By Bamidele Salako
The Group Managing Director of Courtville Business Solutions Plc., a leading e-business solutions and advisory company in Nigeria, Dr. Adebola Akindele, was on Sunday conferred with the award of Lagos State Man of the Year 2017 by the Centre for Policy Development and Political Studies (CEPODEPS).
Speaking at the conferment ceremony which held at Eko FM Multipurpose Hall on Lateef Jakande Road, Agidingbi, Lagos, Chief Organizer of the award, Dr. Aderemi Ifaolepin Aderemi, stated that the Lagos State Man of the Year Award (LASMAYA) is an accolade given to individuals who are symbols of achievement in Lagos State’s public and private sectors, particularly those who have attained a standard of merit in the eyes of their peers having performed exceptionally in their industries.
“This is a celebration of true, well-refined personalities of immeasurable worth of whom Dr. Adebola Akindele is one. Our assessment is based less on traditional titles and roles and more on creative influence and entrepreneurship.”
“What is popular in our society is to celebrate the celebrated, to praise the praised, and to identify with success; but we are shifting away from the norm. We have decided to look for a way to reward character – the unsung heroes. This award was created in essence to pay tribute to excellence,” Dr. Aderemi averred.
Affirming that the recipient of the award which is in its seventh edition, is picked through a rigorous and thorough selection process, the convener revealed that awardee was nominated alongside nine other notable Nigerians by a 9-man selection committee that comprised mainly of academics, writers, researchers, and media professionals.
He also revealed the judging criteria for the nominations to include exemplary leadership qualities, consistent high moral standard and integrity, outstanding personal achievements, outstanding selfless service to Lagos State and humanity as well as the opinion polls of the public, while expressing gratitude for the overwhelming response by the public during the voting conducted via short message service from Monday, August 14, through Sunday, August 20, 2017.
The shortlist of nominees included Lagos State Commissioner for Local Government & Community Affairs, Hon. Muslim Olohuntele Falemi who finished with 810 votes; the Aholu Henwa of Kweme Kingdom (730 votes); Chairman of the Lagos State Local Government Service Commission, Alh. Babatunde Tajudeen Rotinwa (1, 313 votes); Permanent Secreatry, Lagos State Ministry of Waterfront and Infrastructure Development, Engr. Adeyemi Saliu Abidemi (805 votes) and Lagos State University (LASU) Vice Chancellor, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun (2, 934 votes).
Others were Access Bank Group Managing Director/CEO, Dr. Hebert Wigwe (511 votes); the Olori Oluwo of the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity, Olori Francis Meshioye (2, 084 votes); MD/CEO of Nordica Fertility Centre, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi (2, 038 votes); and the President/CEO of SAF Petroleum Limited, Aare (Dr.) Safiriyu Adebanjo Kazeem (1, 632 votes).
Dr. Akindele emerged winner of the award with 3, 324 valid votes cast.
In his acceptance remarks, he thanked his team at Courtville for their sterling contributions to the growth of the company saying, “We do not have the deepest pockets by any means. We do not have the brightest visibility. We do not have the most number of people but we have ourselves. All we did was just to require that we all put in our best and to see what comes of it.”
Dr. Akindele, who also had special words of gratitude for a couple of his friends with whom he shares fond memories, including Nigeria’s former Minister of State for Finance, Hon. Remi Babalola, quipped, “It was because of them that I moved out of the public sector at the Central Bank into the private sector. In 1989-90, we were struggling ICAN students. We didn’t have cars or homes of our own but we had ourselves and the belief in the things one could get to do. I am sure our wives married us because of the potential they saw in us at that time.”
He also thanked his wife, Mrs. Olabisi Akindele for her unflinching support through the years.
Representing the Professional Excellence Foundation of Nigeria (PEFON), veteran broadcaster, Mr. Seyi Martins, hinted that the awardee, who is a member of the foundation’s council would be further celebrated for his latest honour by his colleagues at the foundation on Thursday, October 19, 2017.
At the ceremony were Courtville Business Solutions Deputy Managing Director, Alh. Wale Osinaike; the Elejinrin of Ejinrin Kingdom, Oba Rafiu Ishola Balogun and his wife, Olori Mojisola Balogun; the Balogun of Ejirin, Chief Muyiwa Akintola; the Olomijo of Omijo, Oba Kazim Olanipekun Gbadamosi and his wife, Olori Taiwo Olabisi Gbadamosi; Ex-Finance Minister, Hon. Remi Babalola; Lagos State House of Assembly member, Hon. Olusegun Olulade; former Secretary to lkorodu Local Government Area, Lagos State, Comrade Japheth Odesanya, as well as board and staff members of Courtville Business Solutions Plc.
Dr. Adebola Akindele started his professional career as an audit intern at KPMG Peat Marwick Ani Ogunde and Co. in 1987 having obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1985. In 1989, he joined the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) where he rose to become Treasurer/Financial Controller of the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS). While at the CBN, he also served as a Bank Examiner on various occasions.
He would later obtain a Master’s Degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Lagos in 1993 and in the same year, having gained substantial regulatory experience, he ventured into the private sector with Oceanic Bank. During a successful seven year stint at the bank, he held various senior management positions including Head of Operations, Chief Inspector and Head of Credit Administration and Loan Recovery and Head of the bank’s Commercial Banking Division.
In the year 2000, he joined Fountain Trust Bank Plc. as the Group Head of Lagos Island Business Group. His outstanding accomplishments earned him promotion to Group Head of Commercial Banking, and later, Divisional Head of Markets.
By 2004, after almost 20 years of successfully handling increasing responsibilities in different organisations, he ventured into entrepreneurship with a vision to found a company that would make a mark in its sector for innovation, service and the value of its franchise. In the same year, he opened Courtville Investment Limited to offer corporate finance services and business process reengineering consulting to organisations. The company underwent a name change to Courtville Business Solutions Plc. in 2011 after it went public.
Under his astute leadership, Courtville Business Solutions Plc. became the leading data capturing service provider in Sub-Saharan Africa and is the first in its sector to be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) with shareholders’ funds in excess of USD20 million.
Dr. Akindele is also the Chairman, Fosters Estate Limited; chairman, Bolbis Ventures; Chairman, Courtville Investments Limited (Sierra Leone) and Director, Synergy Capital and Advisory Limited.
He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CITN). He is an active member of the World Business Forum, Africa CEO Forum and the Commonwealth Business Forum. He is also professionally affiliated with the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) and the Institute of Directors (IOD).
He holds the distinction of being the only African on the Advisory Board of the Enterprise and Parliamentary Dialogue International (EPDI), a UK-registered independent, not-for-profit body set up to establish a bridge of understanding between parliamentarians and enterprises. He also sits on the Board of Advisors of the East Africa Business Network (EABN) – the first time a non-East African would occupy that position.
A relentless philanthropist, he is an Associate Member of the Nigerian Red Cross in its Platinum Category, for his contribution in aid to medically vulnerable individuals, especially women and children.
In 2016, Courtville was voted the second best place to work in Nigeria by the Great Place to Work Institute at its 4th Annual Best Companies to Work for Award Ceremony, coming second only to American-owned multinational corporation, EMC and ahead of Sanofi. The company was pitted against heavyweights such as EMC Corporation, iSON, Microsoft Nigeria, Guinness Nigeria, Poise Nigeria, Sanofi, Konga, SC Johnson and CAP Plc. At the awards, Courtville also picked the inaugural Bright Spot award for Best Practices while Dr. Akindele bagged a Bright Spot for Excellent Delivery of Leadership.