COMRADE (CHIEF) CORNELIUS AKINNOLA

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The Enigma called Baba NATA

One cannot go without noticing him as a passionate Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association (NATA) enthusiast on a first date as he has made the Blue laced with Orange colour uniform of NATA a permanent dress code; wearing different versions on different occasions that perfectly fit his huge frame.

One may still wishes to know why he religiously takes to this.

The Idanre, Ondo State born Chief Akinnola would tell you that “He loves championing the peoples’ cause. And that he has led NATA in Lagos State at different times and levels and feels he should be seen as somebody who is proud of the association he worked for.”

The ‘Ondo’ tribal marked current National Registered Trustee of NATA was born in the ancient town of Idanre in 1944.

He attended Saint Georges’ Primary School, Idanre between 1962 and 1967 before proceeding to Gboluji Grammar School, Ile-Oluji, Ondo State (1962 – 1968).

He was later admitted to Western Nigerian Iron Industry, Ibadan where for 3 years he learned the rudiments of Welding as well as Mechanical aspects of Vehicle Repairs.

Upon graduation, he refused to do anything, but enrolled for the City & Guilds of London, specializing in Mechanical Engineering and was awarded its Diploma upon completion of the course after 3 years.

With this rich resume, then young Cornelius Akinnola approached SCOA Motors, Lagos and was employed as Workshop Engineer. There, he was for the next 7 years, but cleverly established a Vehicle Repair Workshop, C & F Auto Repair Workshop at 14, Kirikiri Road, Olodi-Apapa, Lagos; which was headed by his partner, Mr. Ogundayi.

During his stint at SCOA Motors however, he became a unionist and diligently defended the interest of his co-workers to the admiration of all.

After fully resuming in his own workshop in Olodi-Apapa, he was invited to join the Nigeria Motor Mechanics & Technicians Association (NMMTA) which later metamorphosed into Nigeria Automobile Technicians Association (NATA) by late Baba Adeola through the persistence of his emissary, the late Alhaji S. Olo.

Upon his acceptance of the invitation, he joined Chief David Jeje (the Bashorun of Alaba Oro, Lagos State) to organize the association in Ajeromi-Ifelodun area of Lagos State.

There, he served the association as elected Deputy Chairman at the Zonal Level and later the elected Chairman for many years.

He contested as the Vice Chairman to Alhaji Kasali ‘Lere Obisesan at NATA, Lagos State Chapter level and he won.

The founder of Arowo-Iya-Buna Mechanics Village, Berger-Suya, Olodi-Apapa in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area of Lagos State later contested as the State Chairman of NATA and won 2 consecutive terms.

Within his mechanics village, he is fondly called Chairman even though the association there has its elected chairman and executives. 

During the association’s LGA/Unit’s General Meetings, he amuses himself by cracking endless jokes that reliefs him of stress.

And whenever he attends the State General Meetings, no minute will pass without one member or the other coming closer to him to pay obeisance. This is due to the respect he earned as a loyal, honest, transparent, cheerful, frank, fearless, thorough-bred NATA Leader. And for this also, the members perceive him as the ‘Grand-Patron’ of NATA; the reason why he is called Baba NATA!

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