Life and times of Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala

BORN on June 3, 1950 in Ogbomoso, Ogbomoso North Local Government Area of Oyo State, the trajectory of the life of Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala is that of a hitherto unknown boy who, through the amazing grace of God, rose to become a household name, especially in politics, and attain great heights in life. 

The tragic death of his father in a road accident in 1952 single-handedly threatened to swamp his dream of getting to the cusp of his life aspirations but providence miraculously made him find his path to the top. 

He was the sixth governor of Oyo State and, according to Professor Tunji Olaopa, “Like him or not, Otunba Alao Akala is a force to be reckoned with in Oyo politics.” 

He had his primary education at Osupa Baptist Day School, Ogbomoso. 

Afterwards, he attended Ogbomoso High School, Kamina Barracks Middle School, 5th Battalion of Infantry in Tamale, Ghana and Government Technical College, Tamale, Northern region of Ghana. 

He started his early career as a police officer. 

Alao-Akala was enlisted as Cadet Inspector of Police in June 1974, at the Nigeria Police College, Ikeja. 

Alao-Akala held several command positions in the Police Force until he, in September 1995, retired from the Nigeria Police as the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Logistics and Supply, Oyo State Police Command, Eleyele, Ibadan. 

Alao-Akala prided in having a meaningful and impactful sojourn in the Nigeria Police Force. 

Alao-Akala was an Ogbomoso man true and true and was always keen on spending weekends at his Ogbomoso home, even when he was governor. 

Whenever Alao-Akala was in Ogbomoso, several residents of the town, in large numbers, would usually visit his home either to seek advice or support, in one way or the other. 

It was Ogbomoso first for him as he was always passionate about ensuring that Ogbomoso was in the limelight of developments in Oyo State and Nigeria, at large. 

Many of his admirers fondly still call him “Brother Bayo”. 

No one would speak ill of Ogbomoso where Alao-Akala was without being rebuked. 

During this time as governor, Alao-Akala was keen on the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) being solely owned by Oyo State. 

He spoke English, Yoruba and Hausa languages fluently. 

After about 11 years, a Court of Appeal sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State had only discharged Alao-Akala over N11.5 billion corruption charges levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). 

Alao-Akala was renowned as an Ogbomoso politician that challenged the Ibadan hegemonic dominance. 

Among those “Omo Iya Alaro” identified as crucial to achieving his heights in life are the late Chief Sunday Adewusi, late Chief Lamidi Adedibu and President Olusegun Obasanjo. 

In aligning with Adedibu, the archetypal godfather, and his guerilla-type politics, Alao-Akala was motivated by what he called the “Ogbomoso political behaviour.” 

He was able to ride the formidable dynamics of his Ogbomoso grassroots politics into the fortress of Ibadan realpolitik, and not only won but also became a godfather himself. 

The late Chief Lamidi Adedibu was the indefatigable avatar of Oyo politics. 

Though Adedibu held sway as a force in the PDP, he was sufficiently pragmatic to immediately recognize how Alao-Akala could inject the influential Ogbomoso bloc into his own political complex calculation. 

Adedibu recognized a fellow populist, and power broker. 

Alao-Akala started his political career as a member of New Dimension, a political association of progressive young elements. 

Alao-Akala founded the Ogbomoso Unity Forum, a political association which later joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). 

He participated in the zero-party local government election of 1996. 

He contested and won the chairmanship seat of the Ogbomoso North Local Government along with seven councillors under the platform of All People’s Party (APP) in 1998. 

He was the Executive Chairman of Ogbomoso North Local Government from 1999 to 2002. During his tenure as Local Government Chairman, he was elected vice-chairman of Association of Local Government of Nigeria (ALGON), Oyo State. 

Alao-Akala served as the Deputy Governor of Oyo State from May 2003 to January 2006. Following the impeachment of then-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 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and became the governor of Oyo State, serving a full term till May 2011. 

On 8 December 2014, Alao-Akala defected from the PDP to the Labour Party, the platform upon which he contested the 2015 governorship election of Oyo State. 

He later left the Labour Party for the Action Democratic Party (ADP). 

In another political party movement, Alao-Akala, on 16th December 2017, formally defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at a huge ceremony in Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State. 

Upon his joining the APC, the then leader of the party, late governor Abiola Ajimobi, approved of Alao-Akala becoming state chairman, Elders Advisory Council of the APC. 

As chairman of the advisory council, Alao-Akala was tasked with the responsibility of harmonising the factionalised Oyo State chapter of the APC. 

He held this role until his death on Wednesday.

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