In a recent post on social media, Ibadan based Broadcast journalist, Michael Olatunbosun shared an inspiring story about his employer, HRM Oba Adebayo Akande, MFR. Olatunbosun, who currently works at Splash 105.5 FM, said that he met Akande in 2014 and was immediately struck by his intelligence, ambition, and compassion.
Akande, who is the Chairman of West Midlands Communications Limited and the Ekarun Olubadan of Ibadanland, is a self-made businessman who has made a significant impact on the media landscape in Nigeria. He is also a philanthropist who is committed to helping the poor and vulnerable.
In his post, Olatunbosun recalled how Akande hired him on the spot after hearing about his work. He also said that Akande is a great mentor who has helped him to grow both professionally and personally. “You come highly recommended. And I have hired you already. But you have to meet….’ I fact, he wanted me to start working on his radio station immediately. Well, the Head of Programmes then, Toyin Adepoju, told him it was not ethical to do that, so he asked that I should be auditioned. We did the recording. And here we are.
The first time I met him was the very moment that I liked him. It was in the living room of his palatial abode, The Hermitage, right in the heart of Felele.
“Oba Adebayo Akande is an employee’s ideal employer. He told me that very day that he is always delighted to see his workers advance in their career and (especially) academic life. He told me that he doesn’t like employing people who have no ambition to progress in their line of work, or in life. And that is exactly what you will experience working at West Midlands Communications Limited, the parent company of Splash FM (Ibadan and Abeokuta) and Lagelu FM.
“Oba Adebayo Akande is a deep lover of deep intellectualism. He is a lover of knowledge and a serial consumer of books and information. He is an epitome of courage and an example of someone with a high, inexhaustible dose of grace.
“One of thing that amazes me about him? He is a bold and daring investor. Even at 84, the man is still investing as if he was 44! He just recently got the NUC’s go-ahead to start a university.
“The other day, I got a call from his PA. Baba wanted to see me. I quickly took my bath and ran to see him. And that day on my way home, my respect for him increased the more! It was about his dream for the West Midlands Open University. His compassion for the poor and vulnerable oozed through his big frame and tugged at my veins.
“‘I want a university for the poor. I want the child of a nobody to be able to attend my university. A very affordable school; more affordable than the public universities in this country. That is why it will be Open University format.’
“I was speechless! This was a man in his 80s investing hundreds of millions of his hard-earned money in setting up a university, only for him to say that it will not charge exorbitant fees!
*Oba Adebayo Akande is a role model, a compassionate entrepreneur and friend. He is a great son and lover of Ibadan – anything Ibadan. A pioneer in many things. A bold investor whose vision and establishment of the first private radio station in Oyo state has become a precursor to almost 40 radio stations in Ibadan today.
“…I don’t just like him; I love him. I will do anything for him. He is my hero.
“Oba Adebayo Akande is a role model, a compassionate entrepreneur and friend,” Olatunbosun wrote. “He is a great son and lover of Ibadan – anything Ibadan. A pioneer in many things. A bold investor whose vision and establishment of the first private radio station in Oyo state has become a precursor to almost 40 radio stations in Ibadan today.”
Indeed, the story of HRM Oba Adebayo Akande, MFR is one that exemplifies compassion, entrepreneurship, and the relentless pursuit of knowledge. As he continues to shape Ibadan’s media landscape and pave the way for affordable education through his visionary university, the legacy of this esteemed entrepreneur and philanthropist is bound to leave an indelible mark on generations to come.