A Gift Of God From Yakooyo: Tribute To General Alani Ipoola Akinrinade GCON

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…On the Conferment of Doctorate Degree of Administration (Honoris Causa) on him by the Senate and Council of Osun State University, Osogbo, Nigeria on Tuesday, September 21, 2021.

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By Siyan Oyeweso & Omotayo Charles

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Introduction

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“Render to all, their dues, to whom tax is due; toll to whom toll; reverence to whom reverence; honour to whom honour.”

Today, Tuesday, September 21, 2021, Osun State University, Osogbo, Nigeria, at its 10th Convocation Ceremony conferred Doctorate Degree of Administration (Honoris Causa) on one of the eminent sons of Nigeria, a highly successful farmer and entrepreneur; a national treasure, a soldier-democrat, a highly successful war general, and one of the pillars of the Nigerian nation, General Alani Ipoola Akinrinade GCON.

A patriotic, courageous and devoted soldier of the ‘good old days’; a military intellectual and strategist; a man with great personable disposition, charm and humour; a very brilliant and witty person; a man of robust heart with tremendous African humanism; a person of manifest devotion to family and friends; a leader with profound knowledge, grasp and appreciation of history, who skillfully combines his visions and dreams with realism in the cause of Nigerian history. A pro-democracy crusader, who, under the then National Democratic Coalition, spiritedly worked towards keeping the Nigerian nation as one indivisible entity. These epithets, among many others provide an overview of the life of Lt. General Alani Akinrinande, (rtd) the patriarch of the progressives’ family in Nigeria and a quintessential elder statesman who has continually provided insights and perspectives on the road to nation building. As President Muhammadu Buhari affirms, Lt. Gen. Akinrinade rose to the occasion at crucial moments in the nation’s history, accepting to serve after retirement as Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development, Minister of Industries and Minister of Transport, leaving behind strong legacies of visionary leadership. As a junior officer to Akinrinade, Buhari admired him, his exploits during the civil war and his post-war contributions to the “retooling of the Nigerian Army, and eventually, his emergence as Chief of Army Staff and later Chief of General Staff. Since his retirement from the Nigerian Army, General Akinrinade, has, contributed immeasurably to nation-building.

Birth, home town and upbringing

Lt. General Ipoola Alani Akinrinade was born into the Akinrinade family of Yakooyo near Ile-Ife, in present day Osun State. Akinrinade, the general’s grandfather, was a direct descendant of Pa Adeteru Ogunyemi, from Ojo town in Egbedore Local Government Area of the State of Osun. The Ogunyemi family lived in Ojo until the early 1900s when local land disputes forced Ogunyemi and his family, including his sons – Akinrinade, Oparinde and Babarinde – out of Ojo, moving first to Oogi, near Ode-Omu and finally to Oke Oshin, which is now part of Yakooyo, Ife North Local Government, in what is now State of Osun. Yakooyo itself is part of the community known as Origbo, comprising seven towns – Akinlalu, Asipa, Ipetumodu, Yakooyo, Moro, Edunabon and Isope (now sacked). The Ogunyemi compound in Oke Oshin was and still is called Ile Sarepawo. There the family thrived and became the lynchpin of the community, widely loved and respected.

On October 3, 1939, Alani was born to one of Akinrinade’s sons Emmanuel Olarewaju and his wife Victoria Olatundun. Alani grew up in his locality, among his cousins and family friends. In those days, and prior to the advent of Christianity in the town, the Ogunyemi clan was well known for its love of Egungun (masquerade) and one of the biggest in Origbo was the family Egungun called Lobanika. Legend had it that Lobanika was such a powerful Egungun that five days before he came out, all other Egunguns in Yakooyo and surrounding towns were warned not to come out on the same day as they would do so at their own peril. The year of his birth 1939, is a significant year in the history of the world as it signified the commencement of the Second World War which lasted till 1945. That Akinrinade was born during a global war can be situated into the tradition of the Yoruba which relays that the circumstances of one’s birth will, to some large extent, determine the life trajectory of a child. This perhaps explains his early interest in the military.

