Billionaire industrialist, serial entrepreneur and philanthropist, High Chief Bode Akindele is dead.
He died this morning at the age of 87. The death was confirmed by another Ibadan high chief, Akogun Lekan Alabi.
Akindele, who held the title of Parakoyi of Ibadanland was the Chairman of Madandola Group, an octopodial entity with diverse high value interests including shipping, real estate, light industries, manufacturing, finance and commodities.
Born on 2nd of June 1932, his father, Pa Joshua Laniyan Akindele, was a Chief Tax Clerk for the whole of the Western Region and his mother, Rabiatu Adedigba, was a wealthy Ibadan trader who was politically influential. Alhaja Rabiatu was the first woman to go to Mecca in Ibadan.
Chief Akindele’s business empire, the Madandola Group has interests spanning from maritime to properties, manufacturing, investments, finance and flour milling with its headquarters in the United Kingdom.
The Fairgate Group, (a company owned by Chief Akindele, located on Bond Street, London), deals mainly in properties. Some of its tenants include giant retail stores like Sainsburys and Asda. The Fairgate Group is said to be worth over a billion pounds.
Among the subsidiaries of the Madandola Group are Standard Breweries, Diamond Foods Ltd, United Beverages Ltd, Associated Match Industry all based in Ibadan and Standard Flour Mills in Lagos.
He attended Olubi Memorial School Ibadan and later, 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 Akindele, who was more business inclined at that time, used the money to place an order for a sewing machine which he sold at good profit.
He got his first paid employment in 1952, as secretary to an assistant district officer and later became 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.
Akindele realised that becoming a civil servant, which his father had desired, was not what he wanted to do. He had developed a good business orientation during his college days. He helped his mother who had a factory in the North where dried meat is prepared for the market in the South.
He registered his first company at the age of 20, sourced for goods from anywhere in the world as he sold everything, including medicine, which he got from a pharmacy in Lagos.
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 80ft by 350ft warehouse where he stockpiled and graded cocoa.
The importation of goods and the high volume of cocoa exports led to an interest in clearing and forwarding and road haulage. A company was set up (Coastal Services Ltd.) and that led to the termination of patronage with Umarco and Panalpina.
Later, he became a shipping agent, chartering vessels in London and using old school connections with the National Bank of Nigeria which had opened a London office in 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 started fishing venture after securing four trawlers from Ghana in 1971. Obelawo Farcha Fishing Industries Ltd currently has a fleet of 28 trawlers and five shrimpers. 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 group began with the start-up of manufacturing and process 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.
The group has also been active in construction, real estate and equity investment and farming. Its first experience in construction was a joint venture with DC Savage, an American company that built the US embassy in Lagos and the Lagos Durbar Hotel. Savage left Nigeria and the Modandola Group sustained some losses before it closed down operations. The Group opened a full service-advertising company, Oricom (Nig.) Ltd in 1983. Initially, the agency did well and made publicity through the ‘Oricom Lectures’, sponsorship of beauty competitions and sporting events.
To honour his mother, the philanthropist decided to build the ARAMED Medical Centre in 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.