Fresh facts have emerged on the last moments of a former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, who died in the early hours of Wednesday at his Ogbomoso country home in the state.
His death came exactly one month after the demise of the Soun of Ogbomoso, his hometown, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi, Ajagungbade III.
Alao-Akala, a retired police officer who was Governor of the Oyo State between 2007 and 2011, and Deputy Governor of the State from 2003 to 2007, as gathered, was at his residence, Bodija, Ibadan, on Tuesday afternoon, where he watched the crucial match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Pharaoh of Egypt, which ended 1-0 in favour of Nigeria.
News reportedly came to him during the match that one of his best friends died in Ogbomoso. After the match, he left Ibadan for Ogbomoso.
One of the security details of Alao-Akala said: “Oga went to bed yesterday night and with instruction that we would travel from Ogbomoso to Ibadan today. This morning, the convoy was ready and we were expecting oga to come out. When we did not see him for a long time because it was unusual of him, one of us went inside and it was discovered that oga had not come out of his bedroom. Later, we found out that he was dead.”
Alao-Akala had paid a condolence visit to the palace of the late Olubadan of Ibadaland, Oba Saliu Adetunji, Aje Ogungunniso I, on Sunday January 2, this year, and was also at the palace for the third day prayer for the deceased royal father last week Tuesday.
But he did not attend the eight-day prayer this week Sunday because he traveled to Abuja for crucial meetings.
Early callers to Alao-Akala’s residence in Ogbomoso included a member of House of Representatives, Segun Odebunmi, who also hails from Ogbomso and who described the former Governor’s death as a rude shock.
Hundreds of sympathisers had, however, stormed his residence at Bodija, Ibadan as at the time of this report.
Alao-Akala was born on June 3, 1950. He had his primary education at Osupa Baptist Day School, Ogbomoso. He had his secondary school education at Kamina Barrack Middle School and 5th Infantry School, both in Tamale, Ghana.
He came back to Nigeria in 1974 to be enlisted to Nigeria Police Force. He had Police Senior Officers Training at Hendon Police College, United Kingdom, and he held several command positions like officer in charge of Advanced Training wing of Police College, Ikeja, divisional police officer for Bode Thomas, Iponrin, Nigeria Railway Quarter, Ebute Metta, all in Lagos.
He rose to the position of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of Logistics and Supply, Eleyele Ibadan, where he retired in 1995.
Alao-Akala joined politics immediately and in 1996 participated in the Zero party elections.
He contested and won Ogbomoso North Local Government chairmanship poll on the platform of All People’s Party (APP) in December 1998 and ruled the council between May 29, 1999 and May 29, 2002.
He served as Deputy Governor to Senator Rashidi Ladoja between May 29, 2003 and January 2006.
Upon the impeachment of Ladoja, Alao-Akala served as Governor of Oyo State for 11 months between January and December 2006, when the Supreme Court overturned Ladoja’s impeachment and reinstated him to complete his tenure on May 29, 2007.
Alao-Akala defected to Labour Party on December 8, 2014 from PDP and on the 10th December 2014 announced his intention to recontest the 2015 gubernatorial election.
He contested and lost; thereafter, he defected to APC on December 16, 2017 at a well-attended defection rally in Mapo Hall, Ibadan.
In October 2018, he defected to Action Democratic Party (ADP)# to contest the 2019 governorship poll.
Following the February 23, 2019 presidential poll, Alao-Akala defected again to APC.
The APC in Oyo State appointed him Chairman, Reconciliation Committee, after the 2019 general elections, based on his ability to mix freely with people.
Nigerians pay tributes
Meanwhile Nigerians from across the country have paid tributes to the departed Governor of Oyo State.
Makinde cuts short programme to mourn Alao-Akala
In his reaction to the news of Alao-Akala’s death, Oyo State Governor, seyi Makinde, who abruptly ended the 2022 Inter-faith Prayer Service organised by the Oyo State Civil Service, following the receipt of the news of the death of a former Governor of the State, Chief Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala, called for a minute silence for the former Governor and prayed God to grant repose to his soul.
Makinde also ordered that the flag be flown at half-mast in the State in honour of the former governor.
Condoling with the immediate family members of the former Governor, his political associates and all residents of the state, whose paths had crossed Chief Alao-Akala’s, Makinde said: “I am here with the speech prepared for this event but I have just been informed about the death of former governor of the state, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala. I pray that God grant his loved ones and all his well-wishers the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”
President Buhari mourns Alao-Akala, hails his passion for welfare of downtrodden
Also, President Muhammadu Buhari has commiserated with the Alao-Akala family, the government and people of Oyo State on the passing of a former Governor of the State, Otunba Christopher Alao-Akala.
According to a statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari recalled that as a former police officer and civilian governor with an extensive political career, the President affirms that Otunba Akala served the country and the people of Oyo State with dedication, making very important contributions to the development of institutions and communities.
