Akintola Williams: An exemplary gentleman and a guiding mentor

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Akintola Williams left an indelible mark with a trail of remarkable achievements. He made history as Nigeria’s inaugural chartered accountant and the pioneer president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

Additionally, in 1960, he assumed the role of the first president of the Association of Accountants in Nigeria, contributing significantly to the early development of Nigeria’s capital market.

Williams played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, where he served on the board of directors for an extended period.

Beyond his professional accolades, Williams was celebrated for his genteel disposition and his dedication to mentoring budding professionals.

Born in Lagos in 1926, he pursued accounting studies at the University of London and achieved chartered accountant status in 1949.

Subsequently, he founded Akintola Williams & Co., later known as Deloitte & Touche, in 1952, growing it into one of Nigeria’s largest and most successful accounting firms.

Williams’ mentorship extended far and wide, encompassing both his firm’s members and individuals beyond its confines.

His patience, wisdom, and generosity were widely admired.

He willingly shared his extensive knowledge and experiences, always making time for new proteges.

One of his second-generation proteges attested to his unwavering support for young Nigerians working in multinationals during the late 70s and 80s.

Williams provided invaluable guidance, even to those without initial connections to him.

Ibikunle Amosun, the former governor of Ogun State, cherished Williams as a father figure and source of guidance.

He recalled Williams’ support for his administration and the establishment of the Elderly Home Hostel in Abeokuta.

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, mourned Williams’ passing, describing him as an icon and the father of accountancy. Williams’ commitment to truth, honesty, accuracy, and integrity remained unwavering.

Williams’ legacy will endure in the hearts and minds of those he inspired.

He was an exemplary figure whose contributions to Nigeria will forever be remembered.

Born into a prosperous family in Lagos on August 9, 1919, Williams attended Olowogbowo Methodist Primary School and CMS Grammar School in Lagos. In 1941, he obtained a Diploma in Commerce from the Yaba Higher College.

He furthered his studies in the United Kingdom, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from the University of London in 1946 and subsequently passing the final examinations of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 1950.

Upon returning to Nigeria in 1950, he founded Akintola Williams & Co., marking the inception of the first indigenous accounting firm in Nigeria.

The firm rapidly expanded, becoming one of the nation’s foremost professional services providers, catering to businesses, government entities, and individuals.

In addition to his distinguished business career, Williams played a pivotal role in public service.

He chaired the Federal Income Tax Appeal Commissioners, the Coker Commission of Inquiry, and the Lagos State Government Revenue Collection Panel.

He was also a trustee of the Commonwealth Foundation and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation.

Williams received numerous prestigious awards and honors, including the Order of the Federal Republic and the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

He was recognized as a Fellow of ICAN.

Akintola Williams passed away on September 11, 2023, at the age of 104, leaving behind a legacy of excellence and mentorship that continues to inspire generations.

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