Alex Akinyele, the colourful former Nigerian Minister of Information is dead. He was aged 81.
His son Constantine Kayode Akinfolarin Akinyele announced the death in a post on Facebook. He said the Ondo high chief passed away on Thursday night after a brief illness.
“With thanksgiving for his life, I am sad to announce we lost our father and grandfather Chief Alexander Opeyemi Akinyele earlier today after a brief illness May his soul rest in peace. He will be missed by his children, grandchildren, family and friends”, Constantine wrote.
Akinyele, former Customs PR man was the minister for information during a phase of the Babangida administration.
He also served as chairman of the Nigerian Sports Commission.
He was secretary-general and later president of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).
Akinyele was born in Ondo town and began his primary education at All Saints School, Ondo. He had his secondary education at Gboluji Grammar School in the nearby town of Ile-Oluji.
He then attended St Andrews College, Oyo to obtain a teacher’s training certificate.
He taught briefly at Gboluji before going to the University of Ife to earn a degree in English.
After graduating from Ife, Akinyele worked as a teacher at Olofin Grammar School Idanre.
In June 1967, he applied to join the Nigeria Police force and was offered a place as a trainee assistant Superintendent of Police.
Fate had other plans for him.
On reporting to the Police Service Commission, the other 12 trainees recruit were not present because of the outbreak of the civil war.
He was directed to join the Nigeria Customs Service. After his 18-month training programme, Custom Controller Henry Duke appointed him the first Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Customs and Excise.
He worked in that position until 1978 when he joined a cosmetic company, in Lagos.