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

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.


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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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