Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja and Obinna Chima in Lagos
President Muhammadu Buhari has extended his condolences to the family of the Chairman of Punch Nigeria Limited, Mr. Gbadebowale Aboderin, who passed on Thursday at the age of 60.
A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, stated that Buhari commiserated with all members of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the media and sports industry in the country on the death of the respected entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Buhari said he believed that Aboderin, who was greatly admired by his peers in the media and sports industry, would be long remembered for his resourcefulness, managerial proficiency and invaluable contributions to the growth of the media and sport sectors.
“The President prays that God Almighty will comfort all who mourn him and grant his soul eternal rest,” the statement added.
The late Aboderin was said to have died on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 6.05am after a heart surgery at the First Cardiology Consultants, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Until his death, he was also the Chairman, PUNCH Commercial Printing Limited and Lukahed Properties Limited.
He attended the Government College, Ibadan; and trained as a pilot in the United States.
A sports enthusiast and philanthropist, he was the founder and chairman of the Dolphins Female Basketball Foundation, and also a former chairman of the Lagos State Basketball Association.
He was a one-time vice-president of the Nigerian Basketball Supporters Club.
He is survived by his wife, Titilayo, and children.
Also, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, expressed grief over the demise of the Chairman of Punch Newspapers.
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, described late Aboderin, as a philanthropist, sports lover and a businessman who left indelible footprints on the sands of time.
He noted that the deceased lived an exemplary life worthy of emulation and contributed immensely to national development through the media, youth and sports development, among others.
He commiserated with the immediate family – his wife and two daughters, the Punch Group of Newspapers, the media industry, sports enthusiasts and his loved ones, over the colossal loss.
“It is indeed painful that he left us at a time his rich experience is needed to move the country forward,” Saraki said.
“My heart goes out to his wife, Titilayo, his two daughters, the Punch Newspaper Group, the media industry in Nigeria and the government and people of Oyo and Lagos States on the sad incident.”
In the same vein, a former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu, was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Aboderin.
Tinubu, in a statement that was signed by the head of his media office, Mr. Tunde Rahman, explained: “We lost Wale at a rather young age when we still needed him to continue to be with us. At 60, he still had a lot to offer us but within those three scores though, he made appreciable impact and touched and changed lives.
“As Chairman of Punch, taking over from his uncle, the actuary, Chief Ajibola Ogunshola, Wale continued to maintain and sustain the excellent journalism Punch is noted for, ensuring that the newspaper remains where it should be.
“Though he trained as a pilot, he was also a sports enthusiast. He particularly loved basketball to the point that he floated Dolphins Female Basketball Foundation. He was at one time the Chairman of our Basketball Association in Lagos.
“His death is a huge loss to the Aboderin family, both immediate and extended. The media and sports worlds, which he traversed and impacted positively, have also lost an outstanding partner.”
Meanwhile, the President of the Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO), and Chairman & Editor-in-Chief THISDAY Media Group/ARISE TV Networks, Mr Nduka Obaigbena, in a statement Thursday, joined other well meaning Nigerians in mourning the late Aboderin.
According to Mr. Obaigbena, â€œThe NIgerian Press Organisation (NPO), consisting of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), is saddened at the news of the untimely death of the Chairman of the Punch Group of Newspapers, Mr. Gbadebowale Aboderin, who died on Wednesday, May 30, 2018.”
“Wale, a consummate sport enthusiast, was jovial, amiable and easy going. His death is a big blow, not just to the Punch Group, but to the entire media landscape of Nigeria and Africa. He followed generations of media owners who served the public purpose.
“We offer our condolences to the Aboderin family and the Punch Group. May his soul find peace. Perfect peace,â€ Mr. Obaigbena, who is also the President of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) said.