Nigeria’s First Indigenous Accountant, Dies Aged 104

Nigeria’s First Indigenous Accountant, Dies Aged 104

Akintola Williams, Nigeria’s First Indigenous Accountant, He played a significant role in Nigeria’s independence.

Celebrated doyen of Accounting, Akintola Williams has reportedly passed away in the early hours of Monday.

Recently, the centenarian celebrated his 104th birthday on August 9th 2023 where he was celebrated by Nigerian President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu amongst other prominent Nigerians.

Born in 1919, Mr. Akintola became vast in the discipline of Banking and Finance during his years of study at the University of London , in which he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce in 1946. He went on to further his career by becoming a chartered accountant in England.

Williams returned to Nigeria in 1950 and worked as an assessment officer for the Inland Revenue until March 1952, when he left the government service and established Akintola Williams & Co. in Lagos. The firm was Africa’s first indigenous chartered accounting firm.

Williams’ clients included Nnamdi Azikiwe’s West African Pilot, K. O. Mbadiwe’s African Insurance Company, Fawehinmi Furniture, and Ojukwu Transport. He also worked for new state-owned organisations such as the Nigerian Electricity Corporation, the Western Nigeria Development Corporation, the Eastern Nigeria Development Corporation, the Nigerian Railway Corporation, and the Nigerian Ports Authority.

Williams was instrumental in creating the Nigerian Association of Accountants in 1960 with the purpose of teaching accountants. He was the organization’s first President. He was a founder member and the first president of the Nigerian Institute of Chartered Accountants. He also helped to build the Nigerian Stock Exchange. He stayed active in these organisations far into his retirement.

He served in the public sector as 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), member of the Commonwealth Foundation’s board of Trustees (1966-1975), 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 Revision Act. Other positions include President of the Metropolitan Club in Victoria Island, Lagos, Founder and Council Member of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, and Founder and Chairman of the Musical Society of Nigeria’s Board of Trustees.

Following his retirement in 1983, Williams devoted himself to establishing a music facility and performance venue for the Music Society of Nigeria. Williams was awarded a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in April 1997. for services to the accounting profession and the promotion of arts, culture, and music through the Nigerian Musical Society. In his commemoration, the Akintola Williams Arboretum is located at the Nigerian Conservation Foundation offices in Lagos. On May 8, 2011, the Nigeria-Britain Association honoured John Kufuor, former President of Ghana, and Akintola Williams for their services to African democracy and prosperity.

Akintola Williams, a Yoruba of chiefly descent, was one of the founders of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa organisation in London, with Dr. Oni Akerele, Nigeria’s first Surgeon, as president and Chief Obafemi Awolowo as secretary in 1949. Tinubu acknowledged this in a statement at the last birthday celebration of the accountant appreciating his for being at the “forefront for Nigeria’s Independence.”

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