Shola Oyeyipo and Segun James
Former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), and former Head of Interim National Government, Chief Ernest Shonekan, yesterday joined other notable Nigerians to console the late General Adeyinka Adebayo’s family over his demise.
From early morning till late evening of yesterday, the residence of late former governor of old Western Region, Adebayo, who died last Wednesday morning, turned a Mecca of sort as scores of notable politicians thronged the Ladipo Bateye home of the deceased Yoruba leader to condole with the family of elder statesman.
Speaking after signing the condolence register, Gowon said: “One really cannot say how sad we are. We are sad. One of us is gone. Our oldest colleague is gone. He has passed the baton to us-the younger ones. We will always remember him. He helped to ensure that this country continued as a nation. “He has left a family I believe that will leave up to his ideals. Until we come, adieu brother Adebayo. I hope and pray he will prepare a place for us when we come.” Shonekan, who said the late elder statesman was “a peaceful man,” also expressed deep regrets over his death.
“He served the nation very well. I think he deserves a befitting burial worthy of someone who served his nation greatly,” Shonekan said.
Other prominent Nigerians who visited the Adebayo’s family at their GRA, Ikeja home were former military Vice President during the General Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babangida government, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe; former Ekiti State Governor and Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; former Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan, and former Ogun State Governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel. Three of the four remaining Alliance for Democracy (AD) governors, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (Lagos), Chief Bisi Akande (Osun) and Aremo Olusegun Osoba (Ogun State) were also there to console the family.
Others were Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; Professor Jide Osuntokun, wife of late former Ondo State Governor, Mrs. Olufunke Agagu; retired AIG Tunde Alapini, Chairman Elizade, Chief Michael Ade Ojo; Senator representing Lagos Central senatorial district, Senator Remi Tinubu; business mogul, Chief Sam Adedoyin, and Rasak Okoya, former Minister of State for Defence, Mr. Demola Seriki; and the founder of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Fredrick Fasheun. Extolling the virtues of the late Adebayo, Ukiwe said: “He (Adebayo) was very marvelous. He helped to turn this country around at a critical time. He was a trail blazer.”
On his part, Tinubu, who urged the Yoruba nation and the entire country to emulate the legacy of late Adebayo during his condolence visit to his home, said the deceased provided the platform where Nigeria’s unity was hatched after the June 12, 1993, presidential election was arbitrarily annulled. According to him, “He is our father and one of the founding Yoruba fathers. He was a great nationalist who fought for the unity of the country. He fought for the unity of the country at a critical time, and he paid the price during the service to the country.
“He was extremely courageous and was called upon to lead the entire Western states. All that he did was to work hard for the unity of the country. He did a wonderful job and left a legacy. When the country had problem during the annulled June 12, 1993, election, he rallied the people to ensure that Yoruba did not break and Nigeria did not break too as a result of that. “He made a great point that no matter what, the rule of law was observed. He was committed to bringing us up, not just his immediate family alone. I remember several meetings we had and the advice he gave us. He left a wonderful legacy!
“We must consolidate on the peace, which was not about him alone, but the future generation. The peace is a must for us because without peace, we cannot have a nation. We thank God that we are still here to build upon his legacy.”
Former Delta State Governor, Uduaghan, described him as a bridge builder. “Baba has a lot of legacies. He puts people together and mentored them during his tenure as a military governor. He also had the opportunity of producing a governor son. He was a peaceful man and all of us must pursue peace in the country because even as a military man, he ensured peace in Nigeria.” In his remark, former Ogun State Governor, Daniel, noted that “he was our dear father because of the special roles he played.
I can never forget his contributions to what I have become. He was a builder. He was one of the last titans. It is a pity that he could not extend his lifetime beyond destiny. He will be greatly missed by the Yoruba people and Nigerians at large.”
On her part, Senator Remi Tinubu said the late general was a great Nigerian who loved peace and fought for peace in his lifetime.
She said: “He was peace loving. Adieu daddy! He had been a daddy to me for a long time. He will be greatly missed. I was still very young when he was a governor. Looking back, I think he had left a good legacy in the sense that he was alive to see his son become a governor. We pray that God will grant him peace.
“When his case is brought to the floor of the National Assembly, they will look for what to do to keep his legacies. Right now, I am not in the position to say much about that except they table it on the floor of the assembly, and it would be decided how to honour him.”