Alani Akinrinade started his primary education in Ipetumodu, an adjoining town and subsequently went to Offa Grammar School in what is now Kwara State for his secondary school education. He finished his secondary school education in 1958 and moved to Ibadan, capital of the old Western Region where he started his working life at the Ministry of Agriculture. His stint at the ministry made a lasting impression on him. He would become a full-time farmer in Yakooyo, years later, after his retirement from the army and grows cassava, exotic fruits and produces gaari which his farm exports abroad. He is also into fish farming, among other things. Ironically too, his first portfolio as a minister in the Babangida administration was in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development. In 1960, he joined the military and began officer cadet training at the Royal Nigeria Military Forces Training College, Kaduna, in April 1960, then went to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom, August 1960. He was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the Infantry Corps on December 20, 1962. Later, he took the Infantry Officer Career/Airborne Course in the USA, August 1965 – July 1966; attended Staff College Camberley, January – December 1971, and attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in the United Kingdom (January – December 1978).

In one of his encounters with Newswatch magazine, it was said of Alani Akinrinade: “Chance and courage made the man. A chance meeting with General Yakubu Gowon in Ibadan took Akinrinade, then a young Captain to Lagos and the Ministry of Defence. And thus, began his climb up the ladder of success, and his close association with the “top hierarchy”. Courage earned him a place in history through his outstanding performance in the civil war, especially at Bonny in 1967, and his role in bringing the civil war to an end with the battle of Uli-Ihiala which led to Biafran surrender at Amichi on 13 January 1970; as well as in the abortive coup of Bukar Suka Dimka on 13 February 1976.”

A devoted soldier of the ‘good old days’: Military Career and Civil War

Despite the years of struggle against colonial rule and the gradual constitutional reforms that climaxed in independence, it was clear the departing British colonial authorities pulled all stops to mould Nigeria in their own image and after that, show off their wonderful creation. A key component of this lofty plan was the military – professional, civil, polished and absolutely loyal to the ruling order. So, when the young Alani Ipoola Akinrinade entered military school in 1960, it was in the in the best of that tradition that he was trained. Full of enthusiasm, the young solider was looking forward to serving his nation and defending her territorial integrity. But even before leaving infantry school in the United States, that enthusiasm was turning sour, as the political crisis at home clearly showed. This led to a military take over on 15 January 1966 which was facilitated by the political crisis that engulfed the First Republic. The military thereafter never survived that maelstrom in one piece.

For Alani Akinrinade, it would appear that destiny had his career path cut out for him as a man of history. Perhaps to illustrate this is an interesting and indeed engaging story told by Emeka Obasi about this man who through the circumstance and accident of his soldierly calling became one of the principal actors in the leadership succession struggles that broke out in the First Republic, culminating in a civil strife that almost put paid to Nigeria’s emergent, if not fledgling, nationhood. According to the story, Akinrinade who was a Lieutenant Colonel when the civil war broke out soon found himself in the thick of some of the bloodiest battles fought at different fronts. He was Commanding Officer, CO, Sixth Brigade of Nigeria Army’s Second Division under Colonel Murtala Muhammed. His tour of duty during the war took him from Ifon, Sobe, Mid-West and the Eastern Region.

His next posting was the Third Marine Commando Division under Col. Benjamin Adekunle and later Col. Olusegun Obasanjo. From commanding the 15 Brigade in Bonny, Akinrinade became Commander, Sector Two from where he led operations in Aba and Owerri. His exploits and experiences are story materials from which blockbuster war movies are made, especially given the accounts of his many close shaves with death. But happily he survived all the near-death encounters, came back stronger and emerged from the war as General Staff Officer, GSO, One, of the Division with some of the Brigade commanders under his control as Majors George Innih, Philemon Shande and Sam Tomoye.

Akinrinade rose steadily through the ranks. He was promoted lieutenant on March 29, 1963, captain on March 29, 1965, major on June 10, 1967, lieutenant colonel on May 11, 1968, colonel on October 1, 1972, brigadier general on October 1, 1974 and major general on January 1, 1976.He held various infantry appointments, becoming commander of the Ibadan Garrison (1970–1971) and the General Officer Commanding of 1 Infantry Division (1975–1979). He was a member of the Supreme Military Council during the military regime of General Murtala Mohammed and Olusegun Obasanjo (1975–1979). He was promoted to Lieutenant General on October 2, 1979 and appointed Chief of Army Staff, and then became Chief of Defence Staff in 1980, during the civilian administration of Shehu Shagari. He voluntarily retired from service with effect from October 2, 1981.

After retirement, Akinrinade engaged in large-scale farming and was chairman of Niger Feeds and Agriculture Operations (1982–1985). In General Ibrahim Babangida’s government, he was appointed Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development (1985–1986); Minister of Industries (1988 – February 1989) and Minister of Transport (1989).

