Samuel Akintola: A Complex Legacy in Nigerian Politics

by Duke

Samuel Akintola (1910-1966) was a prominent Nigerian politician, lawyer, and orator. He played a significant role in the political landscape of Nigeria during the mid-20th century. Here are key aspects of his life and contributions:

Early Life and Education

Samuel Ladoke Akintola was born on July 10, 1910, in Ogbomosho, present-day Oyo State, Nigeria. He received his early education in Nigeria before traveling to the United Kingdom, where he studied law. Akintola was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in London, returning to Nigeria to practice law.

Political Career

Akintola’s political career began in earnest in the 1940s when he joined the Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM). He later became a member of the Action Group (AG), a political party founded by Obafemi Awolowo. Akintola quickly rose through the ranks, becoming the deputy leader of the AG.

In 1953, Akintola was appointed as the Minister of Labour and later held various ministerial positions in the Western Region, including Minister of Communications and Aviation. His tenure in these roles was marked by efforts to modernize infrastructure and improve labor conditions.

Premier of Western Region

In 1959, Akintola succeeded Obafemi Awolowo as the Premier of the Western Region. His time as Premier was characterized by significant political tension and rivalry, particularly with Awolowo, who had become a key opposition figure. These tensions culminated in a split within the Action Group, leading to a political crisis in the Western Region.

Political Turmoil and Assassination

The political crisis escalated, and Akintola was dismissed as Premier in 1962 by the Federal Government, which declared a state of emergency in the Western Region. However, he returned to power in 1963 after forming a new political party, the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), which aligned with the ruling Northern People’s Congress (NPC).

Akintola’s second tenure as Premier was marred by violence and unrest, contributing to the broader instability in Nigeria. This period of political turmoil eventually led to the military coup of January 1966. During this coup, Samuel Akintola was assassinated, marking a tragic end to his political career.


Samuel Akintola’s legacy is complex. He is remembered for his contributions to Nigerian politics and his role in the development of the Western Region. However, his political maneuvers and the violence that marked his tenure have also been subjects of controversy.

His name endures in various institutions, including Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) in Ogbomosho, which stands as a testament to his impact on education and development in Nigeria.

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