Another Ex-Benue Gov, Bayo Lawal, Passes

George Okoh in Makurdi

Another former Governor of Benue State, Air Vice Marshal Adebayo Hamed Lawal (rtd) has passed.

This, however, brings to two, the number of past military governors of the state that died this year alone. 

Group Captain Joshua Obademi, who also served that state between 1993 and 1996, died this year and was buried early this month in Lagos.  AVM Lawal, (popularly known then in the state as Group Captain Bayo Lawal) was the military governor of Benue State from 1978 to 1979. 

He handed over to Mr Aper Aku as the first civilian governor of the State. He was a one- time Nigerian Minister of Youth and Sports.

According to his daughter, Mrs. Yinka Enahoro, the late AVM Lawal died in his sleep in the early hours of Sunday, June 23, 2024 at his home at the age of 83.

Sergeant at Arms at the National Assembly, Air Commodore Sani Zakari (rtd), who also confirmed the ex-minister’s death to the media, noted that the funeral will be held on Monday.

“AVM Frank Ajobena (rtd) further informed us that AVM Bayo Lawal passed on in his sleep at the early hours of Sunday 23 Jun 24,” Zakari said.

Born on 14 September, 1941 in Offa, Kwara State, Lawal, attended Government College, Ibadan. between 1955 and 1962, before joining the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) in 1963 among the pioneer officers.

Lawal was trained as a Military Pilot in West Germany from where he graduated in 1964.

His postings included Commander, NAF Port Harcourt (1969–1970), Commander, Enugu Air Force Base, 1970-72; NAF Kano twice; (1972–1973) and (1975–1977) and Air Officer Commanding HQ Tactical Air Command NAF Makurdi. (1977–1978).

He was a very active and vibrant fighter pilot, who was at a point the Commander, Nigerian Air Force Base, Makurdi, 1977 to 78, before his appointment as Military Governor of Benue State in July 1978 until October 1979.

At one time, he was Director of Air Faculty Command and Staff College Jaji. He was later appointed Federal Minister of Youth and Sports.

After retirement, he went into business and faith-based philanthropy. He is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.

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