By Uche Amunike
The first Chartered Accountant in Nigeria, Pa Akintola Williams, has just clocked 103yrs, having been born 9 August, 1919, after the end of the World War 1.
He once talked about the secrets of longevity in an interview granted to Vanguard Newspapers in 2011, when he clocked 92yrs of age. These were what he listed as his secret of having lived long, during that interview:
Hear him: ‘secret of my longevity is moderation. In everything I do, I strive to be moderate, and I mean moderate, a little of this and a little of that – not too much. Whether it is what you eat, what you drink, or whatever you do, just be moderate and you will live a refreshing, strong, and fulfilling life’.
‘When you are excessive in your daily life activities, you lose a life and its fantastic quality. But when you keep it moderate, you will not only be in control but enjoy life abundantly’.
‘Also, you have to endeavor to live a simple life, avoid controversies, conflicts, over-ambition, just live a simple life and life will be your friend’.
‘Please always take enough rest. I always observe my siesta, sleep about eight hours every day, and generally have enough rest. Your body is your priceless possession, so, please do not abuse it, for if you do, you will lose it’.
‘And please, do not play with exercise – mental, physical, and spiritual. The three go hand in hand. I still do my studies and attend to professional matters referred to me’.
‘For once you stop exercising your brain, you die literally. I keep fit and I do not live a sedentary life’.
Pa Akintola founded his Accounting firm in 1952 and it eventually became, through mergers, one of the largest professional services firm in the country by 2004. He also participated in founding The Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). He has also received many Honors to his name which include Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) given to him by the Nigerian government and Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by the British government.
Pa Akintola Williams played a major role in forming the Association of Accountants in Nigeria, with the objective of training accountants. He also became the first President of the association. He partly founded ICAN and emerged her first President. He is still actively involved in the association, just as the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
In May 2011, the Nigerian-Britain Association presented Pa Akintola Williams an award for his contribution to democracy and development in Africa, alongside the former president of Ghana, John Kufuor.
President Muhammadu Buhari has joined family and friends of Pa Williams to celebrate him as he attained age 103. In a statement released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, he thanked God for giving the celebrant the grace of a long and healthy life, especially as he has also made great impacts in the country.
It partly read: ‘President Buhari felicitates with Chief Williams for scoring many firsts, which brought the spotlight to Nigeria and Africa, being the first Nigerian to qualify as a chartered accountant in England in 1949, and starting the first indigenous chartered accounting firm in Africa in 1952.’
‘The President notes other historic achievements of the chartered accountant in establishing Association of Accountants in Nigeria in 1960 with the goal of training accountants, being a founding member and first President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and full involvement in setting up the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
‘On his 103rd birthday, President Buhari acknowledges the many recognitions and awards he has received, including appointment as Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1997.’