by Admin

by Jane osamor

It is my joy today to witness the 85th birthday of our own Chief Bisi Akande, the grand old man and one of the moving forces of progressive movement in Nigeria.

It is delightful and gratifying to know that Chief Akande is still fit; mentally alert, in good health, and continues to contribute meaningfully, in our quest for a fairer, more just and equitable society.

Baba Akande turning 85 is a landmark achievement that calls for celebration. We must also be thankful to God for his life and for giving the nation an eminent leader like him.

He remains one of our respected elder statesmen in Nigeria who continues to offer rare insights and counsel on how best to organise our country for effective governance.

I have benefited immensely from Baba Akande’s good knowledge and perspectives on a wide range of issues as they affect Nigeria and the Western part of the country.

As an astute politician, Chief Akande has been part of every political epoch in our country since the Second Republic. He was one of the eminent Nigerians that drafted the 1979 constitution which the amended 1999 constitution, currently in use, largely mirrors. Beyond his sagely contributions to our national development and political evolution over the decades, the most enduring aspect of his enviable life is his forthrightness, integrity, reliability and spartan life which he imbibed from his leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. All these attributes have served him well in all the positions he had the rare honour to occupy in his illustrious life.

Baba Akande is a sharp and brilliant accountant. He was a former Secretary to the State Government and later Deputy Governor of old Oyo State. He dutifully served the people of Osun State as the Governor with tremendous success from 1999 to 2003.

A committed democrat, die-hard progressive, and prudent yet compassionate leader of men, Chief Akande has done much for this country and for the progressive family. He has been a prominent architect of our nation’s progressive political parties.

If anyone needs a reliable and dependable compatriot as an ally, Chief Akande is that man anyone can go to battle with. Since we transitioned from the defunct Alliance for Democracy to Action Congress, from Action Congress to Action Congress of Nigeria and now the governing All Progressives Congress, Chief Akande has remained a constant feature. l salute his courage and commitment to democratic and Progressive ideals.

Whether in public office or later in life in his capacity as pioneer Chairman of ACN or as Interim Chairman of APC, Chief Akande brought honour and integrity into the discharge of his responsibilities.

He could not have done otherwise. Baba had been sold early in life on those noble values of honesty, integrity, conscience, courage, hard work, perseverance and the importance of a good name among others.

Highly principled and perceptive, Baba Akande is selfless and intensely patriotic. He gave more to others than he gave himself. What he has given to his family, his Osun State, to the Yoruba race, he also gave to this country: the very best.

Since Baba enlisted in the Action Group in the First Republic to support the progressive ideals of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, he has not looked back. He stands today even more committed to those vital and necessary ideals. He is one of the few leaders still around who can be called a true disciple of Chief Awolowo. This is hardly surprising. Chief Akande adored the late Chief Awolowo, reading all his books and interventions on public affairs. Writing on Page 17 of his 2021 book ‘My Participations,’ Baba Akande stated: “It was not surprising that as I was growing up and becoming more knowledgeable, I became totally indoctrinated and began to study Chief Awolowo and his Action Group. I read all his books and vowed to emulate him in self-discipline, fearlessness, dignity, courage and patriotism.”

Like Chief Awolowo, Baba Akande has devoted his public life to engendering a truly democratic, just and egalitarian society where all people are given the opportunity to attain a happy and prosperous life.

Just as Chief Awolowo did for him, Chief Akande has been a father figure and a mentor to younger politicians across the country particularly in the South-west. He is a consummate teacher, tolerant and cosmopolitan in outlook and an excellent human being. He is charitable and equally helpful to all who came in contact with him no matter their station in life.

Because of his characteristics as an exemplary leader and mentor, many call him Baba Awon Omo Ke ke ke, meaning the political father of the younger ones.

For me, Baba has been a close friend, ally and advisor through the years.

Perhaps, I would not be where I am today as President of this country without the help and support he has given. Many countless other people will also affirm that he has had the same positive effect in their lives as he has in mine.

On this special day that we celebrate his 85th birthday, I join his family, friends and other associates to congratulate and to commend him for his outstanding contributions to democratic governance and to the cause of progressive politics and governance in our country.

It is my prayer that God will grant Baba good health and he will continue to remain a fountain of wisdom in our midst.

Happy 85th birthday to Chief Akande.

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