TRIBUTE: Alao-Akala, a polyglot, Ladoja’s nightmare and only non-Ibadan native who became Oyo governor
For every beginning, there is an unpredictable end. Life is in stages and it is defined by moments and times. There is time for everything. Time to come, time to grow and time to leave. These are phases of life and only those who are opportuned by destiny and enjoyed unquantifiable grace and its narratives pass through these phases.
Christopher Alao Akala, the former governor of Oyo state passed through these phases of life and properly defined them in interesting ways. Alao-Akala, a polyglot who spoke English, Yoruba, Hausa and Ghanaian languages (Tiv, Fanti and Dagbani) fluently. He had seven children, and died on 12 January 2022, at the age of 71.
When Christopher Alao-Akala died, most newspapers, blogs and prominent Nigerians who announced his death and consoled his relatives on their various platforms described him as a strong politician in Oyo and Nigeria at large who played his part and redefined politicking in his own dimension and style.
But Christopher Alao-Akala was more than a politician. He was also a police officer who served Nigeria within the ranks of the force before he became a politician. As a police officer, Christopher Alao-Akala was opportuned to climb the top ladder of his profession and dined with strong forces which helped his adventure in Nigeria politics.
Christopher Alao-Akala was not just a politician, he was also a jinx breaker. Alao-Akala was and still the first citizen of the state who became a governor without being a native of Ibadan. In politics, controversies strengthen the polity. There is no Nigerian politician without controversy. At a particular time in the political history of every politician, there must be a time he or she battles with destiny or at war with his or her principles.
Alao-Akala was not different. He was also tested and engaged destiny in a war of interest and purpose. He served as a deputy governor during the administration of Governor Adewolu Ladoja and at a time became an acting governor after Adewolu Ladoja was impeached by group of political thugs mostly NURTW boys who were loyal to Pa Lamidi Adebibu but it was later legally contested at the Supreme court which installed Chief Adewolu Ladoja as the governor of the state.
All his attempts to return to office were futile. In 2015, he contested for governor under the platform of Labour Party, became third and won six local governments in the state. He also dumped Labour Party (LP) and joined the Action Democratic Party (ADP) before he later joined the All Progressives Congress alongside Teslim Folarin who is now a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the All Progressives Congress.
EARLY YEARS OF OTUNBA ALAO AKALA
Born on 3 June 1950, at Ogbomoso in the Ogbomoso North Local Government Area of Oyo State, Alao-Akala had his elementary school at Osupa Baptist Day School, Ogbomoso. Alao-Akala proceeded to the Kamina Barracks Middle School, 5th Battalion of Infantry in Tamale, Ghana. Passed Staff College (Psc) 1990, Diploma in Business Administration (1998), Doctor of Civil Law (DCL) Honoris Causa, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso (2006), Doctor of Science (Political Science) Honoris Causa, Lead City University, Ibadan (2008).
Alao-Akala was enlisted as Cadet Inspector of Police in June 1974, at the Nigeria Police College, Ikeja. He was recommended for overseas training at the Hendon Police College, in London. He has also attended the Administrative Staff College, Topo, Badagry; the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos; Police Staff College, Jos; Command and Staff College, Jaji. Otunba Alao-Akala has participated as a Nigerian delegate at two INTERPOL conferences in Nice, France and in Málaga, Spain.
HIS POLITICAL LIFE
Otunba (Dr) Adebayo Alao-Akala started his political career as a member of New Dimension. He participated in the zero-party local government election of 1996 and later co-founded the UNP before its fusion with UNC to form UNCP. He participated in the Ogbomoso Federal Constituency (One) primary election of the UNCP in 1997. He contested and won the chairmanship seat of the Ogbomoso North Local Government along with seven councilors under the platform of APP in 1998. He was elected the vice-chairman of ALGON, Oyo State Chapter between 1999 and 2002. Alao-Akala founded the Ogbomoso Unity Forum, a political association which later joined the PDP. He was the Chairman of Ogbomoso North Local Government from 1999 to 2002.
Alao-Akala served as the Deputy Governor of Oyo State from May 2003 to January 2006. Following the impeachment of then incumbent Governor (Rashidi Ladoja), Alao-Akala was sworn into office in January 2006 and served for 11 months. In December 2006, the impeachment was overturned by the Supreme Court and Rashidi Ladoja was reinstated. Alao-Akala contested and won the gubernatorial election in 2007 under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and became the Executive Governor of Oyo state, serving a full term till May 2011.
On 8 December 2014, Otunba (Dr) Adebayo Alao-Akala defected to the Labour Party in Oyo State from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). On 10 December 2014, he formally declared his intention to re-contest in the gubernatorial election of Oyo State on the platform of the Labour Party in the February 2015 general elections in Nigeria. During his declaration of intent, all other party gubernatorial aspirants stepped down for him, thereby making him emerge as the Labour party’s gubernatorial flag bearer in Oyo State. On 16 December 2017, he defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in a huge ceremony in Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State.
In October 2018, Alao-Akala defected to the Action Democratic Party (ADP) where he won the gubernatorial ticket to contest for the office of Governor of Oyo state in the 2019 general elections (alongside Prof. Abideen Olaiya as Deputy Governor candidate). After 23 February 2019 Presidential and National Assemblies Elections, Akala defected back to the All Progressive Congress, thereby stepping down in the race to become Governor of Oyo state under the Platform of the Action Democratic Party.