Frederick Fasehun, founder of OPC, dies at 83
Yoruba socio-cultural organisations of Afenifere, Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE), Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and lawmaker representing Lagos West in the National Assembly, Senator Olamilekan Solomon Adeola have mourned the death of the founder of OPC and National Chairman of Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Dr. Frederick Fasehun, who died yesterday morning at the age of 83.
In separate condolence statements, the groups and the senator described Fasehun’s death as a great loss to Nigeria and the Yoruba race especially.
They also lamented that one of the foremost agitators for Nigeria’s return to true federalism, since the military aborted the First Republic through a bloody coup in 1966, had again died without the hope of restructuring realised.
Spokesman of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said: “The famous medical doctor and founder of OPC was a dogged fighter, who played pivotal role, particularly in the resistance to the annulment of June 12 1993 elections and generally in all struggles for emancipation in his lifetime.
“His death at this crucial time in the life of our country was a big blow to the struggle he devoted most of his adult life to. As we cannot question God for taking him when it pleased Him, we pray that his soul will find a comforting testing place.”
Dr. Kunle Olajide, who spoke for YCE, said Nigeria has lost another irreplaceable political, social and intellectual giant.
He said: “One wouldn’t have imagined that Nigeria and the Yoruba race especially would lose a great gem at this crucial state of the nation, when we are moving towards what appears to be an unforeseen circumstances and future that would require the experiences of sages like Fasehun to tackle.
“Dr. Fasehun was a nationalist to the core, who believed in true federalism and fought for it throughout his life. Unfortunately, Nigeria was not restructured as he would have wanted until his demise yesterday.”
The YCE scribe, however, said the only good Nigerians could do to remember Fasehun’s memory was to use the next general election to elect someone with a true agenda and vision to restructure Nigeria.
The Aare Ona Kakanfo, Chief (Dr.) Gani Adams, who is also the national coordinator of OPC, said Fasehun left behind a worthy legacy.
“It was with shock that I received the sad news of the passing of our Papa and founding father of OPC,” he said. “This, no doubt, is a moment of great grief for the entire OPC family, Yoruba nation, Nigeria and the world at large. But it is also clear that the deep sense of loss over the demise of our beloved leader is shared by many like me. I hasten, therefore, to address this statement to commiserate with the immediate family over this painful bereavement.
“Papa Fasehun in his life time made outstanding contributions to the nation’s progress in many capacities, and no doubt left behind a worthy legacy through his careers as a renowned medical doctors and politician, among others.
“He exhibited very good leadership qualities, wisdom and wealth of experience, which he indeed put to use in the discharge of his responsibility, as well as upholding the institution’s tradition of excellence, while alive.”
Meanwhile, Senator Adeola, in a condolence message signed by his Spokesman, Kayode Odunaro, said the OPC founder stood for truth and also fought for human rights throughout his life.
The chairman of Senate Committee on Local Content said his senatorial district had lost a prominent Nigerian, who stood for truth and fought for the rights of his people in Nigerian federation. His role in the fight to enthrone democracy against military rule in Nigeria remains indelible in history.
In another condolence message, former Deputy National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George described Fasehun as a quintessential embodiment of principled and unswerving advocate of protecting the weak and defending the trampled.
He said: “He was a Yoruba Elder with complete attributes of the Omoluabi culture. But he was also a Nigerian patriot, who fought for justice, truth and democratic ethos. He was a restless and fearless activist, who lived a simple and incorruptible life, pursuing his mission with balanced commitment, with the purity of affection and with a broad nobility of character.”
Meanwhile, Pro National Conference Organisation (PRONACO) said it received the news in shock.
A statement signed by Wale Okunniyi said: “To us, another unfortunate political vacuum has been created in Nigeria by the sudden demise of a Yoruba nationalist, Dr. Fasehun. However, we take consolation in the fact that posterity, in our humble estimation, shall be kind to him, notwithstanding his latter days political challenges, for rising up to lead millions of Nigerians and Pro democracy activists in association with other compatriots to confront military autocracy in Nigeria, when it was most dangerous to do so.”
Dr. Frederick Usiotan Fasehun was born on September 21, 1935 to the illustrious family of High Chief Columbus Akindojutimi Fasehun, the Lomofe of Ondo Kingdom, and before his demise, the High Chief Odunwo designate of Ondo Kingdom, and Madam Olakuojomu, a scion of the Jomu Warlord family of Ondo Kingdom.
He attended St Stephen’s Primary School, Ondo and Ondo Boys High School, Ondo. Dr. Fasehun also attended the University of Aberdeen, where he bagged his MB.ChB. He later became the first African to bag a PhD in the Chinese medicine of Acupuncture from the University of Nankin, China.
He was Nigeria’s foremost anaesthesiologist, the first to supervise a surgery without putting the patient to sleep at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital in 1977.
He was a Fellow of Royal College of Surgeon, Fellow of West African College of Surgeon, a teacher and mentor of many Professors of anesthesia. He was the author of ‘The Complete Book of Acupuncture.’