The President urged family, friends and associates who mourn the late Governor, to honour his vision of entrenching good governance in the country and passion to lift the downtrodden in the society.
The President prayed God almighty to grant the departed eternal rest and comfort those who mourn.
The Otun Olubadan of Ibadanland, Senator Lekan Balogun, who is the next in line to the vacant stool of Olubadan, in a statement signed by his media secretary, Mr. Dele Ogunsola, said: “The sudden death of the former governor of Oyo State, Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala, on Wednesday, was a loss of a great and gentleman. We have lost a great and gentleman, whose contributions to the development and progress of Oyo State cannot be forgotten in a hurry.
”The late former governor was a friend of all, whose politics was predicated on the principle of welfare to the people, which informed his cult-like followership both in and out of office, a legacy which should be a source of consolation to the members of his immediate family.”
The statement condoled with Governor Seyi Makinde, the people of the State and Ogbomoso in particular, and the wives and children of the late politician.
The statement further quoted him as counseling the people that rather than mourning the death of the former governor, he should be celebrated because of what he did for humanity during his lifetime.
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Local Content and lawmaker representing Oyo Central Senatorial District, Senator Teslim Folarin has expressed deep sadness over the death of former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, lamenting that Oyo State has lost a phenomenal statesman.
Folarin, in a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen on Wednesday stated that former governor’s death came “at a crucial time when his leadership and wise counsel are needed especially by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State”.
“I’m deeply heartbroken after receiving the shocking news of our leader’s demise. I still could not believe that Oga Akala has left us. Who are we to question God’s Decision?”
“In mourning, I remember the fond memories and indelible strides former governor Akala left behind. His Excellency will be remembered for his selfless commitment to the development of Oyo State”.
“Men of honour would always be men of honour! Late Akala was one of such men of honour. He lived a life of service to humanity and made leaders of leaders in Oyo State politics. The former governor will remain indelible in the minds of people of Oyo State. He was great leader, exemplary philanthropist, astute administrator, patriotic Nigerian and political heavyweight”.
“On behalf of my family and the good people of Oyo Central Senatorial District, I express my condolences to former governor Akala’s immediate family, the Akala political dynasty, the government and people of Oyo State, and indeed the entire APC family over this phenomenal loss. May God Almighty Comfort us and Grant our great leader eternal rest,” the statement concluded.
In the same vein, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, has noted that in less than two years after the loss of Sen Abiola Ajimobi, the governor of the state between 2011 and 2019, “APC Oyo State, on Wednesday 12th January 2022, shockingly got the sad news of the demise of the pillar of the APC in Oyo, former governor Christopher Adebayo Alao Akala.
Publicity Secretary, Caretaker Executive Committee of APC in the state, Dr. AbdulAzeez Olatunde, said: “APC Oyo State sadly commiserates with party members in Oyo State and Diaspora and especially all Oyo State indigenes on the sad and shocking news.
“On behalf of the Caretaker Chairman of APC in Oyo State, Chief Akin Oke, the State Executives and all the APC members in Oyo State, we commiserate with the family of our departed former Governor. We pray Almighty God to forgive his forthcomings.”
Former Nigerian Ambassador to Philippines, Dr. Yemi Farounbi, said: The death of former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala is absolutely an unexpected and sad event. Certainly, it’s one death that Oyo State and Nigeria do not need now.
“He was such a humble and likeable character, who was a lover of all, irrespective of class and social status. As a local government chairman, he served the people of Ogbomoso very well, and gave them socio-economic development.
“Beyond his expectations, he became a deputy governor, when all he wanted was a second term as chairman. He managed adroitly the political situation that made him a Governor during the impeachment period of his erstwhile boss and brother, Governor Rashidi Ladoja.
“I remember now the hours both he and (former) Governor Ladoja spent one evening in my humble abode in Bodija rebuilding a relationship that predated politics. He subsequently became substantive Governor of Oyo State. That he was able to break the iron-clad hold of Ibadan on Oyo State governorship is an eloquent testimony to his high political intelligence and close relationship with the masses of Oyo State.
“As Governor, he did not let the people down. He did very well and remained a great man of the people. I commiserate with his good family, the governor and the people of Oyo State on the loss of this political giant.”
Delta Governor, Okowa mourns Alao-Akala
Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has commiserated with the Alao-Akala family and the people and government of Oyo State on the passing of former Governor, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala.
Akala, who ruled Oyo State from 2007 to 2011 died in the early hours of Wednesday in Ogbomoso, aged 71.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba, Okowa said the passing of Alao-Akala at this critical time of the country’s political history was painful and regrettable.
He said the former Governor contributed immensely to the development of his State as a former Deputy Governor to Alhaji Rashidi Ladoja, and later as Governor of the State.
“The late Alao-Akala was a patriot and a political icon whose life-long dedication and indefatigable commitment to serving the people will continue to be remembered,” Okowa said.
