IT is shocking to hear of the death of Dr Anthony Akinola at the age of 75. He is a consultant, researcher, political commentator and legal theorist based in Oxford, UK.
While in faraway US and UK at different times in the last forty years where he earned degrees in Political Science and PhD in Law respectively, he has not lost touch with his roots and therefore abreast of the events in Nigeria and Africa. This has been the source of his infrequent interrogations, commentaries and analyses. His political engagements and discourse have been compiled into volumes of political readings.
He hailed from Ikere Ekiti, the most populated city in Ekiti at the time of his birth in 1946, to the family of Chief Josiah Akinola and Madam Aderinko Akinola. His father was a notable nationalist, a provincial associate of Dr Nnamdi Azikwe in the formation of National Council of Nigerian Citizens in the area.
He, Anthony Akinola, worked for over a decade in the old Western State’s public service as an agriculture officer before he left the shores of Nigeria for further academic pursuits in the 1970s.
He assumed whole heartedly the role of public intellectual as he shared his abundant wealth of scholarship with the general public on a daily basis. His writings resonated in this period in articles and essays published in academic and non-academic journals, newspapers and magazines. He also devoted quality time to the work of pan-Africanist organisation that he, along with others, helped to make Oxford its veritable base of operation.
I am one of the beneficiaries of his writings that infrequently appeared in the popular press including African Concord, West Africa magazine, Guardian, Punch, Tribune newspapers, etc. His writings were unique for his independent mindedness as these could not be associated with any of the political gladiators, unlike other popular writers and columnists whose purpose were to express their political opinion in favour of the ruling elites at the expense of objectivity. He rather had a bent for deep knowledge of political theories and praxis embellished in his writings, thereby making his writings stimulating and interesting to read; even when these were not from ideological points of view, but logical enough to convince the reading public the direction of his arguments.
We have come to share the same position on varied issues he has written on. He has no doubt covered a lot of ground in public discourse. There is hardly any political debate going on in the country and continent that passed without his intervention. The themes of his coverage include: elections, political system, education, transportation, health care system, Nigerians in diaspora, political parties, African renaissance, political history, secession, rotational presidency, American politics, Brexit, etc. Books authored by him include: The Search for a Nigerian Political System (1986), Rotational Presidency (1996), Democracy in Nigeria: Thoughts and Selected Commentaries (2013), Parties Coalitions in Nigeria: History, Trends and Prospects (2014).
I must confess that his writings added impetus to my reading and writing culture which I cultivated very early in life, but motivated by him being a close relative with blood relation. This further gave me confidence that I can also write like him. I cannot forget personal correspondences that we exchanged over the years before the era of email came to take over. His invaluable contributions to my mother’s burial (his sister) couple of years ago cannot be forgotten in a hurry. Before then, while at the University of Jos in the 1980s, I was surprised to receive the African Continental Bank cheque of 100 pound which was exchanged for #666.60 (Naira). The money lasted me for seven months as my pocket money from home was #100 per month. This was a boost to my financial status and fortunately it came at the time nothing came from home.
Rest in peace my dear brother; your contributions to humanity are well assured. Here lies our consolation despite our missing you at this moment of our political history when your guidance would have been very much needed. The nation is going to miss you for your frank talk against the ruling elites that only care for themselves at the expense of the poor and poverty they have caused to socialise.
Misgovernance that is the trademark of the ruling elites, as he rightly remarked in the series of his articles, has come to roost in being responsible for the preponderance of the state of insecurity and criminality experienced presently under Muhammadu Buhari leadership. Secessionist agitators are not left out in the prevailing act of anomie, infrequently shedding the blood of the innocents; yet the few people at the corridors of power care less about the plights of the ordinary and common people. Instead, they are allocating bogus remunerations to themselves while claiming there is no enough to pay minimum wage in not a few of the states across the country.
It is unfortunate that the Buhari leadership deflected the support of the masses and illusion the people had in him upon which he climbed to power in 2015. Now that he has failed, the people are now left with no alternative than themselves, charting a new way forward by making another alternative Nigeria possible.
Comrade Olamosu, National Secretary of Socialist Labour, writes from the Centre for Social Policy and Labour Research (SOPLAR), Signs and Wonders Shopping Complex, Ekotedo-Iyalobe, Dugbe, Ibadan.