The Sun Award Winners 2021: Bisi Akande: Iconic politician

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By Femi Adeoti

The life of Chief Adebisi Abdulkareem Bamidele Akande is that of service. He was literally drafted into politics in 1971 when the military government appointed him as a member of the Ila Local Government Management Committee. In 1976, he was elected unopposed as a councillor for Isedo Ward 1 into the Ila Local Government Council.  He was in the Constituent Assembly which wrote the 1979 Nigerian Constitution. He represented Ila/Odo-Otin Local Government Areas.

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Since his “reluctant” foray into local politics 51 years ago, Akande has fought his way to the national level. Born on January 16, 1939, in Ila-Orangun, in present Osun State, Akande at the early stage of his life displayed great skills as a grassroots mobiliser. He was actively involved in town union activities. Perhaps, this endeared him to the late Chief Bola Ige.

In 1979, Akande left BP on a leave of absence and served as Secretary to the government of old Oyo State in Ige’s cabinet on the platform of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). In November 1982, he became Ige’s deputy.

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After the military seized power on December 31, 1983, Akande was arrested along with Ige. He was jailed 42 years by the Muhammadu Buhari’s military junta for what it described as “conspiracy to unlawfully enrich the Unity Party of Nigeria.” He regained freedom in 1986.

Akande became governor of Osun State between 1999 and 2003 on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). His tenure was remarkable because of the unprecedented infrastructure development in the state.

In December 2003, he accepted to be National Chairman of AD. In 2010, he was elected National Chairman, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). He was founding National Chairman, All Progressives Congress (APC).

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Akande has, indeed, paid his dues. He climbed to the top of his political career, rising from being a local champion to an elder statesman. The Sun Lifetime Achievement Award fits him.

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