IT was another day of jollification and celebration for quintessential serial entrepreneur and fashionista, Chief (Dr.) Mrs. Onikepo Akande, OON, CON, former Minister of Industry when she turned 70 on Thursday, October 29, 2014, but chose to celebrate it on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Dignitaries from all walks of life felicitated with the beautiful woman of substance.
Chief (Dr.) Mrs. Onikepo Akande, OON, CON, was born in Lagos on October 29, 1944 to the family of late Mr. Alfred Adisa of Ile Otuwo Afobaje of Ibadan and late Mrs. Jadesola Adisa, nee Aboderin. She is the first of four children (all girls) of her parents. She attended Queen School, Ede; Queens College, Lagos and North London Polytechnic, London, where she read Accountancy. She later attended Harvard Business School, Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, where she trained as a professional and investment expert. She is happily married to Chief Muritala Adebayo Akande, MFR, chairman of Splash 105.5 FM, Ibadan. The marriage is blessed with children and grandchildren.
Dr. (Mrs.) Nike Akande is a two-time Minister of Industry. She is a director of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Director of PZ Cussons Foundation and so many other corporate bodies.
She is a recipient of national honours of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) in 2003 and Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) in 2014.
Her siblings are Olori Moji Abass, Mrs. Olaide Ogundipe-Alatise and Ms. Mercy Adisa.
AT THE RECEPTION
The reception held at Expo Centre, Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. It was organized by her husband, Chief Adebayo Akande, MFR to honour the beautiful woman that has been his soul mate for decades. The party was anchored by compere extraordinaire, Gbenga Adeyinka the 1st and music was supplied by BJ Sax.
THE RED CARPET
One unique thing about the red carpet was the pictorial voyage. The whole length of the red carpet on both sides was dotted with the pictures of the celebrant meeting with various world leaders including Queen Elizabeth of England and many African presidents.
THE WELCOME ADDRESS
The welcome address was made by the celebrant’s husband, Chief Adebayo Akande, after the opening prayer by Pastor Tunde Bakare. Chief Akande said allowing his wife to attend parties has certainly paid off going by the calibre of eminent personalities that graced her 70th birthday.
TRIBUTES AND ENCOMIUMS
It was tributes galore for the celebrant. Among the people who paid tribute to the birthday gal was Professor Akande, her father’s nephew who explained how diligent the celebrant was as a student. Dr. Lekan Are, her uncle, who said the celebrant and her siblings dreaded his presence in their younger days because of his disciplinary stance. Chief Ajibola Ogunshola, another uncle of hers, who is just three months older than her said they used to spend a lot of time together as children. Mr. Lugard, who was the celebrant’s classmate in primary school, former President Olusegun Obasanjo whose tribute was read on his behalf by his wife, Mrs. Bola Obasanjo, and Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi who was her colleague in the federal cabinet.
FASHOLA, AMOSUN LEFT EARLY
Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) of Lagos and Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun were among the three serving governors that honoured the birthday girl with their presence. The two, however, left early. While Governor Fashola left around 3.10 p.m, few minutes after the event started, Governor Amosun left at 4.00 p.m.
FOODS, DRINKS APLENTY
Certainly, all the guests had their fill of the foods and drinks that were served. There were enough to go around the tables many times. Ushers were constantly on guest’s neck asking them if they wanted more food or drink.
At exactly 5.45 p.m after the cutting of the birthday cake led by Governor Ajimobi, it was time to dance and the women were certainly eager to wriggle their bodies. For several minutes, they were on the dance floor digging it to the melodious music of BJ Sax.
Conspicuous among the women were Chief (Mrs.) Teju Phillips, Mrs. Nike Ogunlesi of Ruff and Tumble and Mrs. Olusola Oworu, the Lagos State Commissioner for Commerce and Industry.
At another time, Chief Ajibola Ogunshola, the celebrant’s uncle was moving around recruiting women to join in the dancing. Among the women he recruited was Mrs. Eniola Fadayomi, the former Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation in Lagos State.
‘I rejoice with my beloved wife…’
– SENIOR CHIEF ADEBAYO AKANDE, MFR, Husband
“I rejoice with my beloved wife on the celebration of her 70th birthday. It has been years of good companionship, achievement and success. People admire your beauty and charming smile, but I admire most of all, how you relentlessly pursue your goals and desires.
I am grateful that you outlived your mother, Mrs. Jadesola Adisa, nee Aboderin, who died at the age of 49 years. That has been your fear, but today as you see that age was only the beginning of great achievements in your life. At 54, you became a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. At 70? I can only wish you more beautiful years ahead and pray that the Almighty God will be with you always.
‘My sister with many names…’
– OLORI MOJISOLA ABASS
“My sister is a woman of substance who she combines brain and beauty If you give her an assignment, you can go to sleep. She will do more than is expected of her. She is a workaholic. She doesn’t get tired, I don’t know where she gets her energy from. She does not interfere in people’s affairs. If you say you do not want to walk with your legs that you want to walk with your head, that is fine by her, as long as you are comfortable with it. She minds her business, she does not step on people’s toes but if you step on her toes or if you do not allow her to do what she enjoys doing, then you are looking for trouble. Another thing is that she does not run people down, she does not criticize people. She advises, she will not force you to take her advice. It is left to you to sit down and weigh the two options, yours and hers and decide on which to take.”
‘Well done, sister…’ – LAIDE
“She is a very hard working and focused woman who does not tolerate laziness of any kind as she believes there are no short cuts to success; you must work hard for it. My sister is very time conscious and rarely late for appointments because she is very passionate about whatever she is doing or any assignment given to her. I must also say that Sister is a no nonsense and forthright woman. If she is not pleased with you she will say it as it is without taking it unnecessarily personal or keeping malice. One thing I really admire about her is that she minds her own business and will give advice when sought for to encourage you but she will not enforce her opinion on you.
Sister, thanks for what you have done for me and my family. I am very grateful and I appreciate you. I pray that the Lord will continue to protect and provide for you. I am proud of you; well done, ma.
Love you always my darling sister.”
‘Celebrating an extraordinary woman my sister’
– MERCY (Aye)
“There are so many things I admire about sister, one of which is her striking beauty. Another is her good sense of humour, she is fun to be with when she is in a relaxed and playful mood.
“Sister, you have been a blessing to so many and a pillar of support in so many ways. We are grateful. We love you very much and we are proud of you.
“As you clock the milestone age of seventy years, I pray that God will continue to guide and protect you. I look forward to writing a tribute at your 80th birthday by God’s grace.
“Enjoy your day, every bit of it because you deserve it.
‘Tribute to a shining star’
– DR. LALEKAN ARE
“Nike is elegant but very humble. She is caring, loving and generous. She is above all deeply religious. Our family therefore considers itself lucky to have been blessed by God with such an amiable, decent human being.”
‘NIKE is a detribalized Nigerian’
– CHIEF AJIBOLA OGUNSHOLA
“Whenever you behold a charming, successful and exquisitely sculptured lady like Nike, does it not occur to you to wonder from which parent the woman inherited most of her genetic endowments? When Nike smiles, or tries to suppress a smile, she looks exactly like her father; when she laughs and laughs aloud, she laughs the laughter of her mother. Let me put it this way: if you saw Mama Nike before seeing Baba Nike, you would conclude that Nike has her mother’s face. If you then encountered her father you would not but argue that she is a perfect combination of the best physical features of both parents.
Nike’s huge energy and high competitive spirit, the successes of which are also being celebrated today, reminds me particularly of her mother.”
– TOLANI ABATTI
– Pix by DAPO ADESEKO