It is important to state that Akinrinade and his colleagues played a very significant role in ending the Nigerian civil war. Akinrinade disclosed that a strategy he and a fellow General in the Army, Alabi Isama (rtd.) authored brought an end to the civil war. Both officers worked tirelessly for days conceptualizing and testing various strategies and eventually came up with a workable strategy that was adopted by the federal military. He said:

“The tactics we finally used in ending the war was a document that Alabi Isama and I prepared. We spent days and nights preparing it because the last time we were with Adekunle, he showed that he was becoming distrustful of us. He was not happy with some of the things he thought we were doing. He felt that we no longer believed him. That was how he posted us out of his headquarters. Alabi Isama was in the 3rd Sector while I was in the 2nd Sector. That was another mistake he made. The two sectors were adjacent to each other. Alabi Isama was in Uyo, I was in Aba. Ayo Ariyo, who was our classmate but much older than us was in Calabar. He put someone else in the 1st Division. The person was our senior but we didn’t get along with him. I served with him in the 2nd Division. When I quarreled with my GOC he was there sitting down and said nothing. They were just sitting down and allowing the GOC to do whatever he wanted. When he ended up in the 3rd Division, I didn’t want to do anything with him. What they didn’t know was that we had stabilised our side. “It was the work both of us had done that we used in ending the war. We told ourselves that finishing the war was not difficult. We presented the plan to Adekunle. Whether he studied it or not, we were not sure. All he wrote on the plan was “this is tactics lesson one, when are my expecting the next tuition?” That was how we left him and returned to our sectors. It was the plan that we brushed up and we didn’t tell Obasanjo that we were going to execute it. We went ahead to execute it because we were tired of being in the front. It was a war that should have lasted for one year. But it lasted for 30 months. That was why he knew so much about what we did even though he (Obasanjo) was no more there. Tomoye was there.”

From the above, one can rightly deduce that if not for the strategy adopted by Akinrinade and his team, the civil war would have lasted longer with higher casualties. Indeed, “the troop commanded by Akinrinade was well educated, disciplined, courageous and polite.” This was how American diplomatic dispatch of 1968 partly summed up its take on the four year Nigerian civil war. Five years after the civil war, during the coup of 1975 led by Lt. Col. Bukar Sukar Dimka in which the then Head of State, Gen. Murtala Mohammed, was killed, it was Akinrinade as the General Officer Commanding the 2nd Division of the Nigerian Army in Kaduna that first stood up against the coup plot before the putsch was put down. This invariably shows how the general’s commitment to re-building the nation.

Alani Akinrinade’s struggle for democracy

By June 1993, Nigeria was approximately thirty three years as an independent nation. For twenty four of these years, the country was cumulatively under military rule. In the eyes of most Nigerians, these were years of jack-boot rascality, impunity and brigandage; years of brazen abridgement of citizens‟ rights and freedoms, and of maniacal corruption and kleptocracy. Subsequently, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, who emerged President after a coup on 27 August 1985 announced that the regime would hand over to a democratically elected civilian government on 1 October 1990 (Akintola, 2002) and promptly moved to set up a political bureau to articulate a new philosophy of government that would serve as the blueprint for transition to democratic rule (Aiyede, 2003). The committee set up spent eight months holding elaborate consultations with Nigerians across the length and breadth of the country and another six months to write its report. Apart from making far reaching recommendations on the restructuring of the country’s political system, the committee also drew up an election timetable terminating on 1st October 1990 in keeping with the President’s earlier promise.

However, by 1991, it became clear that the Babaginda led military government was not sincere with its commitment to the transition programme when it rejected all the thirteen political associations including the six recommended to it by NEC for “failing to meet the requirements of the government”, and proceeded to ban the people it called “old breed” politicians from the political process. These people were later unbanned following public outcry but not without bruises. What followed was the emergence of two political parties, the National Republican Convention (NRC), described as a ‘little to the right’, and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) also described as a “little to the left”, which were created and fully funded by the government with offices in the federal and state capitals, and in local government areas throughout the country.

