Alex Akinyele, former Minister of Information and Chairman, National Orientation Movement, died in London on Thursday, aged 81.
A statement by one of his sons, Constantine Akinfolarin Akinyele, confirmed that the Ondo chief passed away after a brief illness.
Although the cause of his death was not disclosed, it is believed that he died due to an age-related illness.
Here are 10 things facts you may not know about Akinyele, who served the country in many capacities.
- He was a graduate of English from the University of Ife, Now Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU).
- He was listed into the Nigeria Police as an Assistant Superintendent in 1967, but was later directed to join the Customs, as other 12 trainees recruit did not report to work because of the Nigerian civil war.
- After his 18-month training programme, the Customs Controller, Henry Duke, appointed him as the first Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs and Excise.
- One of the philosophies he held on to in life was that: “money does not guarantee happiness.”
- Akinyele was knighted by King Juan Carlos 1, Rey. De Espana on November 15, 1991.
- He went into business after retiring from public life. Akinyele became an industrialist and Executive Director of many functional Companies, as well as a philanthropist.
- He became the first secretary general of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), and he eventually became the President.
- Under his leadership, the NIPR liaised and collaborated with the university of Lagos, Akoka, and university of Nigeria, Nsukka, for more emphasis on public relations in their mass communication syllabus.
- Based on his achievements, former military president, Ibrahim Babangida, nominated him as a member of the Constituent Assembly, and later appointed him as the minister of information.
- Akinyele was also appointed the Chairman of National Sports Commission (NSC). It was under his leadership that a Nigeria contingent for the first time, won a bronze and four silver medals at the Olympics in Barcelona in 1992. It was also under his chairmanship, that the Super Eagles qualified for the FIFA World Cup for the very first time in 1994, and reached the second round.