As a child who grew up without a steady silver spoon in my mouth in the ancient city of Ile-Ife and Olodi Apapa at Ajegunle in Lagos, with the sole support of just my mother, I pulled myself from this stagnancy and despair. I faced the future with uncommon courage and I struggled hard to utilize slight opportunities into useful products. That was why I became determined to create opportunities in various services I encountered be it as a public servant in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), as a Nollywood artiste and finally, as a politician.
In one of my usual ways to search for knowledge and to naturally seek for wisdom, I made it a principle to visit the likes of Gen Alani Akinrinade, Chief Femi Akande, Chief Oyekunle Alex Duduyemi, Prince Lambua Aderemi, Chief Paul Amadi and many more respected figures in our society.
Gen Alani Akinrinade, of course, is my great uncle, my father and someone I have the greatest respect for. Apart from being my guidance, he is someone I hold in high esteem and whom I fear not to have any case of embarrassing moment in anyway. I hate to think he will frown at any of my actions due to how much I adore him. His voice represents a voice of wisdom in my life as he tells me exactly what my late father will tell me; most times, very blunt and somehow hurting but that usually creates much reasons for me to be upright and disciplined to the extent that I couldn’t embark on any move or step without tactically and most time indirectly seeking his opinion and position on any issue(s).
In one of such my regular visits, we were walking around in his farm on a beautiful Saturday when I spotted some youths working at a spot on his farm of many years of age casting some pillars. To see such multitudes of youths working on his farm as iron benders, carpenters , bricklayers apart from just the farmers, arose my curiosity and I was left with no other choice than to say: “Sir, are you equally making electricity poles for Power Holding or what are all these? I queried”. He laughed and replied that “those poles are to serve as pillars to support some plants l newly introduced on the farm. These will last longer than the usual poles made of wood”, he explained.
Further movement on the farm brought me face to face with the very plant he spoke about. I must be quick to confess that I had never seen such a plant before in Nigeria. My further enquiries from him revealed that it’s a plant that will not start to produce for him until five years and that they are for exportation. This experience of mine is probably a clear way to explain the perspective at which I can better describe this uncommon great personality who believes in planning well today for a better tomorrow.
Lt. General Ipoola Alani Akinrinade CFR, FSS was Chief of Army Staff in Nigeria from October 1979 to April 1980, and then Chief of Defence Staff until 1981 during the Nigerian Second Republic. He was born on
3rd of October 1939 at Yakooyo in Ife North Local Government Council Area of Osun State. This courageous and uncommon personality got enlisted into the Nigerian Army in 1960 and rose to the highest hierarchy in the profession.
The encounter I recalled today was in 2012, when he was slightly about 70 years of age and when many would rather think less of their future but live within their means. I mean, they prefer to live within their retirement benefits and most of them give up about the future and let the years later take care of them. Pa. Akinrinade is very exceptional.
Today, while some personalities in his age bracket are still struggling to feed at old-age, Pa Akinrinade is living comfortably well because he was futuristic enough to have planned for the rainy day. He care not about any political animal nor ready to bend principle to please any soul whatsoever. He is not the type that recourse to public fund or frown to tell the truth as it is no matter the calibre.
Gen. Akinrinade is a man who had seen it all in life and there are so much to learn from him. He taught me how to be self-reliant, contented and how to legitimately face life with determination to succeed.”Start to think outside the box” was his recent words that i keep reechoing in my heart. Today, to God be the glory for I am not doing badly.
It is my great joy to rejoice and celebrate this iconic man as he clocks 80 years today and still waxing stronger, hale and hearty in the land of the living.
You are, no doubt, a living legend with exemplary characters and my prayer for you on this special day is to live long to witness many more of this day in good health and sound state of mind in the mighty name of God. Amen.