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  • ’AD governors victims of Obasanjo’s political double-cross’
  • President, Lawan, Tinubu extol ex-APC chair at book launch

Memories of the political earthquake that swept across the Southwest reverberated in Lagos yesterday.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who recalled the perfidy, lamented that five Alliance for Democracy (AD) governors – Chief Bisi Akande (Osun state), Otunba Niyi Adebayo (Ekiti), the late Chief Adebayo Adefarati (Ondo) and Aremo Olusegun Osoba (Ogun) were sacked from power through what he described as former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s diabolical political double-cross.

The president, who praised Akande for his “inflexible integrity and disdain for bribery”, spoke at the presentation of his autobiography. My Participation, held at the Eko Hotels, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Eminent Nigerians, including Senate President Ahmed Lawan, All Progressive Congress (APC) National leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, APC National Caretaker Chairman Mai Mala Buni, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his Osun and Ekiti counterparts — Gboyega Oyetola and Dr. Kayode Fayemi –  Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi (Ojaja II) and Alhaji Kashim Imam, who presented the book, poured encomiums on the former All Progressive Congress (APC) Interim National Chairman.

Tinubu, who survived the 2003 electoral manipulation, described Akande as a hero and a man of impeccable character, whose selfless lifestyle has inspired many people in positions of leadership.

Oyetola lauded Akande’s virtues, describing him as a leader who is not afraid that his successors will surpass him.


President Buhari, who attended the ceremony before going for the inauguration of the Naval ships and helicopters in Lagos, said he could go with Akande in a jungle.

He said: ‘’It is common knowledge that Akande was the victim – along with other AD governors – of a diabolical double-cross, which ended his gubernatorial career. Only the steadfast Asiwaju Bola Tinubu escaped the electoral massacre masterminded by President Obasanjo.


‘’Desperately disappointed though he was, and being a good Muslim, he accepted this setback as part of the trials of life. He looked to the future of service to the country”.

The President described him as a decent, truthful and friendly person as well as an administrator of the first order, whose leadership qualities made him the unanimous choice as the first chairman of the APC.


My first meeting with Akande

President Buhari spoke about his first meeting with Akande, his passion for Nigeria, achievements, and disappointment as governor of Osun State, and his many battles to wrest power from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He said: ‘’My first personal contact with Chief Akande was, if I recall correctly, in 2006 when preliminary consultations were coming to fruition for a grand coalition to unseat the PDP government. ‘Those efforts eventually came to nothing. ‘Neither he, nor I, nor many of our friends and associates gave up as, in Chief Akande’s words: ‘the country was going down and down under PDP.”

The President also narrated how Akande had risen to prominence from his participation in the Constituent Assembly established by the Military Government of General Olusegun Obasanjo.

‘’He was always in the thick of things through the difficulties and political discontinuities of the 1980s and 90s. He emerged as governor of Osun State in 1999 when the military handed over to the civilians.


‘’Chief Akande had a horrendous baptism as governor of Osun State with discord from his own party; his State Assembly (including an attempt to impeach him without any reason whatsoever); from the trade unions and from his own deputy governor!Bisi Akande book launch

‘’On top of that, he inherited a deeply indebted treasury, huge arrears of salary, allowances, and pensions. Enough challenges to overwhelm many aspiring leaders.


‘’Bisi Akande stood four square and faced all the challenges head-on and overcame most of them.

‘’His first action was to stop payment of ‘critical allowances’ a euphemism for government money customarily shared by the big boys in Osun State. ‘This set the tone of his administration.’’

Lennox Mall

Recounting the achievements of the former Governor, President Buhari noted that within one year, Akande had paid off the salaries and other arrears, showing his mettle as a competent and serious administrator.

He added: ‘’By 2003 Chief Akande had virtually sanitised governance in Osun State having cleared some of the troublemakers from his government and, though reluctant to serve a second term, he was persuaded to run again.’’


Reminiscing on APC’s ascent to governance at the federal level in 2015, President Buhari said: ‘’Chief Akande was in the thick of further attempts in 2011 and 2014 to fuse together different groups and dislodge PDP from governance.

‘’The key to his thinking, which coincides with mine is that Nigeria can only be successfully managed by alliances between major groups. Although we failed in 2011, but by persistence and knowledge that PDP was driving the country towards disaster, several major parties were able to finally coalesce into APC in 2014 .


‘’Chief Akande was unanimously chosen as the first Chairman of this great coalition.

‘’Throughout the difficult negotiations, I found Akande truthful, steady and always with an eye to the ultimate goal.

‘’In or out of office, he has retained his inflexible integrity. On p.400 of his book, he wrote: ‘I never gave to or demanded bribe from anyone all my life.’ A perfect gentleman. A perfect public officer.”

Quoting a famous Hausa saying: ‘’Labarin zucciya a tambayi fuska’’ (loosely translated -if you want to know what is in a man’s heart watch his face), President Buhari affirmed that Akande has a permanent smile on his face, adding: ‘’He is the type I will go into the jungle with.’’


Tinubu: Akande is courageous

Tinubu noted that “from humble beginnings, Akande rose through hard work, intellect, courage, perseverance, sacrifice, dedication and what he called ‘self-tuition,’ adding: “he did not walk the easy road. He earned things the hard and principled way. Nothing deterred him. Though easy-going in demeanor, he was always strong of character. Without seeing the four walls of a university, Chief Akande tutored himself so well that by age 22, he had become a qualified accountant.

