By Ola Ajayi, Ibadan
The reminiscences of the heroic deeds of a late Premier of the defunct Western Region, Chief Ladoke Akintola came alive in Ogbomoso as the son of the deceased politician, Ambassador Abayomi Akintola gave a vivid account of how his dad was murdered 50 years ago.
He said this at a lecture marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Akintola who died in January 15, 1966.
The event was held at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso.
According to him, the picture of how the remains of his father were left at the entrance of the building is still fresh in his memory.
Among the dignitaries that attended the ceremony include Governor Abiola Ajimobi; Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, former Governor of Oyo State; Secretary to the Osun State Government, Alhaji Mashood Adeoti; a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Richard Akinjide; Senator Brimmo Yusuf and many others.
At the LAUTECH lecture, Akintola said that none of the premier’s children and their wives was injured while the gun attack lasted, describing their father as a hero who laid down his life and shielded his family from the invaders.
He said, “I was managing a thriving business in Lagos when my later father directed me to relocate to Ibadan when he became premier. Although, I was very reluctant to leave certainty for uncertainty, I had to defer to him. That was how I came to Ibadan.
“During the coup, about 50 soldiers invaded our house. My father was in a room within the house with us and we begged him not to go out. We shielded ourselves with the big wardrobes in the room as the soldiers began to shoot sporadically.
“At a stage my father told us he wanted to go and meet them, but we begged him not to go. Like the hero that he was, he told us that he would prefer to go and face them and damn the consequence, rather than to allow them to wipe out his family if they continue to hide.”
In his address at the event, Ajimobi admonished the family of the late premier to reach out and involve more people and political leaders on issues and events relating to the late premier, whom he described as an “unsung hero.”
Ajimobi said, “Akintola died at God’s appointed time. It’s our fault that Akintola was not being celebrated the way we should. I want to first blame the family for monopolizing him; then the rest of us. That is why I would want us to start strategizing on how to compensate this nationalist.
“The contemporary political history and evolution of Nigeria begins with the outstanding contributions of many notable nationalists, politicians and statesmen, who were beacons of light in their generation. In the forefront, no doubt, was the Late Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola
“This late icon was an unsung hero, not only because of his unprecedented achievements as a politician, a parliamentarian, an astute administrator, but also because he was a bridge builder in Nigeria’s search for national integration.
“In the various ministries where he served and most importantly under his watch as the Premier, his administration became the centre of landmark achievements. Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola was an orator, humourist, forceful campaigner, crowd-puller and a frontline politician.
In his lecture, a professor of History from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Enoch Oyedele, said, “Whether they call themselves Biafra, Boko Haram or any other name, anybody clamouring for the balkanization of this country should forget the idea. Nigeria is a viable country if its resources are well harnessed and applied.
“Political party system is one of the greatest problems confronting this country today. Political parties are mere platforms being used to win elections. They are not movement of the people. We must restructure this country to redress the unjust political and socio-economic structure of Nigeria.’’