The doyen of Accountancy in Nigeria, Mr Akintola Williams was 99 yesterday, Thursday, 9 August, and he celebrated the event with his family and close friends. Prominen among the dignitaries who celebrated the day with him were Governors Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos state and Senator Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.
Other eminent Nigerians at the event were former Military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd); first Military Governor of Lagos State, Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson (rtd); Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; foremost banker and founder of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Otunba Subomi Balogun; legal luminary and philanthropist, Chief Chris Ogunbanjo; former ICAN Presidents, among other captains of industries and members of the diplomatic corps.
Mr Williams, the elder brother of late Chief Fredrick Rotimi Alade Williams (FRA), aka Timi the Law, is one of the few icons and nonagenarians of note within the Nigerian society, still going strong.
Pa Williams was born in 1919. His 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 England. He attended Olowogbowo Methodist Primary School, at Bankole street Apongbon, and CMS Grammar School, Lagos. He went on to Yaba Higher College on a UAC scholarship, obtaining a diploma in Commerce. In 1944, Williams travelled to England where he studied at the University of London, majoring in 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.
Williams was the first African to qualify as a chartered accountant. He founded in 1952, the first indigenous chartered accounting firm in Africa, Akintola Williams & Co in Lagos. He was a founding member and first president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). He played an invaluable role in the establishment of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
For his accomplishments, he was honoured with the Order of the Federal Republic by the Nigerian Government in 1982. And in April 1997, Queen Elizabeth also honoured him with the title Commander of the British Empire (CBE).
Pa. Williams was married to Mrs. Efuntiloye Mabel Williams (nee Coker), his dutiful wife, who passed away on Wednesday, July 8, 2009, at the age of 88. In his wife, Pa. Akintola found the definitive virtuous woman. Their marriage, which spanned over six decades was one of the firmest within the Nigerian social establishment. Mama Oye was able to show, in practical terms, and through her dedication to her family, the beauty of marriage. She was doggedly supportive of her husband in everything he did. Needless to say that; Mama Oye’s dedication to her husband was one of the mainstays of his career.
Those who knew Mama Oye would attest to knowing a woman of details. She very timely and procedurally too. Mama Oye was well admired for the way she doted on her husband. She was always concerned about what he ate and how the meal was prepared. The couple loved to dance together. The deceased will forever be remembered for the great role she played in the establishment of the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) and the building of the MUSON centre, Lagos. Indeed, many fondly referred to her as ‘Mama MUSON’. The fact was, Oye not only played a very prominent role in the land procurement and fund raising for the building of MUSON Centre complex, she also ensured that Prince Charles of Britain, who was on a visit to Nigeria in March 1960, laid the foundation stone of the complex. Similarly, Mama Oye played a prominent role in the establishment of the Victoria Island and Ikoyi Residents Association (VIIRA) in pursuit of her love for a safe and healthy environment.
The marriage between Pa. Williams and Mama Oye was blessed by two children -Tokunbo Williams, a London-based lawyer and Seni Williams, a computer specialist who is the Managing Director of Tara Systems Limited, and many grandchildren.