43 UNTOLD FACTS ABOUT SAMUEL LADOKE AKINTOLA (SLA)
History is written only by the survivors, not by the dead, and Just like Chinua Achebe said; “until lions have their own historians, history of the hunting written by the children of hunters will always glorify the hunters”
If Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) was given long life as his contemporaries and his life was not prematurely terminated and survived the first Nigeria Military coup, it is most likely the story might not be as some of his detractors today portray him or even want to obliterate his achievements from the annals of Nigeria political history.
- Born on Sunday, 10 July, 1910, between 1954 – 1959, Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) became Deputy Premier and Premier of Western Region of Nigeria in the immediate post-independence era (1960 – January, 1966).
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) was regarded as Sir, Chief, Aare/Kakanfo, Honourable, Lawyer and Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON)
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) was the 13th Aare Ona Kakanfo (The Generalissimo or Military Field Marshal) of Yorubaland without fighting any war – the first to hold the title in the 20th Century.
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) was made Asipa of Ogbomoso by Oba Olatunji Alao Eleepo II (who reigned 1952 – 1966) in 1954.
As the leader of the opposition, he instructed all delegates to the constitutional conference of 1957 to secure the grant of self-government to the federation of Nigeria in 1959. Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) was among the leading torch bearers’ nationalist and was equally among the front-liners who fought for the independence of Nigeria and was awarded the prestigious national award of Grand Commander of the Order of Niger (GCON).
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) was a preacher of the gospel and he received his training from Baptist College, Iwo and Baptist Seminary, Ogbomoso (Now Bowen University, Iwo and Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomoso, respectively).
As a journalist, Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) was behind the expulsion of a white man who called a Nigerian a monkey. As a parliamentarian, he moved independence motion.
Samuel Ladoke Akintola’s son (the youngest child), Tokunbo Akintola, was the first black boy at Eton College in London.
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) saw to the establishment of Islamic Studies in the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
In 1946, Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) proceeded to England on Scholarship award by British Council to study Diploma in Administration and Journalism at Barnel House, Oxford in Great Britain.
In 1947, Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) enrolled at the Inns of Court in London and was called to the English Bar (B.L.) in 1949.
Before 1950 when Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) finished his studies, he had finished reading the complete works of Shakespeare and some other well-known poets.
In March 1950, Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) arrived Nigeria as qualified Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) had English and Yoruba Proficiency and oratory prowess which till today has not been matched by any Nigerian.
Samuel Ladoke Akintola’s Oratory skill in English and proficiency of Yorùbá mastery was unparalleled and became “envoy-extraordinary” of the Action Group.
The abbreviation S.L.A. was given when he became the Editor of Daily Service Newspapers and by his admirers when he was the secretary of Nigeria’s first-ever political association, the Nigerian Youth Movement.
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) was a first rank and forthright journalist who used his pen to arouse public awareness and interest on diverse issues and mobilized Nigerians for the struggle for national independence.
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) became the first legal adviser for the Action Group who combined the use of his pen and speech to promote and defend his personal and political party’s fortune.
Akintola was never a pupil to Awolowo, they were both matured men with legal and political experience when they formed Action Group in 1950, different ideas culminated and Awolowo was chosen as the leader of AG while Akintola replaced Bode Thomas as the Deputy leader of AG after his death in 1953.
One of the many things that made Ladoke Akintola and Obafemi Awolowo fall apart was that Obafemi Awolowo requested Ladoke Akintola to put government funds in a private account. Particularly a National Investment Property Company (NIPC) which Akintola said was of no positive impact to the economy of the western region.
Combination of Awolowo management abilities and Akintola’s oratorical skill made the Action Group the best and well-organized political party in Nigeria at the independence of 1960. Without Akintola there was no Awolowo.
In Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) lime light days, no political party rally would be complete without Ladoke Akintola making his last remark to disperse the gathering.
Akintola Taku (Akintola became adamant) was given to him when he stood his ground when the situation called for it. Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) insisted that cocoa house, Investment House, Lapal House, Western House and the Independent Building not be called Dideolu Investment.
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) insisted that the defunct Western Region structures and others built with proceeds from the Cocoa Industry and therefore cannot be allotted to Awolowo’s Family.
The type of coalition Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) attempted with a sharp intelligence that seemed “selling Yoruba to the Hausa” is what Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu did and still doing for political Forces. What Ladoke Akintola fought for and kept emphasizing on remains Nigeria’s problems today.
In 1962 when the feud between Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola and Chief Obafemi Awolowo was at its peak, Chief Obafemi Awolowo was the founder of the Nigerian Tribune, a newspaper he used in fighting his political war with Samuel Ladoke Akintola, while Akintola didn’t have a single media outlet in his corner. The newspapers then sided with Chief Obafemi Awolowo and painted SLA as a traitor and “power-hungry”
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) fought for the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) to be sited in Ile-Ife because it is believed to be the source of humanity by the Yorubas; the Yoruba people’s “holy land”. As the premier of the western region, he inaugurated the governing council where he was the first chancellor of the University.
Under Sir John Macpherson, Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) became the first Federal (Centre) Minister of Labour, where he then encouraged a close cooperation between management and labour in 1953.
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) was the first Federal (Centre) Minister of Health and Social Welfare, who initiated the building and opening of the first Teaching University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria with full facilities to meet the world’s standard in 1954.
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) was the first Federal (Centre) Minister of Communication and Aviation.
