Late Lam Adesina
Tokunbo Adedoja, Chuks Okocha and Tunde Sanni
More tributes flowed in Monday for former Oyo State Governor, Alhaji Lam Adesina, who died on Sunday. His Ibadan home, where he was buried a few hours after his death, has become a beehive of activities as a motley crowd of dignitaries and ordinary folks besieged the place yesterday to commiserate with his family.
On hand to receive them were the widow, Sarata and her children, led by Dapo, the state Commissioner for Youth and Sports.
Those who could not visit the family, such as former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Walter Carrington, and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), sent their condolences, praising the contributions of the deceased to Nigeria’s political development.
Besides the eulogies, the visits also provided some of them the opportunity to go down the memory to regale the family and others with narrations of what the late Adesina meant to them.
To the state Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Adesina’s death was a big loss. He had a history with the deceased that dates back to his secondary school days.
Ajimobi, who led members of the state Executive Council on a condolence visit to the family, pledged to continue to celebrate, honour and sustain his legacy.
He told the family that the late Adesina had been his benefactor since 1964 and that whatever achievement he had recorded in life so far had the contributions of the late Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) leader.
“We will continue to celebrate the departure of a good leader. He had always mentored us; he mentored many of us; let us take solace in the fact that he lived a fulfilled life, both spiritually and politically.
“`He always said that what gladdens his heart is that he has political son in me (governor). Whatever anybody may say, I am the foremost political son of Alhaji Lam Adesina. Talking about Godliness, the former governor lived it and acted it. He was always praying and fasting.
“I used to call Alhaji Adesina my three-in-one. He was my teacher, my uncle and my political mentor. Whatever I am today in politics, he made me.
“And when you remove the mundane politics of Oyo State; the pedestrian politics; the pull-him-down innuendoes of Oyo politics, there is no closer person to him as his political son than I,” Ajimobi said.
He quoted copiously from the various books written by Williams Shakespeare, which he said the late Adesina used to regale them with at Lagelu Grammar School, such as ‘Cowards die many times before their death…’ and the departed governor’s mantra of ‘don’t take my simplicity for stupidity.’
Ajimobi said whatever mastery of the English Language he may exhibit today was taught on him by the late former governor.
Speaking on behalf of the state Executive Council, the state Commissioner-designate, Pastor Taiwo Otegbeye, acknowledged the achievements of the late Adesina in the socio-economic development of the state, pledging the continued support of the council members to the family.
The widow thanked Ajimobi and others for the honour done to her husband, saying that she was contented with the legacy he left behind.
“I know Lam, not because he was my husband; he came to this world to help people; he has left a gap and the gap will always be there,” she said.
Dapo, in his remarks, said his father had not died in vain but that he had contributed his quota to the development of the state and the country as a whole.
“He has passed the baton unto us, especially to the person of our leader, Governor Abiola Ajimobi,’’ he said.
Ajimobi’s predecessor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, described the late Adesina as a leader who played well his own part in national development, adding that though his death was not really a surprise, given the fact he had been sick for time, “but he would be sorely missed”.
“Alhaji Lam Adesina was a great leader. Being a local government chairman when he was the governor between 1999 and 2003, I can say that I knew and worked with him at a very close range.
“The Great Lam played his own role well and acted well his part in the attempt at ensuring the socio-political development of Oyo State, nay Nigeria. His role at the critical moments in the chequered history of our democratic development cannot be easily forgotten,” he added.
In his tribute, the Deputy Senate Chief Whip and Senator representing Oyo North Senatorial District, Senator Hosea Agboola, lamented the death of the former governor, pointing out that he used his wealth of experience to serve the state and humanity.
The Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Capital Market at the Senate, Senator Ayoade Adeseun, described Adesina’s death as a rude shock and a huge loss to the people of Oyo State.
“Baba's death is very sad news. We have lost our leader, one of the finest we have produced in this country. Oyo State will miss the astute wisdom with which he had handled the dynamics of politics and development,” he stated.
On his part, Carrington described the late Adesina as a "revered elder statesman".
He said with his death, “another of Nigeria's devoted defenders of democracy is sadly gone”.
Recalling his association with the former governor, Carrington said: "I will always fondly remember the hospitality Governor Adesina extended 10 years ago to Arese and me when we came to Ibadan where I had been asked to deliver a eulogy for Bola Ige."
The former US envoy also sympathised with the Adesina family, the people of Oyo State and the nation, which he said the former governor "so nobly served".
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, described the passage of Adesina as the unfortunate depletion of the ranks of seasoned politicians in the country.
It said although the late Adesina was not a member of the PDP, the party appreciated his role in the sustenance of democracy in the country and would miss his experience and words of wisdom.
The party said the former governor would be remembered for his forthrightness and candour and urged his family, friends and associates to take solace in the fact that his existence was characterised by positive contributions to the advancement of Nigeria.