Tuesday, 8 November 2016

How Sade Adu’s father made me study economics against my dad’s wish — Prince Akin-Olugbade + Story of his life as 1st son of late Balogun of Owu Kingdom

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Prince Sunmade Akin-Olugbade

There is no how you will meet a distinguished personality like him and you won’t feel the influence of his great dad upon his life. He is an encyclopedia of the old and the new Nigeria. Omo-Oba Olusunmade Babajimi Akin-Olugbade is the scion of the late elder statesman and Egba nationalist Chief (Honorable) Ohu Babatunde Akin-Olugbade famously called ‘OB-Akin-Olugbade’ in his life time.
O.B. Akin-Olugbade was the leader of the opposition of the Federal House of Representatives in Nigeria during the first Republic. He was a conscientious politician and loyalist of the late sage, Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo and one of the backbone of the defunct Action Group.
Beyond that, O.B. Akin-Olugbade, a legal luminary was an irrepressible Owu and Egba patriot who drew the attention of people across the world with his legal expertise and philanthropic gesture which trickled down to many of his kinsmen. In his album, OCD-418, Juju Music legend turned Evangelist, Commander Ebenezer Obey (MFR) had dedicated a well composed number to the late Balogun of Owu Kingdom and Ekerin of Egba land. Obey in that album titled ‘Oluwa Ni Oluso Agutan mi’ described the legendary O.B. Akin-Olugbade as an epitome of handwork and a symbol of philanthropy.
 In this rare encounter with his first son, Prince Babajimi Akin-Olugbade, who is the present head (Dawodu) of the entire Akin-Olugbade family of Egba land, your soar away Africa’s number 1 Celebrity encounter blog, Asabeafrika got many facts that defined Nigeria as a great and better country in the past; the story of a dynasty that reigned in a great era and still upholding her culture of greatness; the story of the dynasty of O.B. Akin-Olugbade.

