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Foremost accountant, Akintola Williams reveals “secrets of longevity” as he clocks 103

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Lagos—Pa Akintola Williams, the foremost Chartered Accountant in Nigeria, turns 103 today, 9 August 2022. He was born on 9 August 1919. That was after the end of World War 1.

In a past interview, he revealed the secrets of his long life:

“The secret of my longevity is moderation. In everything I do, I strive to be moderate, and I mean moderate, a little of this and a little of that – not too much. Whether it is what you eat, what you drink, or whatever you do, just be moderate and you will live a refreshing, strong, and fulfilling life.

“When you are excessive in your daily life activities, you lose a life and its fantastic quality. But when you keep it moderate, you will not only be in control but enjoy life abundantly.

“Also, you have to endeavor to live a simple life, avoid controversies, conflicts, over-ambition, just live a simple life and life will be your friend.

“Please always take enough rest. I always observe my siesta, sleep about eight hours every day, and generally have enough rest. Your body is your priceless possession, so, please do not abuse it, for if you do, you will lose it.

“And please, do not play with exercise – mental, physical, and spiritual. The three go hand in hand. I still do my studies and attend to professional matters referred to me.

“For once you stop exercising your brain, you die literally. I keep fit and I do not live a sedentary life.”

Pa Akintola Williams who granted this interview to Vanguard in 2011 when he turned 92 was the first Nigerian to qualify as a chartered accountant.

He began his education at Olowogbowo Methodist Primary School, Bankole street, Apongbon, Lagos Island, Lagos, in the early 1930s; the same primary school his late junior brother Chief Rotimi Williams attended.

His youngest brother Rev James Kehinde Williams was a pastor in the same church. Olowogbowo Methodist Church.

According to his biographers, his firm was founded in 1952, and later grew organically and through mergers to become the largest professional services firm in Nigeria by 2004.

Williams participated in founding the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. During their long career, he has received many honours.

According to Tom G. Forrest in the essay, The advance of African capital: the growth of Nigerian private enterprise, published in the book, International African Institute (1994), Akintola Williams grandfather, Z. A. Williams, was a merchant prince from Abeokuta and his father Thomas Ekundayo Williams was a clerk in the colonial service who set up a legal practice in Lagos after training in London, England.

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Akintola was the older brother of Frederick Rotimi Williams, who later became a distinguished lawyer, and the late Rev. James Kehinde Williams, a Christian minister.

After his elementary studies at Olowogbowo Methodist Primary School, Lagos, Williams then attended the CMS Grammar School, Lagos.

He went on to Yaba Higher College on a UAC scholarship, obtaining a diploma in commerce. In 1944, he travelled to England where he studied at the University of London.

Studying Banking and Finance, he graduated in 1946 with a Bachelor of Commerce. He continued his studies and qualified as a chartered accountant in England in 1949.

According to Richard L. Sklar (2004), in the book, Nigerian Political Parties: Power in an Emergent African Nation, “Williams was one of the founders of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa society while in London, with Dr. Oni Akerele as president and Chief Obafemi Awolowo as Secretary.”

Williams played a leading role in establishing the Association of Accountants in Nigeria in 1960 with the goal of training accountants. He was the first President of the association.

He was a founding member and first president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. He was also involved in establishing the Nigerian Stock Exchange. He remained actively involved with these organizations into his old age.

Public sector positions held by him include Chairman of the Federal Income Tax Appeal Commissioners (1958–68), member of the Coker Commission of Inquiry into the Statutory Corporations of the former Western Region of Nigeria (1962) and member of the board of Trustees of the Commonwealth Foundation (1966–1975),

Others are Chairman of the Lagos State Government Revenue Collection Panel (1973) and Chairman of the Public Service Review Panel to correct the anomalies in the Udoji Salary Review Commission (1975).

He was President of the Metropolitan Club in Victoria Island, Lagos, Founder and Council member of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation and Founder and chairman of the board of Trustees of the Musical Society of Nigeria.

In 1982, Williams was honoured by the Nigerian Government with the O.F. R. Following their retirement in 1983, Tom G. Forrest wrote that Williams threw himself into a project to establish a music centre and concert hall for the Music Society of Nigeria.

In April 1997, Williams was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. for services to the accountancy profession and promotion of arts, culture and music through the Musical Society of Nigeria.

The Akintola Williams Arboretum at the Nigerian Conservation Foundation headquarters in Lagos is named in his honour. On 8 May 2011, the Nigeria-Britain Association presented awards to John Kufuor, past President of Ghana, and Akintola Williams, for their contributions to democracy and development in Africa.

