Aliko Dangote, Osinbajo, Amosun, Others Pay Tribute At Olaniwun’s Burial
Eminent Nigerians including the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun and industrialist, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, showered encomiums on the late Afenifere chieftain, Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, on Thursday at his funeral service.
The funeral service was held at the Methodist Church, Isara-Remo, in Remo North Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The Vice-President while speaking at the church, eulogised the deceased, saying that his life “was all about service to Yoruba people and Nigeria.”
Osinbajo, who also described the late lawyer cum politician as a great author, said late Pa Ajayi devoted the last 10 years of his life to writing books.
The Vice-President noted further that the deceased excelled in the legal profession, establishing one of the best law firms on the continent of Africa.
He said, “Let me say, I have known him all my life. His family and my family have known each other for a long time. My parents and the Ajayis are friends.
“What I found about him is that he always believed his life was about service to humanity and his life reflected that.
“In the legal profession, he excelled.
He has a law firm, which is one of the best on the African continent. In politics, he served the nation and was a member of NADECO that fought against the late Gen. Sani Abacha’s tyranny.
“He risked his life to win our freedom and democracy we enjoy today.
“In Afenifere, he demonstrated that his life must have to be a life of service. When we were campaigning in 2015, we visited the Awujale in his Palace at Ijebu – Ode. Ajayi was there that day.
“He told the Awujale that he personally came to him (Awujale), and that he had known me since I was young. He made sacrifices for our people and our country. I thank God for that kind of life.”
Amosun also paid glowing tribute to the departed, saying that Pa Ajayi lived his life in the service of mankind.
He said, “We are one of Baba’s children, today is not for long speeches, Baba Ajayi lived a life of service to man and service to man is what we owe God.”
A former President, Christian Association of Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Mbang, in his sermon, anchored his message on Psalm 62: 9 – 10.
He said life on earth without God was meaningless.
Mbang said, “It does not matter the position one occupies in the society, humanity is the same, sooner or later, one would experience death.”
The ex-Prelate of the Methodist Church, reminded people that death could come sooner or later for anybody, warning that “there is always a time to give account of one’s stewardship before God.”
He described Olaniwun Ajayi as the humblest man he had ever met, adding that despite having “ all the trappings of power and wealth, Ajayi remained a humble man and a true soldier of the Lord.”
In the tribute of the Methodist Church of Nigeria signed by the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr. Samuel Uche, and read on his behalf by the Secretary, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Rev. Mike Akinwale, the church described the late Olaniwun Ajayi as a “quintessential Methodist, a remarkable Christian, exemplary nationalist and foremost philanthropist.”
The President Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who spoke at the graveside to journalists, described Pa Ajayi as “a great politician and philanthropist, who had left his footprints on the sand of time and he would be greatly missed.”
The first son of the deceased, Dr. Ola Ajayi, who sobbed intermittently at the graveside, also said the family would greatly miss their father, adding that as the eldest child the responsibility was now on him to lead the family.
“I pray that God will help me,” he said.
The last daughter of Pa Ajayi, Mrs. Yimika Phillips, equally paid glowing tribute to her father, saying, “We called him ‘abiyamo’ (caring mother) because he was so kind and caring, he took care of all us.”
The remains of late Ajayi were later buried in the compund of his sprawling country home at Isara at exactly 2pm.
Other eminent personalities at the event included Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, ex-Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, Ola Makinde, wife of the Oyo State Governor, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, Ondo State Governor-elect, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), and the Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly, Mr. Suraj Adekunbi.