Robert Adebayo, then miltary Governor of Western Nigeria (1966-67), was the son of a retired Nigerian Railway official. Born in 1928, he was educated at Christ's School, Ado-Ekiti, eight miles from his home town, Iyin-Ekiti, and at Eko Boys' High School, Lagos. He left school in 1947 and enlisted in the Army the following year.
In 1951 he attended a course at the school of Infantry, Accra, Ghana, and was commissoned a lieutenant at Eaton Hall, England, in 1953. He returned to Nigeria the following year and was promoted captain in 1957, major in 1960, lieutenant-colonel in 1962 and full colonel in January, 1964. Colonel Adebayo, who was the second military Governor of Western Nigeria, has held a number of important positions in the Nigerian Army including ADC to the then Governor-General ( 1957-58 ), and Chief of Staff of the Nigerian Army ( 1964-65 ).
He served in the Congo (Kinshasa) under the United Nations Peace Keeping Force from 1961-63. Colonel Adebayo attended the Staff College at Camberley, England, and was half way through a course at Imperial Defence College when he was recalled, in August, 1966, to take up the appointment of Military Governor of Western Nigeria. He led the Nigerian delegation to the 1966 Conference of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), and was reported to have saved the formal opening of the conference from being called off over the Ghana-Guinea issue. Opposing moves by certain states to have the conference adjourned indefinitely, Colonel Adebayo warned that such a step would bring shame to the Organisation and give it a bad name.