Nigeria recently lost one of her foremost accountants in the death of Chief David Omueya Dafinone. The accounting guru, consummate administrator and revered Nigerian politician of the Second Republic died in Lagos at the age of 91. He was unarguably a renowned technocrat who worked in virtually every sector of the Nigerian economy.
Born on March 12, 1927 in Sapele, Bendel State, the deceased was educated at the Benin Government School, 1934-39; Edo College, Benin, 1939-42; and Abeokuta Grammar School, 1943-45. Dafinone worked with the colonial civil service in the then Northern Nigeria.
At school, the young Dafinone distinguished himself in all his given assignments and was recommended for scholarship to study Public Administration at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom from 1951-1953 and University of Hull, England, 1953-56. He also took a degree in Economics and was enrolled in the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales after serving his Articleship in the firm of J.A. Wiles in London.
After a successful practice in the UK, he returned to the country and founded his own accounting firm, D.O. Dafinone & Co. in 1966. Later, he became active in some national assignments and served in a good number of fact-finding commissions under the Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s administration.
He served in the committee that probed the assets of the then Midwest Region’s public officials and also investigated corruption in the now defunct Nigerian Pools Company. The shocking findings in the company led to its closure and the imprisonment of some of its indicted officials.
At the inception of the Second Republic in 1978 Dafinone joined the then National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and was elected senator representing Bendel State in the National Assembly in 1979-1983. Due to his remarkable achievements, he was re-elected senator on the platform of the NPN representing old Bendel State from October-December 1983.
He was a Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accounts; member, National Party of Nigeria, 1979-83; Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, 1979. Beyond politics, Dafinone dedicated his time to his accounting practice and grew it to become one of the most formidable and most successful practices in the country. At the height of his career, the great professional achieved the distinction of a first “All-Family Accountants.”
Thus, David Dafinone and all his five children qualified as accountants and practised in the accounting firm of D.O. Dafinone & Co. The feat did not escape the attention of the famous Guinness Book of World Records which listed it and honoured the family at a special ceremony to mark the unique achievement.
Chief Dafinone was a great Urhobo patriot and title holder. He was much involved in the politics that defined the old Midwest Region and later Bendel State. As should be expected, Dafinone was much involved too in the agitation for a new Delta State, but sometimes took the unusual position of seeking closer ties with the Binis of the present day Edo State as he argued that his Okpe Kingdom would be perhaps too marginalised in the new Delta arrangement to attain the prominence that it deserved.
The accounting icon, administrator, politician and distinguished elder statesman should be remembered for his numerous contributions to the growth and development of the accounting profession in the country as well as national development. Without doubt, the deceased was a role model and a mentor to many in the accounting profession.
We urge those in the profession and those aspiring to be in the accountants to emulate his shining example. The Federal Government should immortalise the deceased for his contributions to the development of the accounting profession. We commiserate with members of his family, the accounting profession, the political class and the nation for the irreparable loss. May God grant his soul eternal repose.