“Life is miserable for me and my family” – Official driver of Awolowo, SL Akintola


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Despite being the official driver to late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Samuel Ladoke Akintola and Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo, 87-year-old Pa Olajide Olabode says his family lacks the basic necessities of life.

Olabode, who resides in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, revealed this in an interview with The Nation.

He spoke a day after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Ekiti Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi paid him a courtesy visit.

Fayemi, Osinbajo and Pa Olabode

Speaking about the journey of his life, Pa Olabode said, “I was the official driver attached to the premier’s office (Western Region). When Chief Obafemi Awolowo was Premier of Western Region, I drove him. After he went to Lagos to become leader of the opposition, Akintola became Premier; so, I was driving Akintola until 1962 when there was crisis in the region. I was also doing special assignments. I was usually assigned to drive every African Head of State that visited. Usually, they came at different times.”

He said he drove former Tanzanian President, Julius Nyerere, who was so impressed by his driving skills that he offered to take him to the East African nation as one of his drivers.

However, Pa Olabode said things have taken a turn for the worse for him since he embarked on voluntary retirement in 1977.

He said, “Life has been miserable for me and my family. I don’t have money to cater for our numerous needs. We have no bed to sleep on, no fridge, no television. I and my wife are sleeping on a mat while my children sleep on the tattered chairs in the sitting room. I am an old man and an old man cannot do much. I need money to eat good food and live in a convenient house where I would enjoy maximum comfort of life.”

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