Chief Bisi Akande was born on January 16, 1939, at Ila-Orangun in the
present State of Osun, Nigeria. His father, Pa Lawani Bamgbose Akande,
was a grandson of Pa Ladimeji of Ile Asudan, Isedo quarters, Ila
Orangun, who was one of the Generals in the Yoruba inter-tribal wars.
After his primary school education at Native Authority School, Oke
Aloyin, lIa-Orangun (1946-1952) and at Methodist School, Ode-Idanre
(in the present Ondo State) in 1953, Bisi Akande started life as a
shopkeeper with B.M. Akadiri at Oke-Ola in Odode, Idanre.
He was subsequently lucky to become one of the pioneering teachers in
the Obafemi Awolowo’s Free Primary Education programme (introduced in
January 1955) at Ijama village of Idanre in the then Western Region of
Nigeria. He later trained as a Grade III teacher at Divisional
Teachers’ Training College, lle-lfe (1957 and 1958).
During his teaching career in Muslim School, Omu-Aran (present Kwara
state, 1959), Muslim School, Ilawo-EJigbo (present Osun state,
1960-1961), Catholic School, Oro (present Kwara state,1961-1962), and
Mac-Job Grammar School, Abeokuta (present Ogun state, 1963), he
pursued further education through correspondence courses from Wolsey
Hall, Rapid Results College, and The School of Accountancy – all based
He joined the British Petroleum Nigeria Limited in August 1963 as a
Manager-in-Training in the Finance and Accounts Department, and later
attended several professional courses in several reputable
Chief Bisi Akande worked for British Petroleum from 1963 to 1979 when,
as Manager, System and Computer Services, he left (on a Leave of
Absence) to serve in the Government of the old Oyo State: first as
Secretary to the Government and, subsequently, in November 1982, he
became the Deputy Governor to Chief Bola Ige.
Side by side with his job with BP, between 1963 and 1978, Chief Akande
involved himself with various local town union activities. At various
times, he served as a member of the Ila Students Union; member, Ila
Grammar School Board of Governors; Convener, Ila Emancipation League;
Secretary and member of the Ila Union in Lagos; Secretary, Treasurer
and President (consecutively) of Ila Charity Club; Finance Coordinator
of Ila Electricity Planning Committee; member, Osun North-East
Consultative Committee, etc.
In the process, in 1971, he was appointed by the Military as a member
of Ila Local Government Management Committee and, in 1976, he was
elected unopposed as a councillor for Isedo Ward 1 into Ila Local
Government Council. In 1977, he was also elected to represent
Ila/Odo-Otin Local governments in the Nigerian Constituent Assembly
that wrote the 1979 Nigerian constitution.
It was Ayo Fasanmi who attracted Bisi Akande to Chief Obafemi Awolowo
and from then he joined the Committee of Friends through which he
became a foundation member of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). At the
1978 old Oyo State congress of UPN, Chief Bisi Akande was elected into
the state Executive Committee of the party. He subsequently got
elected as its State Deputy Chairman, thereby becoming a member of
UPN’s National Executive Committee under the chairmanship of Chief
After the Military seized power in December 1983, Chief Bisi Akande
was arrested along with Chief Bola Ige and he was jailed for 42 years
imprisonment for what the Military described as ‘conspiracy to
unlawfully enrich the Unity Party of Nigeria’. He was released in 1986
before the Military passed the decrees that later enabled the Military
itself to enrich lavishly the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the
National Republican Convention (NRC), the two political parties
established by the Military to plan its self-succession.
Chief Bisi Akande was vindicated by his own people who overwhelmingly
voted for him to represent Ila/Ifedayo/Boluwaduro/Boripe Local
governments at the Military-sponsored Constitutional Conference under
General Sani Abacha. After winning the election, he snubbed the
Military and boycotted the conference in obedience to the directives
of Afenifere and the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO). And that
was part of what led to the big “June 12” protests and the
cat-and-mouse bloody scrambles between NADECO and Abacha’s Military
He is the Founding National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In recognition of Chief Bisi Akande’s indomitable courage, fighting
spirit and a knack for adventures reminiscent of his
warrior-ancestors, he has been conferred with the traditional
chieftaincy titles of:
Asiwaju of lIa-Orangun (his home town), as well as Agba Akin of
Oke-Ila Orangun, Balogun of Aramoko-Ekiti (from where his ancestors
migrated to Ila Orangun during the Yoruba wars), Jagunmolu-Oodua of
Ijebu-Ife, Apesin of Ilashe-Ijesa and Bashorun of Ilobu.
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