Tuesday 19 April 2022



Few days ago, when Professor Yemi Osinbajo made his presidential ambition known publicly, some people began to call him names. The worst of it all was comparing him with Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, a political associate of Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo. They claimed Osinbajo betrayed his political godfather just as Akintola betrayed his boss, Awolowo. I have been hearing this claim since I grew up to understand issues of life. However, as I grew up to study in the area of history, my curiosity pushed me to research into the lives of the two great men involved, Akintola and Awolowo. For the purpose of clarity on the issue of betrayal between the two, I will present to you my findings.

How They Met

Akintola started his career as a teacher in a Baptist School. He left the School in order not to become a betrayer. How? He was the one who spearheaded a protest against the poor treatment of the Nigerian Tutors who were in the school. The Whites could not swallow such "insolence", so they dismissed the Tutors involved but retained Akintola who himself was at the center of the issue. They did that because he was brilliant and influential among the parents. Moreover, there was no replacement for the subject he was taking. They increased his salary and emoluments. BUT HE RESIGNED immediately in order to stand with his friends who were dismissed. That was the beginning of his freedom fighting.

He then left the School for an offer with a Newspaper House. He began to use the opportunity he got there to voice out his opinions on Nigeria Independence. He was gaining more fame in his new job. He then went for further studies abroad knowing fully well that he would not be able to fight the Colonial Masters unless he studied well. He became a lawyer. It was his boldness and prowess in journalism that endeared him to Awolowo. They both became freedom fighters and they brought several like-minded people together to form a civil organization for the Yorubas. Later, as a requirement for gaining Independence, political parties must be formed. As at that time, people like Nnamdi Azikiwe and others from the East were also active in fighting for Independence. Only the Northerners were not ready for the Independence. So, Akintola, Awolowo, and other well meaning Yorubas formed a political party. It was Akintola who was saddled with the responsibility of writing the Constitution for the party while Awolowo was made the party leader.

The Real Issue

Let me spare some political stories of the competency of both eminent leaders. Awolowo became the Western Premier but the death of his deputy brought Akintola to that office. Later, Awolowo was aspiring to become the Head of the Central Government. Due to some laxities, he lost but he needed to stay in Lagos, the then seat of power to form opposition government. Akintola had earlier being handed over to as the Western Premier. He was working assiduously for the betterment of the Westerners. PROBLEM BEGAN when he discovered some funds were not remitted to the purse of the Western Government. He went ahead to block them. He discovered some Party members were collecting loans from the Government without repayment. He stopped that as well. HE NEVER KNEW that the said tax on beverages was being paid directly to the account of the wife of his predecessor. When Awolowo came back from Lagos to Ibadan, he summoned Akintola three times in a night and he went the three times. Awolowo was furious that Akintola blocked the payment of the tax on beverages to Mama's account (Awolowo's wife). He was also furious that Akintola blocked the loans being taken by the party loyalists but were never paid. When Akintola complained that they were not paying back the loans, Awolowo said that is the benefit they get as party loyalists. Akintola then said Awolowo as an elder should have told him the details of those things earlier being his former deputy. Awolowo commanded that he should go and restore those benefits. Akintola simply replied that such action would lead to paucity of funds on the side of the Government. AWOLOWO ASKED HIM TO RESIGN with immediate effect. In essence, AWOLOWO WANTED TO BE IN CONTROL OF THE WESTERN GOVERNMENT even though he has ceased being the Premier. The prominent Yoruba Kings held a meeting with them to settle the issue. They asked Akintola to prostrate and begged Awolowo. He did, but Awolowo insisted he must vacate the Premier Seat, and walked out on the prominent Yoruba Kings. That was when Akintola rose to say would Awolowo turn himself to God. The Kings were unhappy with the situation as they left. That was the beginning of the political problem in the Western Region even till now.

If I may ask  WHERE IS THE BETRAYAL BEING TALKED ABOUT? WHO IS THE BETRAYER? If you call Akintola a betrayer, then HE BETRAYED CORRUPTION. He fought for the Masses. He would not support public funds to be diverted. IS HE A BETRAYER?


I checked my facts with many sources both written documents and oral narrations before I wrote. The sources are mostly from outside Ogbomosho, the Hometown of Akintola. If you know A VERIFIED contrary opinion, please I am open to further learning. I wrote this to clear the air on the wrong impression being carried around. Make your comments meaningfully and in a civilized manner. Thank so much.

By Victor Ogundipe, PhD

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