After diverse intrigues including repeated shifting of the handover dates, introduction of new rules in the middle of the process, reinterpretation of existing rules and manipulation of the transition institutions, several banning and unbanning of presidential aspirants, and after several covert and overt but desperate efforts to stall it, the crucial and decisive presidential election took place on 12 June, 1993. However, while the results were trickling in, with Chief Abiola taking the lead, General Babangida announced the annulment of the elections, banned Chief Abiola and Alhaji Bashir Tofa from any further presidential contests and promised to draw up new rules to guide future campaigns (Omotunde, 1993). Ihonvbere argued that the annulment brought in its wake a sudden reawakening of the civil society groups including ethnic, religious, youth, women, labour and professional associations both locally and internationally, who openly declared their opposition to the annulment and of course, to the continued stay of military in power. The ensuing massive protests and agitations across the country and especially in those South-Western states where Abiola had strong support base resulted in three regime changes within six month – June 26, 1993 when Babangida annulled the elections and November 17, 1993 when General Sani Abacha took over the reins of power through a bloodless coup from Ernest Shonekan.

One major civil group that emerged during this period was the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO). It was formed in May 1994, when it became clear that Abacha was going to renege on his promise of convening a constitutional conference ‘with sovereign powers.’ Abacha’s national conference was only to make recommendations to the junta; one-third of its members were nominated and the rest were to be elected in poorly defined constituencies, without voters’ lists and without enabling legislation. It was the fear that Nigeria may have embarked on yet another political merry-go-round that galvanized the normally quiescent political class into action. As co-founder of NADECO, Akinrinade suffered in the hands of the military regime and according to the Asiwaju, they were both in the trenches together. Together, they were forced onto exile from where they continued the struggle. A combatant soldier who is no stranger to battles, he provided direction and leadership for the NADECO group in the struggle against the annulment of the now historic June 12, 1993 presidential election.

It is important to state that although General Alani Akinrinande was part of the General Ibrahim Babangida’s government as Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Rural Development (1985–1986), Minister of Industries (1988 – February 1989) and Minister of Transport (1989) yet he never approved the regime’s high handedness on democratic process and institutions. As a matter of fact, it has been established that he is one of the few who spoke truth to power and pressurized Ibrahim Babangida to transfer government to a duly democratically elected regime. When it became clear that the regime was not going to hand over, Alani Akinrinande left the government and became instrumental to the establishment of the National Democratic Coalition. During Abacha’s regime, Alani Akinrinade was listed as threat to the new government. As a result, he went on self-exile where he continued to provide platform for the civil right movement generally and NADECO in particular to operate and demand for the return to democracy. Acknowledging the roles played by Alani Akinrinade, Prof Akinyemi, said: “Gen. Akinrinade gave us his office in London to use for NADECO to actualize our mandate, Gen. Akinrinade paid for most of our travels. The retired general went beyond giving his resources; he put his life on the line.”

Also, Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti State, established the contribution of the General when he stated that: “I’m always credited for being the founder of Radio Kudirat. But, let me say openly here that he paid for the first set of the transmitter and some equipment.”

These acknowledgements re-enforces the roles played by the General for the entrenchment of democracy. He was a light and a pillar during the dark days of the military when his own primary constituency, the military, annulled the 1993 Presidential Election and supplanted the will of the people.

Home and abroad, Gen. Akinrinade fought the military regime for the soul of Nigeria as entrenched in the democratic rights of Nigerians. For that, he paid heavily. The General had a thriving large-scale farm before the crisis. To get back at him for his effrontery to confront the military roughnecks, the Abacha regime went for the general’s economic jugular. They ruined his farm. His shipping business too was fair game. If he had tarried at home, they most probably would have sent a killer gang after him. That is the only logical deduction from the arson agents of the state committed on his house in Opebi, Ikeja.

In spite of these and many more attacks and at personal costs, Lt. General Akinrinade aligned with the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, to restore democracy and the dignity of the Nigerian nation. No doubt, Lt. General Akinrinade is an encyclopedia of Nigerian politics, having actively participated in the nation’s political evolution through the military days to the present democratic dispensation.

Akinrinade’s dialogue with Nigeria: Challenges of Nation Building

Alani Akinrinade, as an elder statesman, has continually lent his voice to nation building. In his book, Dialogue With Nigeria, he expressed his views and perspective on a number of issues affecting Nigeria in the process of nation building. The book can be said to be a history of contemporary Nigeria seen from the perspective of one man who has been an active player in the scheme of things in the country for most part of that history. Through his lens the book touches on virtually every key issue that has defined, and continues to define, Nigeria’s political and socio-economic history, for good or for ill, even as the country continues to grapple with the search for nationhood. Presented in twenty five chapters, the book comes in two parts. Part One contains twenty one chapters featuring interviews granted by Alani Akinrinade to different media over time, while Part Two has four chapters featuring speeches delivered by the retired general at different forums.