Omo-Oba Babajimi Akin-Olugbade the elder brother to billionaire lawyer/business magnate and Aare Ona Kakanfo of Owu kingdom, Prince Bolu Akin-Olugbade share the story of his life with Asabeafrika
Enjoy the excerpts
The Dawodu of the Akin-Olugbade family of Abeokuta meets the GDA
We sincerely thank you for giving us an audience despite your very busy schedule. As the scion of the elder statesman and Owu patriot, Chief (Honorable) Ohu Babatunde (OB) Akin-Olugbade, we feel very privileged having this rare encounter with you. Who is Prince Olusunmade Babajimi Akin-Olugbade?
I am Omo Oba Olusunmade Akin-Olugbade. Well, I happen to be first son of the late Chief and I am the chairman of the group of companies (OBA Group of company). I was born in Lagos here and I attended St. Jude’s Primary School in Ebute Meta. When we were in Ibadan I attended ICT Practical school, I came back to St. Jude’s and from there went to Ibadan Grammar School. I entered Ibadan Grammar School in 1962; I finished there and did my A-levels at King’s college in Lagos. I entered University of Ife in September 1968. I was very active in school; we published a student newspaper at the time called The Periscope at the University of Ife. I was the Editor-in-Chief. I played soccer for my hall, Fajuyi Hall. In 1970, I was elected the president of the Student Union Government of the University of Ife as we called the institution then.
Omo-Oba Sunmade Akin-Olugbade talks on life and his father
The Adepetu Crisis of 1971….
“In February of 1971 was when we had the Adepeju crisis and I was quite involved in that because UI (university of Ife) was already closed down and of course we organized a representative committee for the student; that was how we got involved with Late Kanmi Ishola Osobu and late Gani Fawehinmi who represented the students at the time. I was in close touch with them and you will recall that was what led to the creation of the National Youth Service Corps Scheme; we were very much involved in that (Crisis) because the Government had a work shop and they sought our views on the issue. Of course, we wanted six months military training which they declined. So, when the youth corps (NYSC) started in 1973, I was in the very first group. I graduated in Economics from Ife, served in the youth corps, the very first group in 1973. I served in the then East Central State which is now about five states of Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo states. But it was called East Central States at the time under Late Aije Ukpabi Asika.
Sade Adu
The Director of the youth corps then was Chief Osita Okeke, who himself, was a student leader at the University of Ibadan. So, we had a very close relationship with him. In fact, we were the ones that helped to really calm the fears of the Ibos after the Civil War (on the project of Rebuilt, Rehabilitation and Reintegration), because when the saw students from the south, mixing with them, there was a reassurance that it was really genuine. And we took part in all the activities there (NYSC) we built a market in Umuna in Orlu division (Presently in Imo state). I played cricket for the state during the national sports festival; I played cricket for the state and I also took part in the drama play called Iyuwa which had something to do with Ogbanje—Abiku. I acted opposite Flossy Nwakobi and late Ezim Okeke. I think it was Mama, Mrs. Okaro that produced the play; she was a very active lady at the time. And my assignment was at the Ministry of Economic Development in Enugu, I stayed in New Haven, I had a great time there. I travelled all over the East Central states at the time. After that I went abroad to do my post graduate studies. I got my MBA from the University of San Diego, in California. San Diego is one of the most beautiful cities in the world; you need to visit the place. While doing my PGD, I became the treasurer of the MBA society and I was the first black to get an MBA degree from that university. It is mostly a parochial white university, when we first started; we had a Ghanaian, a black American and me, a Nigerian. But I was the only one that graduated at that material time. Maybe after me, there would have been other black who graduated after me. I graduated in 1977. May, 1977 was when I graduated in the MBA program”.
The Highly Revered Omo-Oba Sunmade Akin-Olugbade with the GDA inside his Lagos office
Omo-Oba Sunmade Akin-Olugbade in a rare pose for the Asabeafrika
How King’s College & Others shaped my world view…
You attended three famous schools in Nigeria in your younger years; that is Ibadan Grammar School, King’s College, and University of Ife. How would you say the three institutions shaped your views about life?
Well, University of Ife actually started as a state university. By 1962, it became a federal university by an act of parliament. The late Mr. H. B. Somade was the first chairman of council; and they were the ones that really started University of Ife; first at Ibadan campus before they moved to Ife. And late Papa, Sir Adesoji Aderemi  (Ooni of Ife) endorsed the creation of Uni-Ife in Ile-Ife. At the time I got admitted in 1968, it was the most beautiful university campus in Africa. I don’t know if it still has that status today, by the time I got there, Chief Titi Solaru was the chairman of council and late Papa Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo was the chancellor. That influenced me in so many ways and by the time I was in Ibadan Grammar School, Papa Alayande was the principal and he was the chaplain of the Action Group. You see that I have always been involved in the political renaissance. So, I am not new to the whole process of liberty for the people. I spent only a year at King’s College but I made some very good friends there. I remember Dr. Rodney Adeniyi Jones, Architect Folahan Olumide, and Group Captain Ben late Bayo Manuel. I also met people like Yemi Adefulu, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi (Tanus Communications) they were in upper six then when I was doing my program. Some of my own class mates are Dr. Abayomi Ayesimoju who is the head of the Grail Movement now; Dr. Abayomi Ayesimoju and I were class mates and Dr. Dosekun too; Dr. Folahan Olumide. Chief Audu Ogbe was my class mate at King’s College. Even people like Etisalat’s Keem Bello Osagie were also in King’s College at the time, they were in form one or form two when I was there. The same thing with Bayo Ogunlesi, they were all great young men coming up at the time. So, this whole experience dotted a lot on my rational perception and sense of leadership
Omo-Oba Sunmade Akin-Olugbade opens up to Asabeafrika
How Shade Adu’s dad made me study Economics…
In your days fathers especially great fathers like yours often induce their wards to study their discipline in order to naturally inherit their legacies. Why did you choose to study economics instead of your father’s law? Did he make any attempt to change your opinion?
Well, actually like I said at the venue of my father’s centenary celebrations and book launch, I was not the first born. I was the only one that succeeded among his first four children. I had an older sister. But they suffered from sickle cell anemia which was very rampant at the time. I am in my 60s; Bolu (Prince Bolu Akin-Olugbade, his famous brother who is now the Are-Ona Kakanfo of Owu Kingdom) for instance is in his 50s. Bolu did not meet me in King’s College; I had left King’s College before he started King’s College. If you read my welcome address at the book launch, it will give you the picture. But when I was in King’s College, I was planning to become a Doctor because that was my mother’s wish. So, I did Physics, Chemistry and Zoology. But by the time we finished the first year, I had made up my mind that I was not interested in medicine. But I didn’t want to cause a rift in the family because my mother will say probably I changed my mind because of my father; that is if I went to study law. So, it was Mr. Bisi Adu that is Sade Adu’s father (Sade Adu is the famous British Singer and Order of British Empire Honoree). He was a lecturer at UNILAG then. He came to see my father over something and he met us arguing, as I always did with my old man because like you said, he actually wanted me to study law. So, he (Mr. Bisi Adu) came in that day and said ‘ah, ah, I think he will be a very good economist’. He offered to coach me, you see? So, I started going to Mr. Bisi Adu and I got the book, Paul Samuelson on Economist and some other literatures on economics. I went into the prelim in 1968 to read economics in Ife. So, that was how I came from physic, chemistry, zoology at King’s college to Economics at the University of Ife in September 1968.
