FOR a man to swim across a big ocean, for him to sojourn across the arid with or without oasis to cool off, for him to traverse the hills and uphills of life, he must have combined the wisdom of a fox with the strength of a lion. For a fox could recognize a trap and does not have a super strength of a lion.
One man that has seen it all in life and politics of power is former governor of Osun State, now the National Chairman of Action Congress (AC), Chief Abdukareem Adebisi Bamidele Akande.
Though, the cerebral politician has stepped into the club of septuagenarians, as he clocks 70 years on January 16, 2008, he exudes confidence and displays a sharp wisdom of a man in his early 30’s. Witty as he is, the Asiwaju of Ila-Orangun Kingdom, has proven to the world that some men could still bestride two worlds like colossus.
The Jagunmolu of Ijebu-Ife had treaded the bureaucratic set-up without a query, before moving from the post of a councillor to the governor without blemish, and to a book maker, he is a trail-blazer in any life of the man.
The astitute politician got into politics from the grassroots via the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s school of thought, and through principle and loyalty from the cardinal programmes of his progressive political affiliation, Akande triumphed and moved up the ladder; Secretary to the State Government and the Deputy Governor of old Oyo State and eventually a governor of Osun State between 1999 and 2003.
When the septuagenarian politician mounted the saddle, he went straight to work, building the State of the Living Spring from the scratch, and finally left the state better than he met it in 2003. Akande as a governor weathered a serious storm of opposition, ranging from a section of Labour that was said to have had an allegiance with an opposition party then, an estranged deputy governor and some detractors who fell out from the spoil of office; but with a unusual thick skin and unalloyed constituency, he also triumphed.
Via interviews, talk shows and political gathering, the essential Awoist has bared his mind on several issues, as touching the politics, economy and governance brilliantly and that has further distinguished Chief Bisi Akande from other politicians in this part of the world.
One thing however works for this achiever; sincerity of purpose, the factor that has enhanced his simplicity and focus. Those who do not like Bisi Akande may not agree with his style, but surely no one would fault his integrity in service.
Chief Bisi Akande is well-read and a good student of history. He has criticized the present arrangement called federal system of government. He canvassed for autonomy of each organ and tier of government and he did exactly so, while he superintended Osun State.
It was reported that Chief Akande as a governor did not deduct a kobo from the federal allocations accruing to the councils in the state, a situation that afforded the councils under his administration to execute projects and programmes that suited their purposes.
Bisi Akande as a governor did not believe in billboard showcasing achievements, but his work spoke volumes, as roads constructed across the state, projects executed and the marvelous state-of-art-secretariat he built coupled with employment drive of the artisans and business men and women in the state are yet to be rivalled, a scenario that has positioned him as a bench-mark for any politician in power, a nemesis for a lazy governor and a torn in the flesh of unscrupulous politicians.
By GOKE BUTIKA