Akinwole Akinwale is an Ogbomoso-born socialite and businessman. He is well-known home and abroad, one of the young people who have taken the centre stage of the Nigerian social circle. He spoke on some issues in this interview.
Could we know more about you?
I am the son of late Chief Magistrate Olusanmi Emmanuel Akinwale, who died about two decades ago. I attended Apostolic Primary School, Olopemarun, Adeniran Memorial Grammar School and then completed my secondary education at Ogbomoso High School. I proceeded to St. Andrew College of Education where I studied English Education and further attended Lagos State University, Ojo where I obtained Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature.
How was your childhood like?
My growing up was very interesting. I come from a nuclear family and good Christian home. I was a young boy when my father died in 1985. He was well-known to be loving, caring and passionate about the welfare of his children. He was very concerned about our lives. Despite his very tight schedules, he was always monitoring our movement from church to school and so on. That is why I said my growing up was very interesting.
How close are you to home, I mean your home town?
I am a grassroots man. I told you earlier that I grew up in Ogbomoso. That is where I had my primary and secondary education. Even when I was at St. Andrews College of Education, I was always coming home every weekend because it is just about an hour’s drive. Even when I was in the U.K, I used to come home every year. I feel better being at home in the midst of my people. People from outside are always shocked when they see me socialize with my people at home. This is exactly what my father was doing when he was alive. He would even play the local game called ‘Ayo’ with the people to show his sense of humility. Ogbomoso people are highly industrious and they are like the Igbos in Yorubaland, I personally love going home. What amazes me anytime I come home is that the town is always populated. This is the reason we have decided to organise a carnival called Ajilete Carnival. The aim is to encourage our people to come home, know themselves and reunite with old friends and families.
How did you come about the carnival?
I am not the sole owner of the idea but one of the associate members gave the opportunity to chair the organisation. We just decided to start it in order to make it a symbol of unity. We have Christians, Muslims and traditional worshippers among us, we want the unity to continue. Though our forefathers are gone, we want to be united more than before. That is the reason we picked 28th of December to celebrate. We will invite notable artistes in the country. The likes of 9ice, who is a son of the soil, DJ Spinall, Olamide and other indigenous artistes will be performing for us. It is going to be a 24-hour programme that will start at 10 am from the palace, then notable four centers in town and end up at the Ogbomoso Stadium.
What are the benefits for the people?
It is a non-profit project; the show is free and we will not collect money from anyone. Anybody that attends will not want to miss the next edition. It is going to be an avenue to interact and showcase our businesses. We won’t permit any form of hooliganism or thuggery.
As a socialite, what other things does your town lack that you want to put in place?
I can’t say we lack anything because there is no area of human endeavour that we have not excelled. Be it entertainment, military, civil service and the rest. But we think it is high time we started bringing our businesses to Ogbomoso so as to promote the entertainment sector of the town because we have rich cultural heritage that we must preserve and showcase to the world.
Does the carnival have political undertone?
For any reasonable man that God has blessed, he must be able to give back to the society. We are bringing in many music promoters both local and foreign based. For example, Aquila Records’ CEO, Sina PELLER, artistes and DJs are coming to see our talents. It is an avenue to promote talents but it is not a talent hunt show. Therefore, we don’t have any political gain because I am a complete businessman.
What do you do for a living?
Immediately after my education, I served in Abia State as the Personal Assistant to the then Speaker, Rt. Hon. Stanley Ohajuruka, I covered proceedings and prepared his daily schedules. Immediately after my service year, the speaker wanted to give me employment but I declined. I then travelled to the United Kingdom until I returned eight years ago to start my own company named Black Edge Nigeria Limited. We are into constructions, physical planning, haulage and entertainment.
How did you come about construction, having studied English?
I discovered that I have passion for building. When I was young, I would always go to construction sites. Since then, I have wanted to go into it. I have been able to turn my passion into vision. What I did was to employ professionals like architects, civil and construction engineers and the rest. Those are the people that God used to fulfill my dream.
As a socialite, which area do you think Nigeria should improve on to bring about development and peace?
Our government should pay more attention to the entertainment industry. We have raw talents in sports too. When Nigeria is playing football, that is the only time people come together irrespective of their tribe or religion. Why can’t we develop and encourage our children and their skills? Government can send some of them to Europe for better knowledge. Let us promote human capital development.
Most musicians are known for praising you, how do you manage this?
I thank God that I am not a mad man because it is only a mad man that can’t be praised. Anytime they do that, I appreciate them because it is grace. Such praises don’t get into my head because I believe attitude is everything, so I chose a good one.
What are the things you learnt from your late father when he was alive?
Like I said earlier, one of the things I learnt from him is that parents must make their children know what is good in life. There is nothing anyone can achieve without sound education. It is good to give your children proper education.
With the way things are going, many people believe that the future of the country is bleak. Do you agree with this?
I totally disagree because the present administration has done a lot of things that we might not see the effect now but has paved way for our future. They are fighting corruption. Their economic mechanism is not bad. The Treasury Single Account is saving us a lot of money. They are preaching to us that being in government is to serve and not to make money. The beginning is rough but I believe we are going places.
What is your advice to the youths?
My advice to them is to be determined and go for their goals.
What is your philosophy about life?
My philosophy about life is to live a life that is meaningful and make impacts on others in all forms available.