The death of Mama Regina Olayinka Akande of Ibadan

THE death of Mama Regina Olayinka Akande, the mother of a great Nigerian, Harry Akande, has been reported. Mama will be buried in a few days time.

I was privileged to have attended her centenary birthday celebrations last year at the famous Anglican Church at Kudeti in Ibadan. It was a well attended service that attracted the presence of politicians, businessmen and women, the clergy and others. Humble Governor Ajimobi of Oyo State was equally at Mama’s 100 years birthday. A Bishop from Kwara State preached the birthday sermon.

I remember too well that Senator Ayo Fasanmi, General Alani Akinrinade and my humble self were all there to honour Mama at the celebration. The highlight of the service was the speech made by Governor Ajimobi in honour of the great woman. The Governor of Oyo State was at his best. He went to the historical roots of Mama Regina Olayinka Akande and paid glowing tributes to her contributions to the socio-political development of Nigeria. It was never a surprise to hear the disclosures made by Governor Ajimiobi. The father of the governor was one of the loyal members of the Papa Obafemi Awolowo-led Action Group during the First Republic. Ajimobi’s tongue is smooth and we were all treated to classy rendition of Mama Akande’s life and times. Mama’s son, Harry Akande, has also tried in his life contributions to justify Mama Akande’s efforts to bring up a son that believes in Nigeria. Though Harry is comfortable in life; he has, however, allowed his wealth to radiate in the lives of all those who have come across him in life (including this writer).

Harry has lived many of his years on earth abroad (in America). I came to know Harry and to become his friend through his association with Papa Awolowo. Harry Akande was very close to the late Chief Michael Omisade of Ile-Ife. It was Chief Michael Omisade who was always giving Papa Awolowo all Harry Akande’s contacts wherever Papa Awo needed them. Harry was so generous and amiable that those of us who were Papa Awolowo’s aides during the Second Republic simply became acquainted to him. Harry Akande has a University in West Indies. He has also been very good to Nigerians who over the years had needed his assistance.

It is a great pity that Harry Akande’s services to humanity and Nigeria were met with ingratitude, particularly during the regime of President Aremu Olusegun Okikiola Obasanjo (the less said about this for now, the better for all).

Harry Akande was intermittently home since 1990 to play politics. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Great Nigeria Peoples’ Party (GNPP) for some years. He is now a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). It is a pity that the PDP has not mastered well how to deal with Harry’s membership of the Party.

Harry is son to Mama Regina Olayinka Akande and a symbolic presentation of the sound home training given to this illustrious son of Africa. I am ever proud to be a close friend of Harry (though I am two months older than him).

Mama Akande was a very good friend of Mama H.I.D Awolowo. She was always around Mama H.I.D Awolowo in the years of Action Group during the First Republic in Nigeria. Mama Akande played crucial roles in the activities of the Women’s Wing of the Action Group. The pamphlet published on Mama Akande during her centenary celebrations last year contained this historical fact.

Women’s effective participation in world politics can never be down-played. We remember today the late Mrs. Golder Meir (who was a pivot of modern Israeli State). We cannot forget Madam Bibi Titi’s positive role in the East African politics during the 60s. Nor can one rubbish Mrs. Bandaranaike of Ceylon, Indra Gandhi of India and Madam Ang Sang Sukyi of Burma. Mama Akande’s quiet but effective role in the Action Group of the 50s in Nigeria must be seen in the life and times of the above mentioned women in world history.

In an interview Mama Akande did with a magazine just before her centenary birthday last year, Mama had said the following of politics:-

Mama Akande said politics cannot just be compared with what is obtainable nowadays:-

“Politics then was of service. It was about changing the society for the better. People went into politics to better their community, to provide infrastructure that will grow the community, so that everyone would have a sense of belonging. It is a different matter nowadays. People are in politics to make money for themselves; they kill and maim; they cheat and lie. That is not what obtained in our era. Politics was not of bitterness, but for the good of all,” she said.

The death of Mama Regina Olayinka Akande has clearly signaled the exit of a titan. We will remember her and we will note all the positive things she did as a woman of virtue!

Mama remained a Christian to the very end of her life!!

Mama Regina Olayinka Akande died five days after she had turned 101 years on earth. What a great woman?

Mama, Good-Night and Good-Bye!!! Her sword of life struggles now lie in the scabbard.


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