Iconic Politician – The Sun Nigeria
Life Achievement Award
Former Governor of Osun State
By Femi Adeoti
Chef Adebisi Abdulkareem Bamidele Akande’s life is one of service. He was literally conscripted into politics in 1971 when the military government appointed him as a member of the Ila local government management committee. In 1976, he was elected unopposed as a councilor for Isedo Ward 1 on the Ila Local Government Council. He was in the Constituent Assembly, which drafted the 1979 Nigerian Constitution. He represented the Ila/Odo-Otin Local Government Areas.
Since his “reluctant” foray in local politics 41 years ago, Akande worked his way up to the national level. Born January 16, 1939 in Ila-Orangun, in what is now Osun State, Akande, early in his life, showed talent as a grassroots mobilizer. He actively participated in municipal union activities. Maybe that made him dear to late Chief Bola Ige.
In 1979, Akande left BP on furlough and served as Secretary to the former Oyo State Government in Ige’s Cabinet on the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) platform. In November 1982, he became Ige’s deputy.
After the capture by the army power on December 31, 1983, Akande was arrested along with Ige. He was jailed for 42 years by Muhammadu Buhari’s military junta for what it described as “a conspiracy to illegally enrich the Unity Party of Nigeria”. He regained his freedom in 1986.
Akande became Governor of Osun State between 1999 and 2003 on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). His tenure was notable due to the unprecedented development of infrastructure in the state.
In December 2003, he accepted to be national president of AD. In 2010, he was elected National Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). He was the founding national president of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Akande has indeed paid his dues. He climbed to the pinnacle of his political career, rising from local champion to former statesman. The Sun Lifetime Achievement Award suits him.