“His contributions to the socio-political and economic development of Nigeria and indeed, humanity will remain indelible.
“On behalf of my family, the government and people of Delta, I commiserate with his family, Governor Seyi Makinde, the government and people of Oyo State, numerous friends, associates and admirers of the deceased politician.
“It is my prayer that God grant the immediate family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”
Abiodun mourns Alao-Akala
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has mourned the death of a former Governor of Oyo state and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adebayo Alao-Akala, who died in the early hours of Wednesday (today).
Akala, who was a governor of the state between 2007 and 2011, died in his hometown of Ogbomosho, at the age of 71.
He was also a Deputy Governor under former Governor Rashidi Ladoja between 2003 and 2006, when Ladoja was impeached and consequently became the acting governor for eleven months
Abiodun, in a condolence statement signed by Kunle Somorin, his Chief Press Secretary, said Akala’s passing was not only shocking, but sudden and painful.
He lamented that death took the former police chief at a time the progressive family in Oyo needed him most, not only as a chieftain but a bridge builder.
Abiodun, who said Akala’s tenure as the Number One citizen of the Pacesetter State, witnessed unprecedented infrastructural development, noted he will be greatly missed.
“The news of the demise of the former Governor Alao-Akala came to me as a rude shock. Yes, we are all mortals, but his death, which is sudden to me, came at a time the APC in Oyo needed his exemplary leadership.
“Apart from being a fine police office, a grassroots mobiliser and a consummate politician, Akala’s sterling performance as a governor cannot be forgotten. He will be sorely missed by progressives family, in Oyo and beyond.
“On behalf of my family and the people of Ogun state, I express my sincere condolence to the immediate family of the former governor, my Oyo state counterpart, the APC family and the people of Oyo. I pray his soul find repose in the bosom of Lord,” Abiodun was quoted to have stated in the statement.
Sanwo-Olu mourns Alao-Akala, commiserates with Makinde, Oyo APC
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has described the death of the former Governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, as a great loss to his family, the people of Oyo State, particularly sons and daughters of Ogbomoso and Nigeria as a whole.
Governor Sanwo-Olu also commiserated with Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, as well as leaders and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) both at the state and national level over the demise of the party’s apex leader in Oyo State.
Sanwo-Olu, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile on Wednesday, said Alao-Akala’s shocking demise had opened a deep sore in the hearts of the people of Oyo State and Nigerians, who looked up to him as a rallying point and a political stabilizer.
The Governor also sympathised with the deceased’s family and urged them to take heart, noting that the former governor’s service to the people of Ogbomoso, Oyo State and Nigeria as a whole will remain his enduring legacy.
He said: “On behalf of the government and people of Lagos, I commiserate with my brother, the Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, sons and daughters of Ogbomoso, people of Oyo State, the deceased family, friends and political associates on the death of Otunba Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala.
“The passage of Otunba Alao-Akala hurts me because of the critical role he was playing in Oyo APC before his demise. My heart was filled with grief when I was informed about his death.
“Otunba Alao-Akala was more than a politician. He was a man of many parts, whose managerial skills and experience are required at this critical period in our national life, especially in our party, APC ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“He served Oyo State passionately first as a Deputy Governor and later as Governor. He did his best in contributing his quota to the growth and development of Ogbomoso as council chairman as well as Oyo State as a Governor. He also made his mark in the Nigerian Police where he retired as Assistant Commissioner of Police in 1995 before venturing into politics.”
While commiserating with the deceased’s family, Sanwo-Olu urged them to take heart, saying ‘‘the death of loved ones is usually one of the most painful episodes in peoples’ lives but we must realise that death is inevitable. We all will die someday. Therefore, we must muster enough strength to carry on.”
“I pray that Almighty God be pleased with the soul of Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala and grant the family and the people of Ogbomoso and Oyo State the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss,” he declared.
Minister of Youth and sports Development Chief Sunday Dare has expressed deep sadness over the death of former Oyo State Governor, Chief Adebayo Alao- Akala, describing it as a huge loss to Ogbomosho, Oyo State and Nigeria.
According to a statement sent by the Minister who is reportedly on his way back from the African Nations in Cameroon, he said it was really difficult to accept the reality of the news of someone as close to him as Alao Akala was.
” I received the news of the death of my elder brother, astute political statesman and Former Governor of Oyo State, Chief Christopher Adebayo Alao- Akala with a huge sense of loss, shock and pain. His death not only came suddenly, but quite devastating. He was like a big brother to me, so his death has robbed me of a dear one who was so passionate about the development of Ogbomosho, Oyo State and Nigeria at large.”
The Minister further stated: “His death is a huge loss not only to the family, but especially Ogbomosho, a place he loved and lived for. His death has created a huge vacuum in our political space. Coming at a time when his political sagacity and clout was most needed makes it such a monumental loss.
“May God console his family, his political associates and the people of Oyo state on the demise of this great personality.”