LIFESTYLE

Establish drug rehab centers across Bayelsa, media expert tells Diri, laments prevalence of drug abuse among youths

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Abuja—A media expert, Mr. Sam Dogitimi has called on the Senator Douye Diri-led Bayelsa state government to set up a rehabilitation center for drug addicts in each of the eight Local Government Areas in the state to drastically reduce the impact of hard drugs on youths.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Sam lamented the prevalence of illicit substance abuse in the state, insisting that the ugly trend can be minimized if and only when people begin to see it as a societal problem.

Narrating his struggles with smoking and binge drinking in the past, the publisher of mangrovepen.ng expressed that he may have forayed into substance taking if not for God’s intervention in his life.

The Abuja-based media entrepreneur observed that nowadays girls have become bigger drug users than their male counterparts, urging people to speak up against the menace.

He equally called out those dealing in the sale of hard drugs and advised them to stop the illegal business, saying they cannot be destroying lives to make money.

The post reads in part: “I told myself I won’t smoke or drink again in my life. But two weeks after leaving the town, I was inside the club, drinking spirits and smoking cigarettes.

“It took me another year to stop cigarettes. Who knows if I would have graduated into taking cocaine, heroin, etcetera if God had not rescued me from the habit?

“So many people have gone mad smoking weed, skunk, cocaine, and other hard substances. So many people spend all their income and investments to satisfy the urge.

“So many fine boys and fine girls are now looking funny due to excessive intake of hard substances.

“I think the state government needs to provide, equip and fund rehabilitation centers across the eight LGAs, particularly in the council headquarters.

“Perhaps we should also start talking to our loved ones who can’t control their urge any longer for their own interest and ours too, as their addiction also affects us, directly and indirectly. I am pleading for us to do whatever we can to help reduce the negative trend in our communities.

“It appears some young girls are now doing drugs more than even their male counterparts and this disturbs me a lot. Let us not be quiet and allow our future mothers, fathers, and leaders to destroy themselves.

“It is my plea that, in doing the above, we must also commit to not condemn any drug user as most of the substances are highly addictive and it is beyond them to stop, hence the call for rehabs that will do their work perfectly.”

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LIFESTYLE

Sylva, Seibarugu, Degi, others hail Paga at 50

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Abuja—The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva on Saturday poured encomiums on Mr. Paga Anagha, a close domestic aide, on his 50th birthday anniversary.

Sylva who was represented at the event by the Senator representing Bayelsa East, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, applauded Paga’s cardinal virtues of patience, utility and honesty.

In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Public Affairs, Julius Bokoru, the Minister while congratulating the celebrant and his family averred that “there is quality in Paga’s 50 years and I am very happy to be here.

“Sylva appreciates you, he is happy with you, he is proud of you, you are indispensable. God will continue to show you His love, peace, fulfilment and longevity.”

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On her part, wife of the Minister and former First Lady of Bayelsa State, Alanyingi Sylva, described the celebrant as a loving brother from another mother.

“My marriage is what it is today thanks to Paga.  He is an integral part of my home, he is a blessing to me and I want to thank him for this,” she said.

Former acting Governor, deputy Governor and Speaker of the Bayelsa State House ofAsse, Rt. Hon. werinipre Davidson Seibarugu, represented by Hon. Joe Alakere described Paga as a dependable brother who is always a stickler for excellence and orderliness.

Guests at the event were thrilled to serenading songs from Singing Bird Agala and Diteh. Popular entertainer, Senibo and Kalai-tam Hamilton anchored the event as MCs while Pastor Ogo Uzodike, SA protocol to the Minister closed the event with a toast.

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LIFESTYLE

You can’t claim paternity of a child you abandoned, lady tells Ijaw men

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Brass—A businesswoman, Ms. Doris Dibite has condemned the attitude of some men who jettison their role as fathers in the lives of their children.

Doris who hails from Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State insisted that some Ijaw men after impregnating a lady, abandon her to cater for the child alone.

In an interview with our reporter, Doris revealed that she was a victim of such circumstances as a child and questioned why some men would want to claim the paternity of a child they abandoned.

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“It is sad that a man will impregnate a woman and abandon her with the child.

“After the woman suffers for years with the child and the child becomes rich or is about to get married the father will now come to claim the child.

“How can you claim a child that you didn’t contribute anything towards her upbringing,” she asked.

Doris suggested that “we should adopt the tradition of the Igbos whereby if a man abandons a child with the mother and the mother gets married to another man, the stepdad automatically becomes the father of the child.

“The child will bear his name and not your name or if the woman doesn’t want to get married, the child will answer her father’s name.”

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