Oloye Victor Olabisi Onabanjo was born in 1927 in Lagos. He was educated in Lagos and at the Regent Street Polytechnic in the United Kingdom, where he studied journalism between 1950 and 1951. He worked as a journalist for several years before becoming a full time politician. His column Aiyekooto (parrot - known for telling the plain truth) appeared in the Daily Service and Daily Express newspapers between 1954 and 1962.
Olabisi Onabanjo was elected chairman of the Ijebu Ode Local Government Area in 1977 under the tutelage of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. He was elected governor of Ogun State in October 1979 on the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) platform. He was known as an unpretentious and plain-speaking man, and his administration of Ogun State was considered a model at the time and later.
On May 13, 1982 he commissioned Ogun Television. The Ogun State University, founded on 7 July 1982 was renamed Olabisi Onabanjo University on May 29, 2001 in his memory. He established the Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic, but General Oladipo Diya who became military governor in 1983 closed the school down, only to be re-opened after the return to democracy in 1999.