Benjamin Olusola Akintayo (1934 – 2015)
CHIEF Benjamin Olusola Akintayo was born on April 24, 1934 in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State. He had his elementary education at Saint Paul’s School, Ado-Ekiti (1940-1942) and Emmanuel Senior Primary School, Ado-Ekitl (1943-1950). He later attended Ekiti Divisional Teachers’ College, lkere-Ekiti (1956-1957) and Saint Peter’s Teachers’ Training College, Akure (1960-1961). Even though he was not privileged to attend a Secondary School, he took up the challenge of private studies to enroll for both the G.C.E. Ordinary level and Advanced level.
His success in the University of London organised General Certificate of Education (Advanced Level) examination in January 1963 qualified him to enter the University of Ife where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History/Government in June 1966.The quest for knowledge led him to enroll for Audio-Visual Studies at the University of Lagos in 1974, for a certificate in Educational Technology.
Akintayo worked as a civil servant and in the public sector from January 1955 until his voluntary retirement into private business in 1980.
As a statesman, he had a most challenging political career. As early as 1952, he was already a Ward Secretary of the Action Group. He was also Secretary, Action Group Students’ Congress from 1963 to 1964 and Chairman, Action Group Students’ Congress from 1964 to 1966. Akintayo was also a member of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) of the then University of Ife Students’ Union and became leader of the SRC from 1965 to 1966. A prominent student activist of his generation, he became the first Chancellor de Exchequer of the University of Ife Students’ Union Government from 1964 to 1966.
These various challenges prepared him for a chequered political career in both the Second and Third Republics. He was nominated for commissionership position in 1982 by the Adekunle Ajasin administration. He later emerged as the Political Secretary and an Adviser in the government of the late Ajasin, then Executive Governor of old Ondo State in 1983. In the Third Republic, Akintayo emerged as the Chairman, Civil Service Commission in the old Ondo State (1992-1996). When Ekiti State was created, he was appointed the first Chairman of the Civil Service Commission from 1996 to 1997. The position marked his last outing in the public service in 1997.
As a civil servant, he taught in various schools from January 1955 to December 1960, January 1962 to August 1963 and between June 1966 and July 1970. His years in the civil service had a profound effect on him and contributed immensely to his successes in the private business world. He subsequently became General Manager, Union Distributors Limited, Akure (August 1, 1980 to September 30, 1983) and Chairman/Managing Director NOVA Enterprises Limited, Ado-Ekiti (1984-2004). He was a full-time agro-trader/farmer.
From his university days, Akintayo held several leadership portfolios such as Chancellor de Exchequer, University of Ife Students’ Union, Ibadan Branch (1964/1965); National President, Ekiti Students’ Union (1965); Headmaster, L.A. Primary School, lgbara-Odo (1958-1959); Vice Principal, Methodist Teacher Training College, Sagamu Ogun State (April-June, 1970); Head of Audio-Visual and Senior Education Officer, including Broadcasting, Ministry of Education, Ibadan (1970-1972.); Member, Joint Consultative Committee (J.C.C) on Education, Lagos (1970-1976); State Secretary, Nigerian Audio-Visual Association (NAVA), Western Region, Ibadan (1970-1976); Assistant Chief Community Development Officer, Ondo State (1980); State Secretary, International Year of the Child for Ondo State, “IYC 1979” Akure and Chairman ECIG “IVV 1985”, Ado Ekiti.
Akintayo attended an International Forum on ‘IYC 1979” in Budapest, Hungary (June 1979). He was Chairman, Ado Grammar School Board of Governors (1983-2004) and was Chief Executive, NOVA Farms and Foods Limited from 1984 to 2004. He was a member of the Juvenile Court Panel (1985-1990). He was also Secretary-General, Ado Progressive Union (APU), Ado-Ekiti.
A sound academic, Akintayo authored a book and many published articles in several newspapers and journals. He also presented papers at various international and local conferences.
A devout Christian, he was for almost a decade the Provost Warden of the Cathedral Church of Emmanuel when the very successful Bishop Oyelade presided as Provost of the Church.
Akintayo had a very successful marriage to the hard-working, dutiful and ever faithful Chief (Mrs.) Grace Akintayo, a seasoned educationist who was the first Principal of the Ondo State University Staff School. The marriage produced five children including Olumide Akintayo, Olutoyin Oyelade, Olukemi Fatuki, Adekunle Akintayo and Olubukola Otekalu. All the children are very successful in their various areas of endeavour, with the first son, Olumide, currently serving as the President, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) having distinguished himself in the pharmacy profession in the country.
The late Akintayo travelled extensively to over 25 countries of the world in the course of his duties including the United Kingdom, United States of America, West Germany, Hungary, Sweden, Norway, Senegal, Ghana, Liberia, Ethiopia and other African countries.
He received several awards including the National Youth Essay Award (1960); University of Ife Honours Certificate for Leadership (1966); Merit Award Winner, University of Ife Alumni Association (1991).
He was also conferred with the chieftaincy titles of the Atunluse of Aramoko-Ekiti (April 1992); the Atolu of ltaji-Ekiti, and the Atayese of Iropora Ekiti in 1993.
May his soul rest in peace Amen.
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