The Action Group’s vice leader and legal advisor was Chief Samuel Ladoke Akintola. He was a politician, lawyer, aristocrat, and orator from Nigeria who was born on July 6, 1910. His parents were Akintola Akinbola and Akanke, and his father was a trader who came from a line of traders in what was then the Western Region. He was exalted to the status of Oloye Aare Ona Kakanfo XIII of the Yoruba in addition to being one of the founding fathers of contemporary Nigeria.
Younger still, the family relocated to Minna, where he temporarily attended a Church Missionary Society school. He moved back to Ogbomosho in 1922 to live with his grandfather. After attending a Baptist day school, he enrolled in Baptist College in 1925.
He was a Baptist teachers union member and an instructor at the Baptist Academy from 1930 to 1942. After that, he had a brief employment with the Nigerian Railway Corporation. He met Chief H.O. Davies, a politician and lawyer, at this time, and joined the Nigerian Youth Movement. There, he supported Ikoli’s campaign to represent Lagos in the legislative council against that of Oba Samuel Akisanya, who was backed by Nnamdi Azikiwe. With the backing of shareholder Chief Akinola Maja, he quickly rose to the position of editor of the Daily Service Newspaper, taking Ernest Ikoli’s place. Iroyin Yoruba, a newspaper published in the Yoruba language, was founded by Akintola as well. He earned the mistrust of leaders like Chief Anthony Enahoro in 1945 by opposing the nationwide strike called by Azikiwe’s NCNC and Michael Imoudu. He received a British scholarship in 1946 and finished his law studies in 1950. He began practicing law by representing clients in real estate and governmental issues. He established a partnership in 1952 with Michael Odesanya, Chief Bode Thomas, and Chief Chris Ogunbanjo.
Ladoke Akintola returned to Nigeria in 1949 after receiving his legal education in the United Kingdom. There, he joined forces with other intelligent Nigerians from the Western Region to create the Action Group (AG), which was led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Prior to becoming the deputy leader in 1953, when Bode Thomas passed away, he served as the group’s initial legal counsel. In the primary, he defeated Arthur Prest to succeed Bode Thomas. He was the deputy leader of the Action Group party and was the leader of the opposition in the Nigerian House of Representatives rather than serving in the Western Region Government led by Premier Awolowo. He held the positions of Minister for Health and later serving as minister of aviation and communications.
Chief Akintola and Awolowo disagreed on the direction of the party’s strategic alliances, the acceptance of democratic socialism as the party program, and the struggle for leadership inside the party. Awolowo’s choice to withdraw from the coalition government was disapproved upon by Akintola. Akintola desired to link the Northern People’s Congress and the Action Group party. Additionally, he disagreed with the party’s choice to accept democratic socialism as its guiding ideology, favoring a more conservative viewpoint.
Chief Awolowo accused Akintola of attempting to unseat him as the party’s leader. A crisis broke out on the floor of the Western House of Assembly in May 1962 as Akintola was about to be removed after the party had earlier approved a vote of no confidence in the premier in a party meeting. The AG party split into two factions, which caused a number of crises in the Western Region House of Assembly and forced the central/federal government, led by Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, to declare a state of emergency in the area. Chief (Dr.) M.A. Majekodunmi, a member of the AG party, also declared the state of emergency.
The administrator was chosen to be the Federal Minister of Health. Even though he had lost his legal struggle with Nigeria’s highest court at the time, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Akintola was eventually reinstated to his position as premier in 1963. Akintola obtained the office of premier in the 1965 general election not as a member of the Action Group party but as the head of the newly created Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP), which was allied with the Northern People’s Congress (NPC), the party
that was in power at the time. then controlled the federal government. His blatantly rigged election in 1965 was undoubtedly an immediate cause of the January 1966 coup in which he was slain.
Five children were born to Akintola and Faderera Akintola; two of them, Yomi Akintola and Dr. Abimbola Akintola, held positions in the Nigerian Third Republic’s Finance Cabinet.
On January 15, 1966, the day of Nigeria’s first military coup—which overthrew the First Republic—Akintola was murdered in Ibadan, the regional capital of the Western Region. The coup, also known as the “Young Majors Coup” or the “coup of the January boys,” saw the murder of numerous prominent politicians, primarily NPC members.