By Ola Adeola
President Muhammadu Buhari and Akinwunmi Ambode, governor of Lagos, have condoled with the family of Olanimwun Ajayi and Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-political group, he belonged.
Ajayi passed on Friday, aged 91.
President Buhari’s statement, issued by Femi Adesina, his special adviser on media and publicity, described the deceased as “illustrious son, author, legal practitioner, elder statesman and nationalist”. He also condoled with Ogun State, Ajayi’s home state.
“President Buhari pays tribute to Pa Ajayi’s inspirational and dedicated work to entrench and strengthen democracy in Nigeria through his passionate engagements in Afenifere, the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) and the Patriots,” Adesina said.
“Guided by Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s principle, the President believes that the late revered Yoruba leader effectively combined his sharp commentary on the state of affairs in Nigeria with uncommon patriotism while working tenaciously to further unity, development and prosperity in the nation”.
Similarly, Governor Ambode said the deceased “was a consistent advocate for the struggle to see Nigeria achieve the dreams of her founding fathers.
“He was very passionate about the progress of Nigeria, he was an intellectual genius who had an enthusiasm for the development of his immediate community and the country at large.
“I recall my last meeting with him just about three months ago at the residence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It was like a premonition. He had admonished all of us to give him a long lasting legacy and ensure that the Yoruba hegemony is not trampled upon and tarnished.
“This wish of his, as a great Nigerian statesman, and true son of Yoruba land, we are committed to uphold and to cherish,” the Governor said.