…Beyond the Rolls Royce


Known majorly for his love for Rolls Royce, the late Bolu Akin-Olugbade was also a politician, who once aspired to lead the country, writes Tobi Soniyi

Yes, Bolu Akin-Olugbade, who died of complications arising from Covid-19 infection loved Rolls Royce and he bought not less than ten before he died. He died on Wednesday, January 13, 2021.
But beyond the Rolls Royce, there was more to Bolu known only to his close associates and relatives.

As a young man in his 30s, Bolu took interest in politics. Not many remember that he once sought to contest for the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
During the Ibrahim Babangida botched transition programmes for which the General was nicknamed Maradona, Bolu threw his hat into the ring.

While the late Chief MKO Abiola was preparing for the presidential election that eventually cost his life, his kinsman from Owu in Abeokuta, Boluwatife Akin-Olugbade was also preparing to run for the presidency from Ogun State.

The introduction of the Option A4 electoral system by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) led by Humphrey Nwosu meant that Abiola and Bolu would have to slug it out in Ogun State. Both were registered members of the Social Democratic Party.

The option A4, also known as the open ballot system, adopted for the 1993 presidential elections, required candidates to go back to their states to begin the process.

Abiola was forced back to Ogun State, where Bolu was already on the ground aspiring to be president.
Following interactions by elders and other party loyalists, Bolu eventually agreed to step down for Abiola. He did not only step down, he also committed his resources to the Abiola Campaign.
He was one of the few, who didn’t come to the campaign to collect money; he spent his money and time for the Abiola campaign.

If Babangida had not annulled the election, many had expected that Abiola would reward Bolu with a key appointment. This was not to be. The rest is history.

It was not clear whether his experience during the period or what Abiola was subjected to that persuaded Bolu to change his mind about politics. He consequently stayed away from politics. Instead, he channelled his energy into developing his business. And he succeeded.

He didn’t just stay away from politics; he also distanced himself from the social media and chose a private life.

Until his death, Bolu Akin-Olugbade was the Aare Onakakanfo of Owu Kingdom. He was also the Chairman of Owu Empowerment Foundation Board. His father, an equally very rich man in his days, Babatunde Akin-Olugbade, was Balogun of Owu Kingdom.

He gave his children including Bolu the best education money could afford. Besides, Bolu too had a successful law practice and majored in property development, construction and manufacturing, among others.

Until his death, Akin-Olugbade was the chairman of Bolu Akin-Olugbade Limited and Chairman GMT Limited. He made money but didn’t spend it alone. He was a philanthropy, who didn’t make noise about helping those in need.