â€¢Â Geingob: He was my mentor, brother and advocate of the economic independence of AfricaÂ Â
â€¢ Osinbajo: Adedeji was an unusual human being who contributed to the post-war planning, reconstruction of Nigeria’s economy
By Femi OgbonnikanÂ in AbeokutaÂ Â Â
African leaders took turns to eulogise the erstwhile Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and pioneer chairman of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), late Prof. Adebayo Adedeji, at a funeral service in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, yesterday.Â
Adedeji, who was the Asiwaju of Ijebuland, died onÂ April 25Â at age 87.
Prominent leaders at the funeral service held at the Cathedral Church of Our Saviour Anglican Church, Ijebu-Ode, included President of Namibia, Hage Geingob; Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon; former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.
They noted that the late Adedeji dedicated his life positively to the service of Nigeria and the Africa continent in general.
Osinbajo, in his tribute, recalled the immense contribution of the late Adedeji to the post-war planning and reconstruction of the nation’s economy, describing him as an “unusual human being.”
The Vice President further described Adedeji as a fair-minded and objective person, whose death was announced in several languages because of the various capacities he had served at different times-nationally and internationally.
“Professor Adedeji was an outstanding African. He was deeply involved in the integration of Africa. He did a great work in projecting Africa. We are proud of all that he had achieved in his lifetime. He was one of the very unusual human beings.”Â
Also, the Namibian President, Hage Geingob, described the late Adedeji as his “mentor, brother and advocate of the economic independence of Africa.”
Geingob extolled the rare virtue of the deceased as a true African who “fought a good fight for the African continent.”
Obasanjo, in his tribute, stated that the deceased was a friend, brother, trusted ally and co-sojourner in the development vineyard, while Gowon said the late Adedeji was a “credit to Nigeria, Africa and the African race.”
The former Archbishop of the Lagos Ecclesiastical Province of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. (Professor) Adebayo Akinde, in his sermon, said Adedeji left a legacy of service for Nigerians to emulate.
Akinde said the renowned economist was truly a great nationalist and that many Nigerians in position of authority have failed their generations because of greed, noting that the ex-Executive Secretary of UNECA impacted positively on his generation.
“As mankind, we should start asking ourselves the kind of legacy we are going to leave behind. It is important that we give serious thought to the kind of legacy we are leaving behind.
“Our late Professor Adedeji was a great man. He was an enigma. He was a world class economist and renowned academician, and a top flight diplomat. He believed in the unity and oneness of Nigeria. He lived a world of service because he served the Africa continent, his country and state. He has left everyone of us a life of legacy,” Akinde said.
Governor Ibikunle AmosunÂ said Ogun state had lost one of its icons. “Papa was a colossus in his own right. He was someone we, the younger ones, are very proud of. He was a great son of Ogun State. He had done brilliantly well in all the capacities he had served. In all facets, he did well.”
Other notable personalities at the funeral service included Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Prince Bola Ajibola (SAN), Professor Ibrahim Gambari, Chief Anthony Anenih, members of the diplomatic corps and other distinguished personalities.