We’re celebrating Pa Akintola Williams at 103 years today, another first in his stellar career as an accountant and management consultant. For the younger people who have no idea who this icon is, here is an extract from Deloitte Africa website on the man:
Akintola Williams, the founder of Deloitte predecessor firm Akintola Williams & Co., had a career of firsts. Williams, the son of a British colonial clerk, left his native Nigeria in 1944 to study banking and finance in London and became the first Nigerian to qualify as a chartered accountant in the UK. He returned to Nigeria in 1950 and worked briefly in the British civil service before establishing Nigeria’s first indigenous firm of chartered accountants in Lagos in 1952.
After Nigeria was granted independence in 1960, the country began making significant investments in its infrastructure and industry, paving the way for Akintola Williams & Co. to forge relationships with powerful clients in insurance, utilities, railways, and ports.
The practice expanded outside Nigeria into Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Swaziland, Ghana, Egypt, and Kenya. Around the turn of the 21st century, Deloitte recognized that Akintola Williams & Co.’s institutional knowledge and deep roots had significant value, and the Nigerian firm became Akintola Williams Deloitte in 2004.
Beyond Akintola Williams & Co., Deloitte’s African connections date back to the 19th century. The original London-based firm first made inroads in South Africa in 1888. Another Deloitte predecessor and major South African firm, Howard Pim, was launched in 1893. Pim began his career as joint auditor for a leading diamond mining company, helping him acquire clients in mining and business and setting his firm up for a century of growth. While Howard Pim & Hardy became a bedrock of South African accounting, Deloitte rapidly expanded across Africa in the 20th century, opening offices in South Africa, modern-day Zimbabwe, Kenya and Uganda. Pim’s firm, now known as Pim Goldby, merged with Deloitte Haskins & Sells in 1990.
These firms and their leaders helped establish the accounting profession in Africa. In the 1940s, Williams had to pursue training overseas, but today’s Nigerian students work under mentors and get a hands-on management education at Deloitte Nigeria’s Young Impact Makers Programme. Recognized by Great Places to Work as Nigeria’s best company to work for in 2019, Deloitte Africa continues to have a positive impact in Nigerian communities and across the African continent, with 27 offices in 17 countries.
Secrets of long life
The centenarian granted an interview to The Vanguard newspapers 11 years ago, and disclosed the following as his secrets to long life.
“The 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.”
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Celebrating Akintola Williams at 103