The Omo-Oba making a point to Asabeafrika
From science to economics, how easy was it for you to change over?
Actually, I wasn’t very good in mathematics; although I did Math for O-Levels. But, yes, I think I was above average in chemistry, zoo and physics. But it was actually Mr. Adu and Mr. Onyenwa, he had an insurance company and shared office with my father’s chambers; I was shuttling between his place in Suru-Lere and University of Lagos. They were coaching me in economics and at the same time I was working. I was working at M-DE Bank Transports Company which later became Oba Transport Company. I was working there and I was also studying economics. So, with the encouragement from Mr. Bisi Adu and others, I had made up my mind that I have forgotten medicine and of course, law was off the chart.
His late Enigmatic Dad, Honorable (Chief) Ohu Babatunde Akin-Olugbade the 1st Balogun of Owu & Ekerin of Egba land
How did dad take your decision to study economics?
 You see, dad never forced anybody. Yes, he wanted his children, especially his sons to study law, but like I said after Mr. Bisi Adu intervened, it was just a fortuitous encounter because I didn’t know him but he had come to see my father for one reason or the other and he said ‘oh, this guy can be better in this discipline’ because he was an economist lecturer at the University of Lagos, and he started coaching me, he recommended some books and that was how I developed interest.
The Omo-Oba Sunmade Babajimi Akin-Olugbade stressing a point to Asabeafrika
With benefit of hindsight, would you say it was a good decision that you studied economics instead of medicine or law?
Yes, because I red economics which opened my world view and also gave me an insight into the Nigerian economy because at Ife, we were studying the development plan of the Federal Government and I had very great economic teachers like the late Professor Sam Auko, who encouraged me because in tutorials, we would analyze the development plans, we would dissect everything, it inculcated in me the desire to know more about the Nigerian economy and the Nigerian society. I think at that time, we had a crop of lecturers like Dr. Osoba, we had people like late Dr. Adegite, they were young lecturers and late Mr. Adegbonmire who passed away recently; they were all at Ife at the time and they took an interest in a group of young guys who were fresh in Ife then. At weekends, they will ask us to present position papers or they will present position papers and ask us to critic and at same time they were grooming us to take very active interest in the society. Usually, we would meet in one of the lecturers’ room, there will be biscuit and drinks and then you start talking. In fact, those made me develop an interest in student politics.
Omo-Oba Babajimi Akin-Olugbade in the session with GDA
As an economist in the making at the time, was your interest tilted towards communist economy or the capitalist economy?
By the time I was in the university, most developing countries were non-aligned. This means they received help from wherever because they called us third world countries then. Nobody uses that term again but it was very common then. And don’t forget Russia gave many of our students’ scholarships; there are so many Nigerian students that were trained in the old Soviet Union in the 60s and early 70s. But the style of our government was to have a peculiar plan for our economy that was why we were having those development plans in school. And of course we had gurus like late Professor Aboyade and Professor Adedeji; Professor Okigbo and Professor Sam Aluko. Of course those were the guys that would tell the government to put up these plans, and like I told you, we would go ahead and dissect every area of the plan. I thought if we had followed those plans, really, Nigeria would have been a lot better off because this was during the Gowon administration and it was shortly after the civil war. So, they had all these laudable plans but subsequent administrations came and bastardized everything.
The Omo-Oba reminiscent on the old good days of Nigeria
The Quality of Students & Lecturers was different in our time…
How would you describe the student union leader of SUG in your own time with what obtains now?
For one, at the time when I went to university, there were only four functional universities in Nigeria.  University of Lagos (UNILAG), University of Ibadan (UI), University of Ife(OAU) and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU—Zaria) because University of Nigeria, Nsukka was not functional because of the civil war. Although Nsukka had resumed in 1968, and just when I was about leaving, University of Benin came on board. But when you have only four universities in the country, you will know that it is the best of the best that will be admitted. So, the quality of the students was high even though some of the students were indigent but you know that the quality was different. That is number one; secondly, the quality of the lecturers and the professors too, was very high caliber. They were highly respected in their individual fields and not only within the university community, but within the society as a whole. These were highly respected men. I mean, my Vice Chancellor, Professor Oluwasanmi, the Deputy Vice Chancellor, late Professor (Babs) Fafunwa, late Professor Sodipo who took me in Philosophy 101 and Professor Igun in Sociology and Demography, then you had Professor Akinjogbin in History; these were highly respected lecturers and professors. So, what I am trying to tell you is that we are not comparing apples to Mangoes; the milieu was totally different in terms of quality of the students, in terms of the quality of the lecturers and even the administration. I think Mr. Burham was the bursar when I was there and people like Chief Alex Olu Ajayi came in, a man that had already made a name for himself at WAEC. And the culture was the same in virtually all the universities across the country. This was the time of late Awojobi in UNILAG, Professor Aboyade and Professor Adeoye Lambo in UI. And it was the same thing in the North. When I was the President of the SUG in Ife, the former minister of defense,  Dr. Haliru Bello was at ABU Zaria; we had people like Aliyu Umar while Tom Ikimi was an architect in ABU Zaria at the time. And we had the famous Kolade Oshinowo the artist. We were all in the university at the same time, they were in the north then but we knew ourselves because there were only four universities in Nigeria. Of course you have to include Yaba College of Tech in Lagos but it didn’t have a university status at the time but it had famous people as well.
A Portrait of the Omo-Oba Akin-Olugbade inside his Ilupeju, Lagos office
Omo-Oba Sunmade Akin-Olugbade, the Dawodu of the Akin-Olugbade family of Egba land
The Prince thinks before he answered a question
Prince Sunmade Akin-Olugbade explaining a point to Asabeafrika
One-on-One with Prince Sunmade Akin-Olugbade

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