Meet Chief Akintola Williams Africa’s First Chartered Accountant

    Akintola Williams

    Chief Akintola Williams was born on August 9th, 1919 was born in Lagos State, Nigeria to Thomas Ekundayo Williams, a clerk and legal practitioner from Abeokuta, Ogun State.

    Chief Akintola Williams is a Nigerian accountant. He was the first African to qualify as a chartered accountant.

    Akintola Williams did his primary education at Olowogbowo Methodist Primary School, Bankole street, Apongbon, Lagos Island in the early 1930s. He did his secondary school in CMS Grammar School, Lagos. He attended Yaba Higher College on a UAC scholarship, obtaining a diploma in commerce. He proceeded to England where he studied Banking and Finance at the University of London and graduated in 1946 with a Bachelor of Commerce. He furthered his studies and qualified as a chartered accountant in England in 1949.

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    A Yoruba of chiefly background, the Oloye Williams was one of the founders of the Egbe Omo Oduduwa society while in London, with Dr. Oni Akerele as president and Chief Obafemi Awolowo as Secretary.

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    Akintola grew up close by his brothers, Rotimi Williams, who would go on to become one of Nigeria’s most famous lawyers, and Rev. James Kehinde Williams, a Christian pastor. Both are presently late. Akintola began his formal education at Baptist Academy, Lagos, in 1927.

    His grandfather, Z.A. Williams, was a merchant prince from Abeokuta and his father Thomas Ekundayo Williams was a clerk in the colonial service who set up a legal practice in Lagos after training in London, England.

    Akintola Williams Career

    He started his career at the Colonial office in London and was later posted to Nigeria as a Tax inspector. In 1950 he returned to Nigeria and worked with John Selby, who influenced him to consider accountancy. In May 1952, he established Akintola Williams and Company, the first indigenous firm of chartered accountants in Nigeria.

    Between April 1999 and May 2004, two mergers with existing accounting firms were consummated which resulted in its being the largest professional services firm in Nigeria with a staff of over 600. The firm adopted the business name “Akintola Williams Deloitte” on July 30, 2004. Akintola Williams Deloitte is the oldest indigenous firm in Nigeria.

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    Akintola Williams Public roles

    Williams is the first President of the association. He was a founding member and first president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). He played a leading role in establishing the Association of Accountants in Nigeria (AAN) in 1960 with the goal of training accountants and was the first President of the association. He was also involved in establishing the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and he is the only surviving signatory to the original Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) at the founding of the NSE on September 15th, 1960. He served as a member of the committee set up by the Federal Government to carry out a feasibility study on the viability of establishing a stock exchange in Nigeria.

    Williams was a member of the Coker Commission of Inquiry into the statutory corporations of the former Western Region of Nigeria (1962). He remained actively involved with organizations into his old age.

    He was Founder and council member of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, Chairman of the Federal Income Tax Appeal Commissioners (1958–1968), Chairman of the Lagos State Government Revenue Collection Panel (1973), Member of the Board of Trustees of the Commonwealth Foundation (1966–1975), Chairman of the Public Service Review Panel to correct the anomalies in the Udoji Salary Review Commission (1975). He was the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON).

    Akintola Williams Personal Life

    Akintola Williams got married to Mabel Etuntiloye Coker n 1947. They are blessed with children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

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    Akintola Awards and Honors

    • In 1982 the Nigerian Government honored Williams with the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR)
    • He was awarded ICAN’s first-ever Gold Medal Merit Award in 1988.
    • In April 1997, Queen Elizabeth II conferred the title of Commander of the British Empire (CBE) on him in recognition of his services to the accountancy profession
    • The Akintola Williams Arboretum at the Nigerian Conservation Foundation headquarters in Lagos is named in his honor.
    • On the 8th of May, 2011, the Nigeria-Britain Association presented awards to Akintola Williams, alongside John Kufuor, past President of Ghana, for their contributions to democracy and development in Africa.