Tinubu added: “The connection I share with Chief Akande is longstanding and broad. We have been fellow travellers in the struggle for democracy and progressive governance. We also shared similar backgrounds in Accounting and Finance. We both honed our accounting skills in oil companies, Baba in British Petroleum, me in Mobil, before our forays into politics.

“The book ‘My Participations’ is razor-sharp. Apart from giving valuable insights into the makings of this great Nigeria, it provides a view of our political intricacies through the gifted lens of one of our foremost public figures.

“Among important issues highlighted in the book is the historic merger of the ACN, CPC, ANPP and a faction of APGA in the APC.

“Chief Akande writes frankly. He does not sugar coat or obscure. He says what he sees. Some people wished this book never to see the light of day because they received the words of his sharp pen for their negative roles in key events. Given his kind nature, however, there are many others who won his admiration. As author Amit Kalantri quipped, “an honest man speaks truth; don’t expect him to speak sweet.

“The book truly affirms that Chief Akande places high premium on integrity and truthfulness. It could not be otherwise. Indeed, many say President Buhari and Chief Akande are two of a kind: honest, resolute, patriotic and committed to their beliefs. I concur in that comparison.

“We thank Baba Akande for sharing the richness of his experiences in hope that this book will enhance the national political discourse and the democratic journey born of that discourse. We thank President Buhari for taking time from his unrelenting schedule to be here today. It shows the mutual affinity the President and Chief Akande share.”

Sanwo-Olu, who welcomed President Buhari to Lagos, noted that Akande stands for peace, fairness, equity, unity, integrity and generosity, adding that his legacies in the APC would forever be a benchmark.

“This memoir, which commands respect, is timely. It is deeply rooted in political history and a commitment to democracy and participatory governance. It would be of immense benefit to students.”

‘A leader par excellence’

Oyetola described Akande as ‘a leader who is not afraid his predecessors will surpass him’.

He said: “Chief Akande is a leader par excellence who is always ready to give his best while in charge, and always ready to give counsel, guidance and direction in familiar terrains, he is not afraid that his predecessors will surpass him.

“Chief Akande played people- and developmental-centred politics that is hinged on principles and convictions. As a party member, he exuded loyalty to progressive ideals. As a deputy governor, he was loyal to his boss. And as a governor, he demonstrated vision, honesty, probity and exemplary service that set the tone for sustainable development in Osun.

“He is an apostle of good and visionary governance; the Osun State secretariat, Abere stands as a testimony to his enduring legacy. He is a bridge builder and a detribalised Nigerian whose tenure as the Interim National Chairman of the APC set a solid foundation for a viable and enduring political party.

“Chief Akande has successfully employed mentorship as a capacity-building tool for self and societal development. He learned at the feet of mentors such as Chief Obafemi Awolowo and remains till date one of the few committed Awoists. He gave his knowledge and experience freely to his mentees to build a sustainable political structure.”

Onu: Akande is tolerant

Mnister of Science and Technology Ogbonnaya Onu, who chaired the occasion, described Akande as ‘a very tolerant man showing friendship to all’. He noted that though Akande came from a poor home, he did not remain poor, but ‘learnt from the mistakes of his parents, worked to keep acquiring skills to adapt to new circumstances’.

He added: “Akande is a self-made man, he worked very hard and was determined to succeed in life. He did not go to any secondary school, never saw the inside of any university, except for short courses. Yet, through home study and learning by correspondence, he was able to obtain the certificate of Chartered Secretary, and later became an accountant at the age of 22 years.”

Chairman of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Kashim Ibrahim-Imam,  recalled that Akande refused to nominate any of his children as minister of health when APC won the 2015 presidential election, despite having a medical doctor and pharmacist among them. He described Akande as a father.

He stressed: “Akande is a man of honour, integrity, and an embodiment of selflessness, honesty, loyalty and uprightness.”

Ibrahim-Imam, who is also President of the Old Boys Association of Kings’ College, bought 10 copies for N100 million, for the school library.

The book reviewer Dr Usman Bugaje, described the book as ‘handful, bold, un-evasive and unrelenting. It speaks directly to the history of the future of our country, for it explains why we are not where we should be’.

He said one of the key messages in the book is ‘the necessity of participation’, adding that  “is that we need statesmanship more than politics.

Akande, while acknowledging the love showered on him, urged Nigerians to eschew negativity so we can achieve the Nigeria for all.

He also urged the President not to neglect the Southwest, but to visit the region regularly.

He said: “We want Nigeria to be united, we want Nigeria to be peaceful, we want Nigeria to be prosperous though we know that we are not fair to ourselves; we know we are fraudulent, we know we are deceitful, we know we are cheaters”.

At the ceremony were Governors Dapo Abiodun (Ogun); AbdulRahman AbdulRazak (Kwara); Abubakar Bagudu (Kebbi); Minister of Youth and Sports Sunday Dare; Speakers of Houses of Assembly – Mudashiru Obasa (Lagos); Timothy Owoeye (Osun); Funminiyi Afuye (Ekiti), and members of the Lagos State Executive Council.

Others are Senators Solomon Adeola, Tokunbo Abiru, Opeyemi Bamidele and James Akpan Udo-Edehe; Oba Rilwan Akiolu (Lagos) and Rasheed Akanbi (Oluwo of Iwo); Police Commissioner Hakeem Odumosu; Osun State APC Chair Gboyega Famodun; former Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel, Senator Ganiu Solomon, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro; Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi.

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