Sympathisers throng Ikenne
HUNDREDS of sympathisers yesterday trooped to Ikenne, the Ogun State country home of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, to condole with the family over the death of the only surviving son, Chief Oluwole Bolade Awolowo.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has commiserated with the Awolowo family over the death of Oluwole, describing his demise as sad and painful.
The President, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media, Dr. Rueben Abati, noted that the late Awolowo was not only a distinguished evangelist and humanist, but also a community leader. He described the deceased as a worthy and honoured member of the Awolowo dynasty who diligently served God and humanity to the best of his abilities.
Jonathan said, Oluwoles steadfast, life-long commitment to upholding, maintaining and continually improving the Tribune newspapers, which ensured that the Nigerian Tribune and its sister publications have remained an objective voice of reason in Nigerias media space and continue to offer invaluable services to the nation.
It is not a mean feat to have sustained the Tribune newspapers over the years, the President said in praise of the late scion of the Awolowo family.
Also, the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha, condoled with the family. He said he received the news of Oluwoles demise with sadness and noted that a pride and shining star of the great Awolowo family has been dimmed. He particularly shared his admiration for the managerial and entrepreneurial capabilities of the late publisher and called on his successor and management of the Newspaper to keep the flag flying higher.
Among the earlier callers at Ikenne was the Special Adviser on Policy and Strategy to President Jonathan, Mr. Oronto Douglas who represented his boss, Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun, former governor, Chief Gbenga Daniel, his wife, Olufunke, the Alakene of Ikenne-Remo, Oba Adeyinka Onakade, representatives of the Ooni of Ife, led by Apetumodu of Ipetumodu, Oba Elijah Adegoke, Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, Justice Owolabi Sonoiki (rtd) and Chief GOK Ajayi (SAN) and wife.
Gen. Oladipo Diya (rtd), Prince Bola Ajibola, Prof. Emeritus, Timothy Ogunlesi and the Ogun State Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Alhaji Abimbola Awofeso were also at the Awolowo family house. Two sisters of the deceased, Rev (Mrs.) Omotola Oyediran and Mrs. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, were on ground to receive the visitors.
As at 3.00 p.m., about 150 people, including Amosun, had signed the condolence register. Amosun wrote in the condolence register: Egbon (elder brother), I really dont know what to say or write. Despite our grief, we thank the good Lord. He gives and takes. We cannot question or query Him.
May the Lord grant you eternal rest and may we continue to give Mama and the rest of the Awolowo family good health. Adieu.
Physically disturbed, Douglas described the deceased as a leader, great son of Nigeria who served the country well. He wrote: A great son of Nigeria is gone. Adieu our leader and brother.
Daniel described late Awolowo as an amiable, down to earth and jovial personality. Daniel, later in a statement, described the deceased as a peace builder and an unassuming leader. He lived his life in the service of the people. He was a quiet philanthropist and an exemplary leader who impacted on the lives of those who came in contact with him positively.
We should also salute his contribution to the growth of journalism and democracy in the country. He served creditably well as a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly in the 80s and he kept the flag of the Tribune flying loftily in the face of daunting challenges. We will all miss him.
The deceased nephew, Chief Segun Awolowo described his uncles death as too painful to bear. He described his late uncle as generous, kind-hearted and a patriotic Nigerian whose death has created a great vacuum.
Speaking to journalists, he said I lost my father very early in life so it was he (deceased) who served as my father and indeed he was a true father to all of us.
His greater regret is that his uncle died while his (deceased) mother, Mrs. Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo, who is over 90 years old, is still alive.
On burial arrangements, the junior Awolowo said: It (burial arrangement) is a family decision, but the family will meet as soon as possible to decide on it.
Senator Adegbenga Kaka said the late Oluwole was a gentleman, harmless and kind to all.
He was erroneously judged throughout his life by the incomparable standards set by Papa Awolowo without due consideration for his outstanding virtues.
A member of the House of Representatives, Abiodun Akinlade, said the deceased lived a good life worthy of emulation.
Some of the political associates of the late sage also came to sympathise with the family. They include Sir Olaniwun Ajayi and Senator Anthony Adefuye. They described Oluwoles death as sad.
A chieftain of Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-political group, Senator Femi Okunrunmu, described the deceased as a great fighter who fought valiantly until his death.
Okurounmu wrote in the condolence register: My dear Wole, it is sad that you left us at this time. You have fought valiantly and you may now rest in peace. Mama will be all right in Jesus name until her Gods appointed time. Adieu
I dont want to make any press statement, it is a very sad day, Ajayi said.
Diya wrote: It is sad, but in everything the Bible tells us to give thanks. We thank God for his life. May God Almighty grant him eternal rest.
The Bishop of Remo Diocese (Anglican Communion), Rt. Rev Olusina Fape, in his tribute, said the death of the Tribunes publisher was a great loss to him and the diocese.
His death to me as a person is a great loss. His encouragement and work in the ministry, especially the part he played when he was still much active at Obafemi Awolowo Memorial Anglican Church (OAMAC) here in Ikenne. He lived a good life. The only pain we have this time around is that Mama is still alive, but then we are mortal men. We cannot query God, but certainly Brother Wole will be remembered for good.
The Matriarch of the Awolowo dynasty, Mrs. H.I.D Awolowo was said to be resting at the time The Guardian called.