The leader/President, Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, Chief Idowu Sofola (SAN), is dead.
He died in Lagos on Friday, aged 84, according to the Secretary General of the YCE, Dr Kunle Olajide.
Olajide told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on telephone on Saturday that the YCE was grieved and shocked by Sofola’s death, who he said, was not ill or bedridden.
“I spoke with him few days ago, congratulating him on the appointment of his son as a high judge and we were planning an event to host him.
“The icon is leaving us at a critical time particularly in Yorubaland as the country prepares for the 2019 general elections.
“He was an intelligent man of Yoruba extraction and the vacuum he left behind will be difficult to fill.
“It is great shock to me and YCE; a strong advocate and believer in true federalism, brilliant lawyer and defender of human rights and democracy,” he said.
Olajide, who said he was leading a delegation of YCE headquartered in Ibadan, to the Ikenne home of the Sofolas in Ogun, added: “His death is terrifying.”
He condoled with the immediate family, Ikenne people, Ogun State and the Yoruba on his demise and prayed that may Allah grant his soul rest.
The prominent jurist, bencher and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association took over from Maj.-Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo, who also died last year.
Sofola was born on September 29, 1934. He was the first black to be appointed the Secretary of the International Bar Association (IBA) and was a prominent member of the Ikenne Social Circle and the Obara Ruling House for the Alakenne Royalty.
Meanwhile, the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has commiserated with the family of the deceased.
Amosun described Sofola as an icon, who served his community, town, and the country in so many capacities meritoriously.
He noted that the deceased lived a good life and should not be mourned, but rather celebrated, enjoining his widow and family members to be grateful for the life well spent.