THE MAN WHOSE CHARACTER AND INTEGRITY BECAME THE POLITICAL CAPITAL AND COLLATERAL FOR A STRUGGLE – The Oasis in the Desert.
Everytime I see Baba Akande these days, I am reminded of the Iroko tree in the Forest, and the Oasis in the Desert.
Baba Akande also well known as” Baba awa omo Ke ke ke”i.e [ the father of children” is a man in his own class among human beings and dare I say among political class, though may not be physically tall, but in character, he towers dizzyingly over almost all the modern day politicians.
Baba is a sharp cut and divide , spartan and austere in nature compared to many in the political class today, clearly a distinctive and distinguished representation of the old stock, principled, bold , unwavering, unshaken and unruffled by situations and circumstances. A principled fighter backed by conviction.
I have mental recollections of Baba Akande as a young boy from the days of my budding interest in political affairs, when politics was driven by purity of intentions and purpose as exemplified by the likes of Papa Obafemi Awolowo, Chief Ajibola Ige , Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin, Dr Ambrose Ali, all of them were governors of the Unity Party of Nigeria.
Back then these calibre of politicians lived by the unwritten rule of putting the people first, to be obedient if not subservient to the code of conduct that is steeply rooted in a life of modesty and moderation not fanfare and garulity of modern day emperors that some personalities in power now exemplify. That was not what the likes of Baba Akande exemplified while in power.
Indeed they abhorred ostentation and lousy use and display of power. They earned their veneration because the power they wielded was real people driven not imposed, snatched or bought!
In those good old days [ shamefully enough that we refer to those days most affectionately and nostalgically] because of the abuses of today, since today that ordinarily by progression should be better is not, but because power in the hands of those without depth of reason, care and concern has re-interpreted today’s politics and power in many ways that will make the likes of Baba Akande cringe and break out in goose bumps.
It was a typical Baba Akande who in His spartan nature and view of life and subscriber to a life of accountability that would rather choose to be impeached than to “settle” lawmakers to pass budget .. that can only be a Baba Akande.
Only a Baba Akande would leave government and still remain very modest without illicitly acquired possessions, acquired at the expense of the people’s well being but holding aloft the banner of good name, sterling public service record and profile of sparkling accountability and probity.
When will we have more Abdulkareem Adebisi Akandes ?
The stock is greatly depleted and their memories of unblemished public service are fast receding,and fading into distant horizon, made worse because we are a nation of fleeting emphasis and values.
Growing up much later, I recall clearly the roles played by this ageing man ,physically , but whose convictions have also being strengthened by the age and as the years went by.
Baba Akande was like the spinal chord that strengthened the opposition in the days of our struggles, a contented man not only in terms of material worth but in terms of political adventure.
Left to Baba Akande , the politics of the South west most likely would have remained politics of the South west, in literal sense because Baba Akande is not that politically adventurous, rather would like to prevent Ideological stain and contamination, he believes that undue alliances could come with contagious realities.
Baba Akande believes that undue alliances would imply a compromise of ideals and ideology that he has subscribed to over the years , so he was ever cautious , but his implicit trust and believe in a younger more politically adventurous, very daring political maestro who also has the means convinced Baba Akande to allow the expansionist vision , driven by no other than the JagabanBorgu, the Asiwaju of Lagos, now literally Asiwaju of Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCON.
This is the synoptic trajectory from the fall of Alliance for Democracy controlled states, where all the South west states were lost to the People’s Democratic Party , then portrayed and treated as a party of vermins and undying voracious if not rapacious liberals if not jackals. The attitude of the Alliance for Democracy then was isolationist and puritanical.
So after the reality of the loss of States in the South west by the rage of the tiger, the PDP, driven by President Obasanjo, hit home, it took the resilience of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, today’s President to start the fight-back, it was war like! Not a piece of cheese cake,it was bloody and bloodied, limbs and lives was lost. Thank God some of us are alive to tell the story , but with deference to all the fallen heroes of those days of struggle.
We soldiered on because it was like movement, the first goal was to get back the states of the South west away from “ultra conservatives party” [PDP] as it was so portrayed then, back to the camp and safe embrace of the ” ultra progressives” this was the political Catholicsm diet that some of us the younger elements were fed and raised on through our chequered political trajectory from AD to AC to ACN and today’s APC!
One of the strongest human fortress and premium value collateral for the struggle in those days was Baba Bisi Akande, whose towering moral standards and reputation became our banner to push our Ideological bent, slant and posturing.
Baba Akande was the National Party Chairman from AC to APC ! He was the leader that we had as the umbrella to push hard . His moral standing and standards kept our struggles well defined and real.
Today, has Baba Akande’s fears of compromise of our political Ideological standard not been compromised and diluted ? Obviously the answer is Yes, the purity of our ideology obviously stained and contaminated, because today nobody knows the difference seemingly so anymore, even some of our taskmasters in Egypt have become our Lords in Cannan! Without let , recourse or circumspection. Because as the Yorubas will say, “Iru ti dapo mo Sapati”
But did the political foray eventually become a success, Yes to the extent that today a Bola Ahmed Tinubu is now the President of Nigeria, which was almost thought to be an impossibility looking at the realities of those times.
The very high premium that is the worth and value placed on the moral and integrity quotient of Baba Bisi Akande cannot be over emphasised in the journey of the “Progressives ” [if that Ideological corner still exists in our political space today].
The joy of today is that Baba Akande’s involvement in the struggles to this day is very gratifying and moreso because he is still alive and well, with his moral and integrity profile still soaring while he is still a very towering and relevant figure in the journey for national redefinition.
To know more about the man Baba Akande, it will be nice to real his autobiography to see what this man represents, his modest journey through life.
It is therefore with profound reverence that I join millions of “Awa omo ke ke ke” to wish Our Baba a very happy birthday and pray for more years in good health and well being as he takes on his role of instilling the virtues that earned him his medals in the successor generation.
This will be the most important legacy
Happy Birthday Sir
Congressman Bimbo Daramola