The chapter headings themselves speak volumes. Chapter One says ‘A Coup is an Illegal Thing’; Chapter Three discusses ‘Why We Need the National Conference’; Chapter Four is on ‘My Problems with Abacha’; Chapter Five says ‘We Are Not Unpatriotic’; Chapter Seven says ‘I Cannot Vote Myself Into Slavery’; Chapter Twelve predicts that ‘Nigeria May Break If…’; Chapter Thirteen says ‘Boko Haram is the Talakawa Syndrome’; Chapter Fourteen insists ‘The Civil War Settled Nothing’; Chapter Eighteen explains ‘Why Nigeria’s Unity is Negotiable’; Chapter Nineteen says ‘Buhari Can’t Win Corruption War Without Restructuring Nigeria’; Chapter Twenty argues ‘It’s Political Suicide for the APC to Say Restructuring is not in Its Manifesto’; Chapter Twenty-One says ‘Nigeria Must Restructure Or Break Up’; Chapter Twenty-Three talks about ‘The Ijaw Quest for True Federalism in Nigeria’; Chapter Twenty-Five discusses ‘Leadership and National Security’, and so on. There is one common trait, though, in all these interviews and speeches spanning more than twenty five years: Akinrinade’s consistent push for a fiscal and political restructuring of Nigeria as a catalyst for lasting unity is unshaken. Even now, restructuring remains his priority proposition for Nigeria’s survival. Alani Akinrinade, has been the voice for the call for restructuring and true federalism in the country for a long time. Indeed, it was one of NADECO’s major demands in the days of pro-democracy activism. For Alani Akinrinade, restructuring is the best way to go. In his words: “It is long overdue and doing this will address many of the problems confronting us.”

On Biafra, General Alani Akinrinade strongly believes that the people should be the major determinant of the relationship between Biafra and Nigeria. The retired General sees absolutely no reason why Nigeria should not let Biafra go. Provided it is the wish of the people, he says, “Provided there is a referendum that clearly shows they want to go” and the process is orderly, “I see no reason why we should be exerting energy and risking our reputation to hold some people who want to leave Nigeria”.

On the Niger Delta agitations, Akinrinade believes that no government has been able to successfully address the plight of the people head on. From Isaac Boro’s Niger Delta Volunteer Force to Ken Saro-Wiwa’s “very sophisticated intellectual” approach, down to the “militant agitation” involving Asari Dokubo and co. It has always been the same problem with different methodology of agitation because the real issues have not been tackled. Akinrinade believes that “a new generation of militants will come up, rebels with a cause. And that they will always get supporters for it until the government goes to the riverine areas and really set the place right,” he argues. But not just the Niger Delta conundrum, no Nigerian problem that has ever truly been solved. Successive governments have only scratched the surface or pretended the problems don’t exist, so the problems always come back in other forms. And so, Nigeria has remained a country “in constant civil war”; a country with “too many centres of rebellion”; a country “in a big mess”; a country “that’s always at war, equal opportunity war among all of us”; “a country in big tumult” – all because “we are glossing over a lot of important things”. The result is this: “We feel ashamed this is what it has come to, where nothing works at all. No value; anything goes. I am not sure our children are going to do better. It’s frightening. One can only hope that with a Buhari there, perhaps, perhaps, these ills will be cured.”

Indeed, as a former Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd.) is eminently qualified to speak on national security and this he has continually shared his thoughts on. With the military high command appearing to be at its wits’ end and President Muhammadu Buhari’s insistence on not rejigging the country’s security architecture despite obvious failings, Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd.) says the Federal Government “should go to hell if it cannot provide security for Nigerians, which it swore to protect.”

He further said: “There may be a lot of things that are not clear to me, whether the constitution precludes you from defending yourself, or looking after your own security, and that of your people. But I think it is only a stupid constitution, and the one that is inhuman that will prevent anyone from looking after his security, and welfare of the people around him.” On state police and regional security outfit, the General has advised the Federal Government to allow regional security outfits to transform into state police. According to him, Amotekun, Hisbah and other regional security outfits should be integrated into the state security apparatus. He recommended that institutional and constitutional mechanisms be put in place to checkmate the arbitrary use of the state policing structures.

