- Â Family asks to be allowed to mourn privately
Tobi Soniyi, Gboyega Akinsanmi Shola Oyeyipo, Segun James in Lagos, Omololu Ogunmade and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and Nigerians from across the political spectrum were thrown into mourning wednesday over the sudden death of Jide Tinubu, the first son of the National Leader of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Confirming his passing in a statement wednesday, the Chairman of APC in Lagos, Chief Oladele Ajomale expressed sorrow over the demise of Jide, who was a legal practitioner and had founded the company, TSL Limited.
The statement read in part: â€œDear Members, it is with regret that I inform you of the demise of Mr. Jide Tinubu, the son of our dear and esteemed leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Please commiserate with him.â€
The statement, however, did not provide details and the circumstances under which he died.
However, a family source said he died in London after battling with an undisclosed illness.
The source said his father and other members of the family had been very anxious about his health.
Jide studied at the University of Liverpool, UK, where he graduated with a Law degree. He obtained a Masterâ€™s degree in Maritime Law from the University of London and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1999.
He served as the promoter of TSL Limited and also worked in the Legal Department of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited from January 2000 to September 2001.
Prior to this, he had brief stints with Cargo Maritime in Paris, France, a firm of shipbrokers that specialises in petroleum product tankers, and Ocean and Oil Services Ltd.
Tinubuâ€™s spokesman, Mr. Tunde Rahman could not be reached on the phone for the former Lagos State governorâ€™s reaction. Other members of the family also declined to comment.
A stalwart of the APC in Lagos said the Tinubu family and the leadership of the party had issued instructions that no one should speak on the sad event.
He said: â€œThey said we should not talk about it. You know Asiwaju does not want all the publicity.â€
But as word got round of Jideâ€™s demise, President Buhari said last night that he was deeply grieved to learn of his passing.
A statement through his spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the president in a phone call to Tinubu on behalf of the federal government and his family, offered his deepest condolences to the Tinubu family over the demise of Jide.
Describing the transition of Jide as â€œsad and painfulâ€, the president said the nation had been denied the services and potential of Jide, whom he described as a resourceful lawyer.
He prayed God to grant the Tinubu family, friends and associates the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss, and simultaneously comfort all who mourn the passage of the promising young man.
Similarly, the APC said that it received the sad news of the death of Jide with great shock and grief.
In a statement issued wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, APC described the late Jide as a cerebral and industrious lawyer.
â€œIt is never easy losing a child or any loved one. Indeed, it is hardest when they are taken from us too soon. Many who met the late Jide Tinubu, who was a lawyer, fondly described him as cerebral, industrious and full of life.
â€œIn this moment of grief, the party offers its sincere condolences and deepest sympathy to His Excellency and other immediate family members over the painful loss.
â€œMay the outpouring of sympathy and the comfort in knowing that the late Jideâ€™s death is felt by many, help the family through this difficult time,â€ the party said.
Adding to the condolences, former Vice-President and frontline APC chieftain, Atiku Abubakar expressed shock and anguish over the sudden death of Jide.
In a personal message, Atiku commiserated with the Tinubu family, counselling them not to lose faith in the will of Allah despite the oddity of the present pain and challenges they may have found themselves in.
â€œNothing happens in this world without the will of Allah. How long we live or when to die is all ordained by the Almighty. But itâ€™s most heart-breaking for any parent to bury his or her own child.
â€œI pray that Almighty Allah would grant the Asiwaju and Senator Remi, his wife, and the rest of the family the fortitude to bear this huge loss,â€ Atiku said.
Also, in a statement personally signed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker said: â€œI commiserate with our National Leader.
â€œI was shocked to receive the sad news of the sudden death of Jide Tinubu.
â€œThe late Jide was a lawyer of high repute who cut his teeth in the maritime sector and was hardworking and enterprising.
â€œIt is saddening that a father buries his son. I can only imagine your pain and grief at this time.
â€œI pray to God Almighty to grant you and your family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.â€
The Osun State governor and a close associate of Bola Tinubu, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola also expressed shock at the news saying: â€œI am left shell-shocked by the news of the demise of Jide Tinubu. My thoughts and prayers are with our National leader, AsiwajuTinubu
â€œIt is my prayer that Allah grants him and his family the fortitude to bear this grave loss.â€
In his message, the former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, who requested the Obaze Campaign Organisation in his state to observe a minuteâ€™s silence when he heard the news, prayed to God to grant Tinubuâ€™s son eternal rest and to those he left behind the good courage to bear the loss with equanimity.
Chief Olabode George, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and national chairmanship candidate of the main opposition party, also expressed shock at the news of the young manâ€™s death.
â€œThe death of a beloved child is the worst thing to happen to any parent. I plead with Bola to take the death in his stride. It is most shocking. As a father, I sympathise with him and pray the Almighty God to give him the fortitude to bear the loss.â€
Also reacting, a former governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan described the death as a big loss to Tinubu and prayed to God to give him the strength to bear the loss.
Mr. Akin Osuntokun, a member of the THISDAY Editorial Board and columnist for the newspaper, was equally shocked when the news was broken to him by THISDAY.
Osuntokun who said he only left for Britain on Tuesday, cried: â€œWhat can I say? I have a close personal relationship with the family. So the loss is also personal to me.
â€œI should be with Asiwaju now but I just left the country yesterday (Tuesday). Kai! I donâ€™t know the kind of condolence I can offer that will adequately convey my sympathy and grief. May God rest his gentle soul in his bosom.â€
A former Minister of Aviation and APC critic, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, in his condolence message, said: â€œI am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Jide Tinubu, the son of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
â€œMay his soul rest in peace and may the Lord grant his family and friends the grace to bear this irreparable loss. It is a real tragedy,â€ he lamented.