Nigeria: How SLA Akintola was assassinated
By Taiwo Oluwadare
By Taiwo Oluwadare
Abayomi Akintola, the son of former Premier of Western Region, Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola, has recounted how his father was murdered on January 15, 1966 during Nigeria's first military coup which resulted in the assassination of many leading politicians, mostly members of the Northern People's Congress (APC).
Chief Abayomi Akintola, a former finance minister and Nigeria's Ambassador to Hungary, gave the revelation at a press conference held in Ogbomoso, Oyo state, to unveil preparation for the 50th remembrance of the late Icon scheduled for January 14 and 15, 2016.
Reliving the horrible experience of his father's demise, Abayomi said: "I was at the premier lounge with my father but in different sections. Suddenly, I heard a phone rang around 2 and 3 pm and it was Mrs. Fani-Kayode. She started shouting on phone saying some strange people have kidnapped my husband, where is Baba (Chief Akintola). I went straight to my father's room, who came to pick the call and assured her that nothing would happen to her husband and she should keep calm.
"After speaking with her on phone, he called security people. As he dashed out to call security people, shooting ensued. This time, I was at my section and suddenly, a wardrobe blocked me, my younger sibling, wife and my son from going outside the room".
He continued: "The shooting ensued for about 2 hours. Later when Baba Akintola went out, the shooting subsided. But by the time we went out, we saw him in the pull of his own blood on the floor. We had no option than for my wife to cover him with her clothe.
"I was not a toddler and not that old when all these happened. I was there with my father when he was killed. I didn't know how to live my life afterward, but God kept me and my other siblings to survive the negative experience. I am grateful that I am also able to guide my siblings to become what we are today", he added.
Abayomi, whose father also rose to the position of Aare Ona Kakanfo XIII in Yorubaland before his demise, also mentioned how cordial the relationship between Akintola and Awolowo's family was. He said the two families were so close that the son of the late Obafemi Awolowo, Segun, also the late, became his best friend. He lamented that it was unfortunate that Segun died about 22 years old, though was survived by a younger Segun.
Narrating further, he said: "I went to England for a course. When I came back, I was informed that Olusegun Awolowo had died. For you to know how Olusegun and I were close, we used to spend our holidays together. His immediate younger sister, Mrs. Tola Oyediran, was also very friendly. She met her husband, Prof. Oyediran, in Dublin when she came to study.
"It was after his death that I was hospitalized for about nine months and doctors said they could not ascertain what was wrong with me. But today, we thank God. My illness started from the shock I got from Awolowo's son demise. We were like siamese twins; we went around together", Chief Abayomi recounted.
Asked why Akintolas were absent at the burial of the late Matriarch of Awolowo dynasty, Abayomi Akintola said: "May Mama Awolowo's soul rest in perfect peace. I had a medical problem during Mama Awolowo's burial. As a result, I went for a medical check up in England hoping to spend a week or 10 days but unfortunately, I started having memory problem which made me stay longer in the hospital. I sent a letter to the Awolowo's family telling why I wasn't around. I last visited Mama when Wole died."