Similarly, the General believes that “the military has failed in the field of modern rational organisation, in economic development and above all, in the formation of modern sustainable political institution.” Gen. Akinrinade would lament in 2004 in a lecture at the Nigerian National War College, Abuja, titled ‘Military Professionalism: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.’ “In fact, interventionist actions of the military have served only to foster fragile, infant political systems and have increased the number of bureaucrats; but not the efficiency of bureaucracy,” he opined.

The need for a national restructuring is also one area where, Gen. Alani Akinrinade, has being vocal. The General believes that restructuring is unavoidable and inevitable for Nigeria in the face of national consensus which has coalesced around the issue. While delivering a lecture, titled, ‘Restructuring and the Dawn of a new Nigeria’ as part of the activities marking the sixth anniversary of Governor Seriake Dickson in 2018, the General states that: “If we cast our mind to the recent battle for restructuring in Nigeria, we see all the rich ironies of history in slow motion. Four years ago as the battle for the restructuring of the nation raged unabated, then President Goodluck Jonathan convoked a National Political Conference with the express mandate to look at the grave political issues facing Nigeria and come up with an acceptable solution.

“Given the urgency of the situation, one would have thought that the convener would have acted with express resolve once the conference turned in its report. But for reasons best known to him, Jonathan delayed and prevaricated until he was defeated in a landmark presidential election, which for the first time in the history of the nation had the opposition winning by a landslide.

“In his own case, and as if the government is a radical discontinuum, President Muhammadu Buhari would have nothing to do with the conference report. In fact, it is on record that the former infantry officer went as far as to flatly assert that he would make sure that the report ended up in a permanent cooler – the archives. This was not just a case of benign indifference but active hostility.”

Two inferences can be drawn from the above; one is the fact that the political class irrespective of political party is not sincere with restructuring. Secondly and most importantly, is that blunt fact remains that renewed ethnic restiveness that has characterised the nation in the last two dispensations is a vote against centralised tyranny and inefficiency as well as the ethnicisation of the Presidency, which have become the hallmark of the Nigerian post-colonial state particularly in the Fourth Republic. Above all, Akinrinade believes that for Nigeria to be great, all necessary state institutions should be built on fairness and justice and for weak institutions, he says “must be cleansed such that justice, fairness becomes a culture” and the individual feels “a sense of responsibility for the proper running of society” – “otherwise nothing will work.”

Conclusion

It has been established, that one needs not attain a certain age or belong to a certain class before it behoves on them to begin to be apolitical. Being a statesman starts with sound judgment and discernment in consideration of matters that concern the state – and by the ‘state.’ This does not mean that one must have been a former head of a state or that one participated in running a government at state level. By ‘sound judgment and discernment in the consideration of matters of state’, it means that at a certain high level, one would have subdued one’s personal interests and put the overall interests far and above that personal and local interest. This succinctly captures the person of Lt. General Alani Akinrinade who in the last fifty years has being an elder statesman. From his days in the military, through the civil war and after, Alani Akinrinade has proved to be an elder statesman in all ramifications, advocating and speaking for a better Nigeria that works for all though tribes and tongues may differ.

In summary, General Akinrinade is a loving husband, a dotting but firm father, a veritable community leader, an efficient administrator, an astute manager of men and resources, an elder statesman, a lover of peace and peaceful co-existence. The Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN COMMISSION) refers to Gen. Alani Akinrinade thus:

“Indeed, using NADECO as a platform, Akinrinade, the late Enahoro, Wole Soyinka and several others, mounted and sustained a campaign that forced IBB to step aside and practically crippled the Abacha junta, leading to its eventual demise. Though an elderly statesman, he is still very active in the renewed quest to reform and restructure Nigeria. By so doing, General Akinrinade maintains his status as a national leader who can be counted upon to lend a credible voice to issues that will promote peace and development in the country; he remains a prominent Yoruba leader who speaks truth to power, especially when the interest of his people are threatened. He is a hero, an Akinkanju.”

We endorse this DAWN position and we affirm that Osun State University has done the needful by conferring Doctorate Degree of Administration (Honoris Causa) on a man of honour and hard-rock integrity, General Alani Ipoola Akinrinade, GCON.

Congratulations Sir. Congratulations to the entire Akinrinade Dynasty in Nigeria and the Diaspora.

Prof. Siyan Oyeweso FHSN, FNAL writes from Osun State University, Osogbo and Omotayo Charles from Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo, Ondo State.

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