Buhari, Makinde, others pay tributes as Nigerians mourn late Oyo governor, Alao-Akala
strong> Atiku, Tinubu, Akeredolu, Okowa, others extol achievements
• Yoruba nation has lost a patriot, says YCE
President Muhammadu Buhari has joined Nigerians in paying tribute to a former Governor of Oyo State, Otunba Christopher Alao-Akala, who passed away, yesterday, aged 71.
He said Alao-Akala served the country and the people of Oyo State with dedication, making very important contributions to the development of institutions and communities.
He also expressed trust that family, friends and associates will honour his vision of entrenching good governance in the country and passion to lift the downtrodden in the society.
Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, abruptly ended the 2022 Inter-faith Prayer Service organised by the Oyo State Civil Service as the news broke.
He called for a minute’s silence and prayed for repose to the soul. He also condoled with the immediate family members of the former governor, his political associates and residents of the state.
National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, expressed deep sadness, saying the people of Ogbomoso, Oyo State and APC would sorely miss Alao-Akala.
In a condolence statement, Tinubu said: “Coming a month after the death of Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi, the loss of Alao-Akala, another eminent son of Ogbomoso and Oyo State, is disheartening. Alao-Akala was a leader and prominent politician who did his best not only for his Ogbomoso-hometown but also Oyo State and Nigeria.
“Alao-Akala passed on when the state and particularly our APC needed his services. His wisdom and experience were required to help resolve the leadership crisis in the state and wield the party together once again.”
This was as former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, described the news as a “rude shock”.
In a statement by his media office, the Waziri of Adamawa noted that Alao-Akala was a prolific politician whose records of achievement as governor in Oyo State remain enviable.
He condoled with the people and government of Oyo State over the loss and urged family and associates of the late Alao-Akala to take solace in the good legacies that he left behind.
Chairman of South West Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, described the death as a personal loss.
“The finality of death is a hard reality to deal with. Notwithstanding, it is a puzzle that only God understands. He giveth and taketh. Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala did not bid us farewell. We were not prepared to lose him now. The news of his demise came as a rude shock. It is, indeed, a piercing pain,” Akeredolu said in statement by Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Richard Olatunde.
He added: “As a former governor, Akala did his best by contributing immensely to the growth of the pacesetter state. Under his reign, the people witnessed development in all ramifications. He was a man that loved his people.
“Akala was a strong pillar of our great party, the APC, in Oyo State. He played the elderly role by stabilising the party in the state. His death is a huge loss to APC.”
His Ogun State counterpart, Adegboyega Oyetola, described the death as rude shock, saying the deceased was “a good friend of Osun who was always ready to identify with our government and celebrate our humble accomplishments and achievements.”
On his part, Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, said the late Alao-Akala was “a patriot and a political icon whose life-long dedication and indefatigable commitment to serving the people will continue to be remembered.”
Okowa added: “His contributions to the sociopolitical and economic development of Nigeria and indeed, humanity will remain indelible.
He commiserated with Governor Seyi Makinde, the government and people of Oyo State, friends, associates and admirers of the deceased politician, and prayed that God would grant the immediate family the fortitude to bear the loss.
In his reaction, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, said he received news of the death of “my elder brother, astute political statesman and former Governor of Oyo State with a huge sense of loss, shock and pain.”
He said the tragedy “not only came suddenly but also quite devastating. He was like a big brother to me, so his death has robbed me of a dear one who was so passionate about the development of Ogbomosho, Oyo State and Nigeria at large.”
Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), through its Secretary-General, Dr. Kunle Olajide, said: “It was a very sad loss to the Yoruba and Nigeria. He was a people-centred governor of Oyo State. He was a very patriotic and hardworking leader who had a love for his people and the state. The Yoruba nation in particular and Nigeria has lost a patriot.”
Similarly, the Otun Olubadan and Olubadan designate, Dr. Lekan Balogun, said: “We have lost a great and gentle man, whose contributions to the development and progress of Oyo State cannot be forgotten in a hurry. The late former governor was a friend of all whose politics was predicated on the principle of welfare of the people.”
A member of the National Governing Board of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Prince Kunle Oyewumi, described the death as a huge loss to Oyo State and Nigeria, even as he acknowledged contributions of the deceased to the social, economic and political development of the country.
“Having served meritoriously in various positions in the political space, the late politician contributed immensely to nation building. He was compassionate, urbane and kind-hearted. His memories will remain evergreen. He supported me in many ways. It is a personal loss,” Oyewumi said.
Postmaster General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Postal Service, Dr. Ismail Adebayo Adewusi, said: “It is shocking news for me and no doubt for many others who know about the energy of the late Chief Alao-Akala. He was an energetic politician and community leader.”
He added: “He was a grassroots man who identified and stayed with his people, especially the downtrodden. In my estimation, he was not a man given to rhetoric. He was a practical political figure who understood the mathematics of politics. Right from his days as a council chairman, he never left his people in Ogbomoso and he built on that capacity for mobilisation to build a name for himself in the politics of Oyo and indeed, Nigeria. We shall miss him.”