Sir Adeyemo Alakija was born Placido Adeyemo Assumpcao on May 12, 1884, in Abeokuta, Ogun state, Nigeria. He was the youngest of the seven children in his family. His father was one of the Brazilian returnees who decided to stay in Lagos in the mid-nineteenth century; the groups were referred to as Amaros. The Alakija family were the most prominent Amaros in Nigeria. Alakija was a well-known businessman, lawyer and politician.
Alakija attended St Gregory’s Catholic School before moving to CMS Grammar School Lagos, after which he worked in the post office in 1900 and served in the civil service for ten years. He went on to study Law at Oxford University, London, earned his qualification in 1913, and became one of the most prominent barristers and businessmen of his time. Thereafter, he returned to Lagos to begin his law practice.
As a lawyer, Adeyemo Alakija was very successful. He would later become one of the most prominent 19th-century Lagos aristocrats.
Venturing into printing and publishing
Alakija co-founded the Daily Times newspaper with Ernest Ikoli and Richard Barrow in 1926 and was chairman of the company’s board. The newspaper was pro-government and it flourished, with most of its revenue generated from adverts by expatriate companies or European firms. Daily Times was a popular voice of the nationalist movement.
Associations and recognitions
Alakija was a member of the Legislative Council for nine years starting in 1933. In 1942, he became a member of the Governor’s Executive Council. In 1943, he became the Founding President of Island Club, Lagos. He also co-founded the Reformed Ogboni Society. Alakija was the first Nigerian to become a District Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England. He was also President of the Bar Association (1950-52) and Co-founder and President of Egbe Omo Oduduwa from 1948 until his death.
Alakija died in the early hours of May 10, 1952.