Chief Akintola Williams, the first African to qualify as a chartered accountant, clocked 99 on Thursday.
In his honour, a special birthday reception was held at his Lagos residence, and was attended by dignitaries such as Akinwunmi Ambode, Governor of Lagos State and Senator Ibikunle Amosun, his Ogun State counterpart.
Speaking at the event, Ambode described the celebrant as “a true Nigerian who worked assiduously to lift up the country”.
He said Williams deserves to be celebrated, being the “doyen of accountancy profession and an elder statesman” and “for his contribution to the growth and development of the country”.
“The main reason we are here is to celebrate a true Nigerian and for somebody who has actually contributed to the development of Nigeria and he is still alive at 99, is worth celebrating and this is like a prelude to the centenary that we are waiting to celebrate next year, and that is why you can see that Ogun State Governor is here too,” Ambode said.
“Apart from the fact that Chief Akintola Williams is the Doyen of the Accountancy Profession, we see him as a founding father of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN); he is also the founding father of the Musical Society of Nigeria. So, he has too many parts and this is one Nigerian whom we are proud of, and we are willing to celebrate him every day.”
He particularly commended Williams for his role in the development of Lagos, saying the state government would continue to celebrate true Nigerians like him.
“That I am here today is more or less to say a big thank you to him for lifting up Lagos, for lifting up Nigeria and we also wish him well on behalf of all Lagosians. We will continue to celebrate true Nigerians and he is just one true Nigerian, an elder statesman that we should all be proud of,” he added.
Responding, Williams appreciated all those who found time to be with him on his special day, and wished them long life as well.
Aside governors Ambode and Amosun, other eminent Nigerians at the event include former Military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd); first Military Governor of Lagos State, Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson (rtd); Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu; foremost banker and founder of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Otunba Subomi Balogun; legal luminary and philanthropist, Chief Chris Ogunbanjo and former ICAN presidents.