By Nehru Odeh
There is something unique about Prince Gafar Aminu Akanni, FCA, the 28th Chairman of ICAN, Lagos Mainland District Society. Aside from the fact that he has blue blood, being the great-grandson of the 33rd Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Salau Akanni Aminu, he is accounting personified.
And it was for his sense of professionalism and giant strides that his family, friends and big names in the accounting profession converged on Airport Hotel, Ikeja Lagos, on Saturday 18 June 2022 to witness his investiture as the 28th Chairman of ICAN Lagos Mainland District Society and inauguration of the Executive Committee for the 2022/23 Chairmanship year. A very significant feature of the investiture is the presence of the Chairman’s aged father, Prince (Alhaji) Surajudeen Akanni Aminu as well as other distinguished guests..
It was indeed a day of celebration, music, goodwill messages and show of love. It was also a day of networking and affirmation of commitment to ICAN and the accounting profession. The huge gathering that witnessed the investiture showed not just the spirit of camaraderie and unity of members of the accounting profession in Lagos Mainland district but also their sense of professionalism.
The Immediate Past Chairman of the district, Dr Kenneth Okpala FCA, who was there with his wife, attested to this spirit of camaraderie that has become a hallmark of the district in his welcome address when he said: “You are welcome to the inauguration of exco of prospects. I call it exco of prospects because this present exco is filled with men of consequence, men that are devoid of tribe, men that will recognise the next man as a brother or sister to work together to break the yoke of ethnicity.”
Delivering the keynote address, the President, Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria, Mallam Tijani Musa Isa, FCA, who was represented by the past Chairman of Chairmen, Mr Emmanuel Nwaobodo, congratulated the Lagos Mainland District, which according to him, has been a forerunner in many aspects, a flagship of districts and a trailblazer since inception.
“Let me remind that our institute has come a very long way, the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria. We have weathered the years, we have weathered the storms, we have weathered everything. And I must say that we have come of age and we are waxing on.
“Therefore I like to appreciate the efforts of district societies, LMDS inclusive, in trying to mobilize our members all over the nation. As you are all aware, the district societies are clusters of our members in different states and cities, whereby our members are privileged to be together, to interact, to network, to share ideas, to cherish and experience the hallmark of our institute.
“And we are proud that the Lagos Mainland District Society has continued to fly the flag of the institute in their area of influence. To uphold the tenet of our institute and to make the district a haven of learning.”
The ICAN President also congratulated the Chairman and his exco, wishing them the best and assuring them that the institute will always be there for them as they have always been there for the district over the years. He also charged the new Chairman and his exco to raise the bar of performance and build on the efforts, labours and dreams of their predecessors.
After the new Chairman had taken the oath of allegiance, the President of ICAN, represented by Nwaobodo, presented the insignia of office to him. The Chairman then performed his first public assignment by inaugurating the 2022/23 Executive Committee.
In his acceptance speech, Akanni, who graced the occasion with his wife, Mrs Zainab Yemisi Akanni, welcomed the guests to his investiture as the 28th Chairman and the inauguration of the 2022/23 Executive Committee of the district. “We are highly honoured by your presence and wish to thank you all attending this event despite your tight schedules. We appreciate the sacrifices you have made and will remain indelible in our hearts,” he said.
Akanni then presented what he called the “deliverables” that the new administration will embark upon in the 2022/23 chairmanship year. And they include: Professionalism and Capacity Building, LMDS Building Project, LMDS Workshop, Annual Accountants’ Conference, Presidential Visits, Catch-them-young, Charity, Welfare of Members, Courtesy Visit, Membership Drive and Office/Staff Welfare and Training.
The President, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, CITN, Mr Adesina Adedayo, in his goodwill message, was full of praise for Akanni whom he described as a thoroughbred professional. “There is something unique about him. He is a gentleman. He is a professional. He is a well-bred one. In fact when there were reading his profile, I was asking how he has been able to remain ageless. He is looking younger and younger. In short far younger than his age. And I realize that the secret must be the home front,” he said.
Another distinguished guest, Mrs Sylvia Halim, while extolling Akanni’s virtues went down memory lane as she said she had always known that he (Akanni) would not only excel in his profession but wold also go far in other fields of endeavour.
“This is someone I worked with. You will hardly hear his voice. But when others are going up and down, doing one thing or the other, I used to wonder and I said to myself ‘one day this guy is going to grow up to be the governor of his State, Secretary to the Federal Government or the Accountant General of this country.’
“When I saw this invitation, I said no matter where it is holding I have to be there. He is one person that has my heart. He is a very good person. He is composed. The way he presents anything to you in any situation take it because you are getting just the way it is,” Halim said.
Okpala, the Immediate Past Chairman, who had earlier presented the summary of the district’s activities for the 2021/22 chairmanship year in his welcome address described Akanni as a gentleman.
“One thing about Gafar is that he is objective and truthful. He doesn’t like cheating. If he knows that something that is supposed to go to the right is going to the left, he will not agree. He is a wonderful brother. I wish him well.” Okapala noted.
Asked how he felt being made the 28th Chairman of the Lagos Mainland District Society, Akanni said: “I feel elated. I feel great to have been elected and trusted as Chairman of Lagos Mainland. It is a thing of joy and I pray and hope that I sustain the legacies of our forefathers, the past Chairmen of our district.”
Akanni also said he is on a familiar turf and well equipped to face the challenges of chairmanship. I have been in the exco for about 10 years. So I won’t say it is a burden because I have actually gone through various Chairmen. I have learnt through them. And I am going to put them into use,” Akanni, who has been a chartered accountant for over 15 years, said.
Any regrets being a chartered accountant? Akanni was unequivocal: “Certainly it is ICAN that made me who I am today. So there is no regrets about it. And I am happy to have been an accountant. Even I have a son who is also a chartered accountant. So that will tell you that I really love the profession,” he maintained.
Akanni was born on 5 February 1969 into the family of Prince (Alhaji) Sarajudeen and Alhaja Sherifat Akanni Aminu of Olubadan’s Compound, Yemetu Adeoyo in Ibadan. He is the great-grandson of the 33rd Olubadan of Ibadan Land, Oba Salau Akanni Aminu.
He had both his elementary and secondary education in Lagos, after which he obtained his BSc and MBA degrees at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife respectively. He is a member of several professional bodies in Nigeria.
Aminu is a seasoned financial, accounting and management consultant with over 32 years’ experience, out of which 29 years is at the senior management level. He is also a stockbroker and insurance brokerage practitioner.