Samuel Ládòkè Akíntọ́lá or “S.L.A.”was born in Ògbómòsó on July 6, 1910. He was a politician and who was renowned for his great oratory skills. He held the title of the highly revered Aare Ona Kakanfo XIII of Yorubaland.
Chief Akintola was a teacher in the 1930s and early 1940s. He left teaching to study public administration and law in England and returned to Nigeria in 1950’s a qualified lawyer. Upon his return, he teamed up with other educated Nigerians from the Western Region to form the Action Group (AG) under the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. As the deputy leader of the AG party, he did not serve in the regional government headed by its premier Chief Awolowo, but served as the parliamentary leader of his party in the House of Representatives of Nigeria. At the federal level he served as Minister for Health and later Minister for Communications and Aviation.
In late 1959 in preparation for Nigeria’s independence, the Action Group party took a decision which affected the career of Akintola, the party and Nigeria when the party asked him to swap political positions with Awolowo by becoming the premier of the Western Region while Awolowo who also was the national leader of the AG, would became the party leader in the Federal House of Representatives as well as the Opposition leader in the House.
The division of roles in the Western Nigeria government led to a conflict between SLA and Awolowo; the AG party broke into two factions leading to several crises in the Western Region House of Assembly that led the central/federal government, headed by the Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa to declare State of Emergency rule in the Western region and an Administrator was appointed. After a lengthy court battle, SLA was restored to power as Premier in 1963 and won in general election of 1965 not as member of the Action Group party but as the leader of a newly formed party called Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) which was in an alliance with the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) the party that then controlled the federal government.
Along with many other leading politicians, Akintola was assassinated in Ibadan the capital of Western Region on January 15, 1966 during the first military coup. The coup also terminated Nigeria’s First Republic.
SLA was married to Chief Faderera Abeke Akintola. They had five children, two of whom were finance ministers in Nigeria’s Third Republic (Chief Yomi Akintola and Dr Bimbo Akintola). Chief Yomi Akintola served as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Hungary and SLA’s daughter-in-law, Mrs. Dupe Akintola is Nigeria’s High Commissioner in Jamaica. His fourth child, Chief Victor Ladipo Akintola, dedicated much of his life to ensuring the continued accurate accounting of SLA’s contributions to Nigeria’s position on the world stage. Chief S L Akintola’s youngest son, the late Tokunbo Akintola, was the first black schoolboy at Eton College, enrolling two terms prior to the arrival of Dilibe Onyeama (author of Nigger at Eton).
Many institutions, including Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho were established in his home town and other Nigerian cities to remember him. Above all he practiced law.
Click below to listen to SLA’s 1965 campaign Speech:
Chief Ladoke Akintola 1965 Campaign Speech (Part 1 of 3)
Chief Ladoke Akintola 1965 Campaign Speech (Part 2 of 3)
Chief Ladoke Akintola 1965 Campaign Speech (Part 3 of 3)
Larry Diamond, Class, Ethnicity and Democracy in Nigeria, Syracuse University Press