The executive governor of Oyo State Engr. Seyi Makinde has lost yet another close person very dear to him. His ‘political’ father, Chief T.A Akinyele died last week Monday (26th October,2020). He was aged 88. His death, however, came at a time when the governor is still mourning the passage of his late mother, Madam Abigail Makinde, who died on Thursday 15th October, 2020, at age 81.
They will both be missed by the governor. While Mama Abigail Makinde will be missed for her motherly roles, Pa Akinyele will also be missed as a father, mentor and guidance. Those who know will testify to the fact that Governor Makinde was very close to Pa Akinyele in his lifetime. He was not only Makinde’s ‘adopted’ father but also his political mentor and godfather.
Unknown to many, Late Pa Akinyele and Engr. Seyi Makinde are relatives. Apart from the fact that they are from the same village in Ibadan, Ajia, Seyi Makinde’s father and Akinyele are cousins. Hence they bonded so well and the fatherly role Pa Akinyele played in the life of Governor Seyi Makinde. In fact, Late Akinyele was said to be a great instrumental to Engr. Seyi Makinde’s success as a politician. As Makinde’s father took him to Baba for political mentoring. Little wonder Pa Akinyele, in an interview, in the inaugural magazine (Omituntun), described Makinde as an energetic, humble and consistently focused young man.
When asked how he took the news of Governor Makinde’s victory at the guber poll. The highly elated Pa Akinyele said, “I was in the United States of America when I heard. Naturally, I was happy, because for the first time, in my own judgement, people voted not on the basis of personality, what they have done and what they are capable of doing for the people.
“This young man is energetic, humble and consistently focused. He would remember that I am one of those who tried to persuade him to go through the Senate originally but he said ‘ah, Daddy, no. I will look like a harlot who will go for anything. I am focused on going to be the Governor’. So I started praying for him. I even wanted to blackmail him by saying you want to join a party that is said to be corrupt. He said ‘tell me, which party is not corrupt?’
Long before he became the candidate, he was already doing things for his school, Bishop Philips Academy, for churches, for mosques and for his village. As I said, he was nominated by his family. He built a gas turbine to provide electricity for the people in his community, he gave them a borehole, renovated his school, Bishop Philips Academy. If you recall, there was a flood disaster in Ibadan and he gave the people of Apete a bus because they were cut off because the bridge collapsed. Those are some of the several things he has done to help people. So, I saw that he is focused. People love him because they can see that he has ideas to help people. All I could do was to pray for him because I have only one vote.” Pa Akinyele didn’t stop there, he went further by explaining vividly on their relationship and how their paths crossed.
“We were born in the same village. You see, his family is Aigbofa family; the full meaning is Aigbofa La Nwo’ke, Ifakan o sinipara. It is a prominent family in Ajia. That is why they nominated him from the family to become a chief. He is a chief of Ajia and his father was my cousin. He was a good Christian; unfortunately, he is not with us anymore. May his soul rest in peace. Yes, I am his father. I am his godfather.”
The father was worried, naturally because he was not a politician. He was a businessman but a quiet one in the oil industry and a gentleman. He said ‘Daddy, oro omo yin o ye mi o’. I have seen a difference in his approach. It makes me happy that this election, they voted for him not minding his party, in my own judgment. And that is good because that is the stage we are in Nigeria.
I am not a saint; I have tried my hands in politics before. I tried during the gubernatorial election, the one that produced Omololu Olunloyo. I have worked with government at all levels; from being the Third Clerk in 1953 to being Head of the Civil Service in 1978, that is something. I have been Registrar, at the University of Ife before.
So God has been kind to me. You should not do the kind of politics that will make me run away from you, or make you run away from me. We will meet again. Something is bound to bring us together. So you see, in life, we are all interrelated. Take that into politics, it should not be a do or die. And thank God, he is not a do or die person, we thank God for that. That made the people to elect him.”
Late Chief Theophilus Adeleke Akinyele, OON, the Bobajiro of Ibadanland, was a business consultant and a retired civil servant. He served as Permanent Secretary in the Ministries of Agriculture and Finance of the old Western State of Nigeria. He was at a point a Registrar and Secretary to the Council of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife. He also served as Secretary to the Military Government and Head of the Civil Service of Oyo State. He was as well the former Director of Budget and Special Adviser on Budget Affairs to President Shehu Shagari from 1979-1983.
– Dare Adeniran