Prominent businessman and former presidential aspirant, Chief Harry Ayoade Akande, is dead. He was aged 77.
A statement issued by his son, Mr. Olumide Akande, on behalf of the family said he died in the early hours of Saturday following a brief illness.
“Chief Harry Akande was an astute businessman of international repute whose legacy and influence cut across continents,” the statement said.
It however added that, “his greatest passion was for a better Nigeria that guaranteed equity and justice for all. It is our fervent hope that this will be a reality in the not too distant future.”
The statement described his passing as a huge shock to his immediate and extended family, friends, and associates.
Akande, who held the chieftaincy title of Agba Oye of Ibadanland, was born on March 3, 1943. He attended the Olivet Heights in Ibadan for his secondary education, before proceeding to the United States where he bagged his BSc in Accounts and Finance at Hampton University in 1967, and his MBA at the Northwestern University, Kellogg’s School of Management
He returned to Nigeria in 1970 and worked as financial consultant with KPMG Peat Marwick and Standard Oil Corporation. He established his own company, Akande International Corporation, in 1971, and became the president of New African Technical & Electrical Company (NAFTEC), a representative company of General Electric (G.E) America, which executed major Gas Turbine Electricity Projects at Ughelli, ljora, and Delta II-IV.
His company, in conjunction with Costain International, was involved in the Osogbo-Ede Water Scheme, which was then the largest water project in Africa at 35mgd capacity. Other projects executed by his company include Bauchi Township water supply scheme in 1988, financed by the African Development Bank (ADB) to the tune of $70 million; and Benin City and Warri/Effurun 35mgd water supply project in 1989 also financed by the ADB to the tune of $120 million.
In 1991, Akande’s company was appointed to oversee the complete rehabilitation and refurbishment of Nigeria’s National Art Theater.
He was one of the founding fathers of the then All Peoples Party (APP) which was the second largest political party at the beginning of the present democratic dispensation. He served as Chairman of the APP Board of Trustees.
Akande later ran for President on the platform of ANPP.