Let me start this piece by doing a preface on the person of Professor Adeolu Akande.
Professor Akande has had very vast experience in public service before his appointment as the Chief or Staff, COS.
In actual fact, of all the 3 persons shortlisted and interviewed by Senator Abiola Ajimobi for that office in June 2011 which I was privy to witness, none of them could match the towering profile and public service experience of Professor Adeolu Akande.
In August 2011, shortly after we were sworn in as Commissioners, we followed the Governor to the South-West regional integration meeting at Ado-Ekiti. Professor Adeolu Akande, Dr. Festus Adedayo and my humble self attended the meeting along with our Governor and other South-West Governors, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State was also in attendance.
After the meeting, Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State told Senator Ajimobi, ” Egbon, you beat me to Deolu’s appointment, I wanted to have him as my COS” . Dr. Kayode Fayemi also said, “Ajiri,( Senator Amosun’s nickname), we were about to announce Deolu as our COS here in Ekiti when some of my aides drew my attention to his appointment by the OYSG”.
Senator Abiola Ajimobi replied them that,” So, you people want to snatch our son and prevent him from serving his dear State. No way and pls all of you you should no longer dream about it again.”
Believe me and I say this with all sense of responsibility, Prof. Adeolu Akande has a deep and thorough mastery of public service and public administration. His contributions to our government as COS were legendary and very impactful.
But he lost out to deft political schemings and manoeuvring.
I recall fondly when Dr. (now Prof) Adeolu Akande was schemed out as the Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee of Oyo State and the lot fell on me unsolicitedly. The job was very enormous and too daunting for me because of the very busy schedule of my own office.
And since the Governor will not take NO as an answer whenever he gave anybody any assignment , that HEK wanted from you is super delivery on that job.
Tactfully, I constituted a team led by Professor Oluyemisi Bamgbose( now SAN) but then the Dean of Faculty of Law, UI, Professor Olatunbosun( now the Dean), Dr. Michael Adeleke, Seun Abimbola Esq.( then NBA Chairman and later the Attorney General), T.M. Abdul-Ganiyu then of the Ministry of Justice( now a Judge) , Dr. Femi Ladapo(then also of the Ministry of Justice as the Secretary, but now with UNDOC) and some other notable academics and Bar men.
I unilaterally disbanded the original Committee constituted by the Gov who were all Cabinet members because I couldn’t afford to allow them to pull me down like they did to to the COS.
Professor Bamgbose and her team did excellent job as they dissected the 1999 constitution and suggested various landmark amendments.
On the eve of the presentation of the works to the National Assembly Committee in Lagos, I took the materials (6 volumes) to the Gov and he was very pleased and satisfied with the “great work that I did”.
Dr. Adeolu Akande as the COS was arround and he told the Governor that my Committee needed to do an executive summary of all the works to enable the National Assembly flow with our recommendations. The Governor asked me to go and do it immediately. I drew the Governor’s attention to the time and it was then 4.35pm. I confessed to him that there was ni way I could do any executive summary of 6volumes work at that hour and still travel to Lagos the following morning to submit and present the works at 10am.
Dr. Akande offered to assist me in doing the executive summary. Lo and Behold, by 9.55pm, he called me to come and append my signature to a neatly bound 48 page executive summary. I was astonished and confounded at the rate with which he delivered on that awesome executive summary.
Our reverred and respected Distinguished Senator Femi Lanlehin was in the National Assembly Committee that we presented the Oyo State Government recommendations to at that time.
I had told Mr. Debo Dikhrullah of OYOINSIGHT.COM this true life story before.
The purport of what I am trying to say that we have brilliant men and women in Oyo State that one is always at a loss why the State cannot allow her best men and women to lead us.
It is very sad and unfortunate that whenever Oyo State had the best match to play, we always parade and field our 2nd or 3rd rated team due to political manoeuvring and schemings. No state ever develop in that way. Let’s get it right in Oyo State in 2023
The great men and women who served our State on the Committee are –
Professor (Mrs) Oluyemisi Bamgbose, SAN is currently the Chairperson of the NBA Women Forum and the first woman in academic to become a SAN.
2.The Secretary, T. M. Abdul- Ganiyu was then the Director of Public Prosecutions in the Ministry of Justice, but now a Judge of the Customary Court of Appeal, Oyo State
Dr. Femi Ladapo, the Assistant Secretary was formerly of the Ministry but now works with UNDOC
Dr. Adeniyi Olatunbosun, then of OAU, Ile-Ife, but now the Dean if Laws at the University of Ibadan
Mr. J.O. Akintayo of the Faculty of Law, UI but now Dr. Akintayo and he is the current Chairman of the NBA, Ibadan Branch
Dr. K.O. Amusa is now a Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lagos
Dr. Michael Adeleke is of the Faculty of Law of OAU, Ile-Ife
Dr. Bolaji Omitola, now Professor Bolaji Omitola, a member of this group is a Professor of Political Science at UNIOSUN
Dr. Tunde Oni, now a Professor is of the Faculty of Law, Unilag
Oluseun Abimbola Esq., then the Chairman of the NBA, Ibadan Branch who later succeeded me at the Hon. Attorney-General & Commissioner for Justice, Oyo State ( He is also a product of Olujinmi & Akeredolu)
Ms. Aderonke Ige, Gender Advocate and Human Rights Activist is of the Justice, Peace and Development Commission(JPDC) of the Catholic Mission.
With those array of erudite and cerebral personalities, you will all agree with me that the end result couldn’t have been otherwise but a huge success and that was exactly what happened.
2 great lessons that I learnt from that assignment are-
(i) The courage to do what is right without minding whose ox is gored. I unilaterally disbanded the original committee set up by the Governor who were mainly cabinet members because I was convinced that they could never deliver but their appointments were just political.
(ii) Whenever we make merit as our guide and watchwords in whatever we do and do away with political expediency, we shall certainly record tremendous success.
(iii) The magnanimity of Professor Adeolu Akande who though was schemed out as the original Chairman of the Commission by some charlatans, but who placed and considered the overall interest of the state above personal interest.
(This piece is adapted from the original posts on Think Oyo.)