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Dad assured Fani-Kayode’s wife, hubby ‘ll be fine, moments later, he was killed -Amb Akintola

Friday, January 15, 2016



Dad assured Fani-Kayode’s wife, hubby ‘ll be fine, moments later, he was killed -Amb Akintola







From Seye Ojo and Taiwo Oluwadamilare


For 50 years, he has carried the memory and the ache in his heart, a fact confirmed by his vivid recollection of the black night mutineering soldiers invaded his family house and brutally murdered his father, former premier of Western Region, Samuel Ladoke Akintola.

For former Nigerian Ambassador to Hungary, Chief Yomi Akintola, eldest son of the slain premier, the assasination of the nationalist was totally unexpected. Esconced with the family in his fortress-like official quarters in Iyaganku Government Reservation Area, Ibadan, the region’s capital, with a detachment of well armed security details, no one could have felt safer than the first family of the most advanced, developed, prosperous and well administered of the three geo-political regions of the Nigerian federation. It was therefore with rude shock that the family received their unfriendly guests whose mission was to liquidate the Premier in pursuance of the agenda of the coup d’etat on the eve of January 15, 1966. The younger Akintola, then 25 years old who was staying with his parents with his own young nuclear family at the time, gave a blow by blow account of the bloody invasion of which, he said, his father was alerted to on phone by the wife of his deputy, Mrs. Fani-Kayode, whose husband was abducted by the coup plotters, shortly before they showed up outside his premises. The former diplomat said the elderly Akintola had tried to calm Fani-Kayode’s wife down, assuring her that no harm would befall him. He himself was killed shortly afterwards in a gun battle he waged with his attackers.

Going down memory lane Ambassador Akintola said: “I was at the premier lodge with my father, but in a different section; the one for the children, while the other was for the premier and his wife. Suddenly, I heard a phone rang and it was Mrs. Fani-Kayode around 2 pm. She started shouting on phone saying: ‘Some strange people have abducted my husband, they were taking him away, they wanted to kill my husband, where is baba (Chief Akintola)?’ I went straight to my father’s room. I knocked and he came out. He picked the call and assured her that nothing would happen to her husband and that she should keep calm.

“After putting down the phone, he asked me to call the security guards. So, I went down to call the security guards. As soon as I called the security man, I heard a whistle. Then, there were some shootings. I quickly went back, locked the door. They started shooting towards where we were. The floor was made of planks and there was no single area there that did not have bullet marks. We were there for about two hours. Then my father excused himself with a promise that he would be back. He went down through the back of our own lounge. When nothing seemed to happen, he just called that he would come back. When he came in, they were still shooting.

“I was at my section and a wardrobe blocked me, my younger sibling, wife and my son from going outside the room. The shooting ensued for about two hours. Later, when my father went out, the shooting had subsided. But by the time we went out later, we saw him in the pool of his own blood. He was killed on the floor. We had no option than for my wife to cover him with her clothes.”

The murder of the breadwinner shattered the life of the family, who had to grope to succeed in life. “I was not a toddler and not that old when all these happened. I was there with my father when he was killed. It was so unfortunate that 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. Well, I was just about 25 years when it occurred and I am almost 77 years now. So, we will continue to pray to God to continue to guide us, help us to appreciate one another and help us to know that one with God is always a majority.”

Akintola said recent political developments in the country had vindicated the philosophy and ideals his late father lived and died for. “Unfortunately, we don’t have the type of unity that my father aimed for. Nevertheless, whatever they have set up has already opened our eyes to see that there is a lot to gain from a united Nigeria. So, we should all continue to work together to ensure that the Hausas, Igbos and Yorubas work together to make Nigeria a better place for us all to live in.

“We should continue to pray that we will all know that we owe one another some courtesies. The Igbo should respect the Hausa, the Hausa should respect the Yoruba, Yoruba too should respect the Igbo and vice-versa. Once we continue to give each other the type of respect we deserve, then we will be able to work hand-in-hand and make Nigeria a better place for us all to live in,” he said.


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