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) is one of the main architects of Nigeria Freedom in 1960. As the opposition leader (in the Federal Parliament) elected from Osun division into the House of Representative, he instructed all delegates to the constitutional conference of 1957 to secure the grant of self-government to the federation of Nigeria in 1959.
Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) was a linguist and a detribalized, great Nigeria, who spoke English, Hausa, Nupe and his Native Yorùbá Language fluently and eloquently without arrogance.
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) together with Late Professor Nathaniel Durojaye Oyerinde was the force behind the establishment of Ogbomoso Girls High School.
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) single-handedly provided water and electricity for the upkeep of Ogbomoso Grammar School and Ogbomoso High School. He built an Assembly hall for Ogbomoso Girl’s High School.
During the mass intra city road network carried out between 1953 and 1957 through communal effort initiated by Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA), parts of his father’s house at Laka/Jagun was first demolished to give way for the road construction.
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) was nicknamed Baba Lamilami because of his hard work to make free and safe water available for all households in his hometown.
In his hometown, Ògbómòsó, the Rediffusion radio service of 1955 was installed at Okelerin Junction of the town. Similarly, the new General Hospital came into being in 1957.
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) made sure new electricity was installed in Ògbómòsó in 1961 and a new town hall built during his period is still standing till date as a monumental edifice now called Soun Ogunlola hall, and a new Ògbómòsó waterworks Dam on (Oba River) was put to use in 1964.
Having heard of the coup, Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) went to brief Sardauna of Sokoto (Premier of Northern Nigeria) and the former having briefed Tafawa Balewa, the then Prime Minister of Nigeria, who ignored it with a wave of the hand by saying it was a mere rumour. It was shortly thereafter the said coup was executed and the three were killed.
Though Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) was killed in the hallway of his official residence as Premier of the Western Region, true to his military post of Aare Ona Kakanfo, he had a fierce battle with his killers and witnesses said the kakanfo was invincible. His killers decided to start killing his aids, workers and threatened to kill his family if he keeps giving them a tough time and to show the world of his selflessness even though he could defeat them. To save those around him, the Kakanfo faced his killers like the brave Spartan that he was.
The then Commissioner of Police, Chief Odofin Bello instructed his deputy, Olufenwa to get a load of mobile police unit ready to accompany the late body of Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, SLA prepared at Adeoye Hospital to Ogbomoso his home town for the final journey. His body conveyed to Ògbómòsó by S. Ade Ojo, Mr (Later Chief) Lekan Salami, Mr. Agboola Ajao and his younger brother Chief Adigun Akintola at 3 a.m of January 23, 1966, and got to Ògbómòsó at about 5 a.m.
In Ògbómòsó, others who saw and witnessed the final burial were Reverend S.A. Ige, Chief J. Ola Adigun, Chief Ogunniyi and Onpetu Ijeru, Oba Oladeji Atoyebi as there was no Soun in the throne, and by 6:30 a.m the burial was completed before news filtered around the town of the final rites. May His Soul Rest in Peace!
Samuel Ladoke Akintola (SLA) was survived by his wife Chief Faderera Akintola (now late), his children Chief Abayomi Akintola, Dr. Abimbola Akintola (a medical doctor), and Mr Ladipo Akintola an accountant of note and an accomplished author who died a few years back. Although Chief Ladoke Akintola gave birth to five children, the three mentioned above survived him. Omodele Akintola, the first child of the family, died in 1965, Tokunbo died in 1973, while Oladipupo Akintola also died in 2006.
In an interview with The Punch newspaper on 30th November 2013, Dr Omololu Olunloyo, a great nationalist, a two-time former Commissioner of Education of the old Western Region, a former Governor of Oyo state, one of our few remaining elder statesmen and a man that played a prominent role in the politics of both the First and Second republics said the following-
“Chief S.L. Akintola was the supreme leader. Chief Obafemi Awolowo left (the Premiership of the Western Region) of his own volition without advice to contest the federal election. In the federal election, he contested but he had no alliances. Stubborn, aggressive, very hardworking, visionary leader that Awolowo was, he never understood real politics at any time. In real politics you have to look at the figures, you have to have allies- there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies. You must have some allies. Nigeria is too fragmented for you not to have allies. If you are counting in the presence of someone with nine fingers, you don’t count in the person’s presence and say ‘so you have nine fingers’. We had a brilliant man called S.L. Akintola who understood real politics. Awolowo believed that book knowledge was so important but he (Akintola) knew better. A situation arose- Awolowo wanted to ally with the east and Akintola wanted to align with the north. So there was a crisis”.
1. UCH Ibadan Website; https://uch-ibadan.org.ng
3. Media Reports Projects, Chief The Honourable S.L Akintola GCON, Premier Western Nigeria (1960-1966) selected speeches, “Let God, History and Posterity Judge” Edited by Yemi Adedokun
4. We Should be Kind to History, Samuel Ladoke Akintola Betrayed Nobody written by By Ogunwoye Gbemiga Samson published on National Insight
5. “Ògbómòsó in the Early Times Modern Era and in Today’s Contemporary World” Written by Chief Oyebisi Okewuyi (Page 99-103) Published by Johnny Printing Works
6. A discussion with Pa Rev. Ogunleye on December 2019
Copyright © 2019 by My Woven Words: No part of this published blogpost and all of its contents may be reproduced, on another platform or webpage without prior permission from My Woven Words except in the case of brief quotations cited to reference the source of the blogpost and all its content and certain other uses permitted by copyright law.