Saturday, 23rd September 2023

Buhari, Sanwo-Olu, Abiodun, others eulogise business mogul, Balogun

By Gbenga Salau, Ijeoma Thomas-Odia and Azeez Olorunlomeru (Lagos), Tunde Oyedoyin (London) and Rotimi Agboluaje (Ibadan)
20 May 2023   |   3:48 am
“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.” That was how American author and professor of biochemistry, Isaac Asimov summarised the mystery called death.

Late Otunba Olasubomi Balogun

• His death expected – Source
• Friends, family mourn ace banker, philanthropist

“Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.” That was how American author and professor of biochemistry, Isaac Asimov summarised the mystery called death.

Yesterday, it was the turn of the family of the late Otunba Olasubomi Balogun, to experience the contrasting emotions that occasion such happenings as their patriarch and founder of First City Merchant Bank (FCMB) passed on at 89.

President Muhammadu Buhari, in condoling with the deceased family, lauded his contributions to the business community, particularly banking and investment sector.

In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media & Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari said the businessman’s legacy of kindness and charity stretched into many homes, institutions, and communities, touching lives through education, health, and multiple empowerment opportunities.

President Buhari commended his foresight in founding the FCMB and growing it to a giant through hard work, with branches across the country to show for.

He, therefore, prayed the Almighty God to receive the soul of the departed, and comfort his loved ones.

Among the earliest to commiserate with the deceased family were Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who confirmed that the late Olori Omo’ba of Ijebuland, and the Asiwaju of Ijebu Christians had just passed on.

Sanwo-Olu described the late Otunba Balogun as a renowned technocrat, seasoned administrator and philanthropist, who made a mark in the country by contributing to the growth and development of the banking sector in Nigeria.

In the condolence message endorsed by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, Sanwo-Olu also commended Balogun’s contribution to the Nigerian economy as a boardroom guru, and employer of labour, especially as the founder of FCMB among several other companies.

The governor also commiserated with his Ogun State counterpart, Prince Dapo Abiodun; the Awujale of Ijebu Kingdom, Oba Sikiru Adetona, and the entire people of the state, especially indigenes of Ijebu on the demise of their illustrious son and elder statesman.

Sanwo-Olu also sympathised with the Managing Director of FCMB, Mrs. Yemisi Edun, and the entire management and staff of the financial institution.

He said: “On behalf of the Government and people of Lagos State, I want to express my sincere condolences to the family, friends and associates of Otunba Subomi Balogun, as well as management and staff of FCMB.

“I pray that God will grant him eternal rest and grant his immediate family, friends, associates, FCMB team, the banking industry and the people of Ogun State, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

The Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), also, yesterday, mourned the banker’s demise.

A statement in Ibadan, by the Secretary-General of the organisation, Chief Oladipo Oyewole, said that “the passing on to glory of our respected go-getter and achiever, a veritable son of Yorubaland, Otunba Subomi Balogun, the Olori Omo’ba of Ijebu land was at an unexpected time.

“It is therefore with trepidation that we extend our condolences to his immediate family, to the Awujale-in-Council, and to the entire Yoruba race for this great loss

We pray the almighty God to grant all of us, as a people, the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.

“May the soul of the dearly departed rest well with his creator.”

Governor Abiodun in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, described the death of Balogun as a colossal loss, not only to Ogun State, but Nigeria and the business world.

He noted that the late Olori Omo Oba of Ijebuland was one of the foremost entrepreneurs who took banking to an enviable level in the country, adding that apart from being a business magnate, Balogun was a devoted Christian, a loving father and husband, as well as lover of Ijebuland.

The governor said the contributions of the late banker to the socio-economic development of Ijebuland and Ogun State was humongous and beneficial to numerous people and entities.

According to the statement, the vacuum created by the demise of Balogun will be difficult to fill, pointing out that his love for humanity and dedication to the service of God was worth emulation.

While commiserating with the Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr.) Sikiru Adetona, and the entire people of Ijebu, he emphasised that the death is a loss of another illustrious son of Ogun State, declaring that his philanthropic gestures and good sense of fashion and traditions will be sorely missed.

Former Vice President and the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, in his remarks, said: “Otunba Subomi Balogun was a great man in almost all human endeavours. As a businessman, he was reputable and iconic. As a community man, his people enjoyed unfettered access to his presence and a measure of his impact. As a family man, his marks of excellence are evident for everyone to see in the quality of the children that survived him.

“For sure, his death is a national loss. That he lived to a ripe age with so much accomplishment is an attestation of the mercies of the Almighty upon him.

On behalf of my family, I join his family in mourning the loss of a worthy patriarch. I also sympathise with the good people and government of Ogun State over the loss of a dynamic and illustrious son.

Former Governor Gbenga Daniel, in his tweet, wrote: “I received with shock the passing of the Founder of @MyFCMB, Otunba Michael Subomi Balogun, a man with whom I shared a lot in common in royal lineage, as Asiwaju of Christians in Ijebu and Remo lands and as associates in business. His passage left a vacuum that will be difficult to fill. Adieu! Olori Omoba of Akile Ijebu.”

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer, Silverbird Group, Ben Murray-Bruce, tweeted: “Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Otunba Subomi Balogun, the founder of First City Monument Bank (FCMB). His vision and leadership have left an indelible mark on the banking industry. My heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and the entire FCMB community. May his soul rest in peace.”