Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Thursday expressed shock over the death of his ex-presidential Adviser on Women Affairs, Mrs. Titilayo Ajanaku, describing her loyalty and commitment to women affairs development as exemplary and worthy of emulation.
Similarly, Ogun State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has mourned the passage of Ajanaku, describing her death as a painful exit.
The party also called her one of the illustrious daughters of Ogun, a foremost grassroots politician and community leader.
Ajanaku died on Wednesday at the age of 73.
Obasanjo recalled how the late prominent nurse-turned-politician joined other Nigerians to visit him in 1998 to persuade him to contest for the 1999 presidential election.
He described her as a woman who would do everything in her capacity to uplift, improve and advance the cause of women, saying this largely formed reasons for her appointment as adviser, the position she served creditably well.
The former president, in a letter of condolence he personally signed and addressed to the Head of the Ajanaku family, read in part: “I remember vividly one of my memorable encounters with Mrs. Titi Ajanaku, when she accompanied a group of politicians led by Chief S. M. Afolabi of blessed memory to my Abeokuta residence to persuade me to contest as President of Nigeria.
“It was partly their persuasion and that of other groups alike that later yielded my final submission to contest for the office of the President of Nigeria.
“In her lifetime, Mrs. Ajanaku had a genuine desire to contribute her quota to building a better society through advocacy for fundamental human rights and service to humanity. She was an activist dedicated to the cause of protecting the rights of women within the context of culture, policy and law. An advocate of gender balance, she remained mindful of those fundamental responsibilities of women which remain critical to family life and family stability.
“All of these culminated in my appointing her as my Special Adviser on Women Affairs during my administration as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and she creditably acquitted herself in every assignment given to her.
“Indeed, shortly after her appointment, it was easy to recognise her notable qualities of work ethic and commitment to public service. She bore the responsibility of proving her mettle with the consciousness that her success would create opportunities for other women.
“As an exemplary patriot, her rare courage and contributions laid a solid foundation for Ogun State and for Nigerian women to take their rightful position in our nations polity. To women, she occupied a special place as a mother, role model and source of inspiration, a redoubtable champion and defender of womens rights.
“We, therefore, join you in thanking God for such a life spent in touching so many other lives positively. Her memory will remain evergreen in Ogun State, Nigeria as a whole and beyond for performing her duties with integrity and quite efficiency as well as with generous disposition, magnanimity and unstinted love for the people.
“As we bid her goodbye, we must resolve that her great labour of love shall not be in vain.”
Ogun State APC Caretaker Committee, in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Tunde Oladunjoye, described late Ajanaku as a reputable female politician and Otun Iyalode of Egbaland.
The statement said late Ajanaku lived eventful life in dedicated service towards her nursing profession, her community and women.
“She was a great mobiliser and very vocal on issues pertaining to women’s rights and gender balancing. Her political posturing and activism also brought her against the military junta, for which she bore the brunt, as she was among those politicians arrested, detained and charged in 1995 before the General Patrick Aziza-led military panel over phantom coup.
“As one of the pillars of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM), a political organisation founded and nurtured by late Alhaji Sheu Musa Yar’dua, Mama Titi Ajanaku served as a source of inspiration and beacon of hope to many people, especially women in politics.
“As a patriot, she was not only fully involved in the mobilisation that spurred the emergence of late Chief MKO Abiola as the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), at its Jos Convention, she was a critical part of the electioneering that saw the victorious emergence of Chief MKO Abiola during the June 12, 1993 presidential election, which has been globally adjudged as the freest and fairest in the annals of presidential elections in Nigeria.
“This was confirmed by no less a personality than the former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, at page 186 of his book, Battlelines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics (2019).
“With the passing away of Chief Titi Ajanaku, Ogun State has indeed lost a political Amazon, a benevolently community leader and a champion of women’s rights,” the statement added.