News Analysis

Life and Times of Late Parakoyi of Ibadanland, Chief Bode Akindele

Chief Bode Akindele was born Eighty-Seven years ago, precisely on the 2nd of June 1932. His father, Pa Joshua Laniyan Akindele, was a Chief Tax Clerk for the whole of the Western Region and as such his position can be equated to that of the Chairman of the Inland Revenue today and his mother, Rabiatu Adedigba, was a wealthy Ibadan trader who was politically influential.

Worthy of note is the fact that Alhaja Rabiatu was the first woman to go on pilgrimage to Mecca in Ibadan.

Chief Akindele’s business empire operates under the name Modandola group of companies, named after his mother, which translates to ‘God, if you give me the wealth’.

Madandola group interests range from maritime to properties, manufacturing, real estate, investments, finance and flour milling with its headquarters in the United Kingdom.
Chief Akindele was not born with a silver spoon but through hard work and perseverance, he made his mark becoming a force to reckon with in the areas of trade and business.

His encounter with schooling was quite an interesting one. He would help his elder brother carry his school bag from Mapo where they lived to Baptist School, Idikan, Ibadan, trekking the distance. He later enrolled at Olubi Memorial School Ibadan, afterwards he attended Lisabi Commercial College, in Abeokuta for his secondary school education.

After completing his Secondary school education, Akindele and a couple of his friends had nursed the idea of traveling to the United Kingdom to study law, but the growth of his business activities eventually took precedence. Like his other peers, he was given money to obtain a passport but rather than go for the international passport, the young Bode, who was more business inclined at that time, used the money to place an order for a sewing machine which he sold at what one could call good profit.

His first paid employment was in 1952, as Secretary to an Assistant district officer and later as a Cadet Manager with the United Africa Company (UAC), where he was an assistant to the Expatriate Manager at Oyo. Akindele left UAC foods for the Western Nigerian Union of importers and exporters.

Young Bode Akindele realized that becoming a civil servant, which was his father’s dream for him, was not what he wanted to do. He had developed a good business orientation during his college days. This flair saw him helping his mother who had a factory in the north where dried meat is prepared for the market in the south.

He was one of two Federal agents out of a dozen in Lagos for whom the produce trade was profitable. He bought land in Agege, a Lagos suburb and constructed a warehouse where he stockpiled and graded Cocoa.

Later, he became a shipping agent, chartering vessels in London and using long time connections with the National Bank of Nigeria which had opened an office in London 1956, to finance his transactions.

During the 1970s, the group opened a large Roll-on Roll-off (RORO) Terminal and warehousing operation at Tin Can Island port. The RORO terminal company was the managing agent of the Nigeria Ports Authority for RORO terminals in all Nigerian ports. The group also went into fishing after securing four trawlers from Ghana in 1971.

 Obelawo Farcha fishing industries Ltd currently has a fleet of 28 trawlers while five shrimpers are under construction. In the early 1980s, the group expanded into boat building and ship repair as well as dry-dock facilities in a joint venture with Damen Shipyards of Holland.

A new phase in the development of the Modanola group began with the start-up of manufacturing and processing industries at Alomaja, a village very close to Ibadan. These included a large brewery, biscuit, plastics and soft-drinks (the largest single unit in Nigeria) factories, four match factories acquired from Lebanese owners and a large Flour mill with $80 million invested.

To honor his mother, the octogenarian and philanthropist decided to build the Aramed Medical Centre along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, Ibadan to assist human kind in the society. Just like the Modandola name was one of his mother’s names, Aramed is also named after his mother as it stands for Alhaja Rabiatu Adedigba Medical Centre and regards Aramed as the healing ministry of Bode Akindele foundation.

Chief Bode Akindele the Baba Ijo of Methodist Cathedral, Agbeni, Ibadan was a friend of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, Ibadan, a relationship that was sustained with an annual  festival of nine lessons and carols, held in his house in Alomoja and carried live on Radio Nigeria .

He died on the 29th of June 2020 at the age of eighty seven.

 Morenike Tony-Esan

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