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Ngige, NLC, Odah, Esele mourn NECA’s DG death

By Collins Olayinka (Abuja) and Gloria Nwafor (Lagos) 
03 October 2021   |   4:00 am
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige has expressed shock over the death of the Director-General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Dr Timothy Olawale.

Timothy Olawale

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige has expressed shock over the death of the Director-General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Dr Timothy Olawale.
   
In a condolence message, the Minister said: “We heard the unexpected news of the death of Olaware. We are sorry for your loss and convey our heartfelt sympathy to NECA, and its entire affiliate employers’ associations.”
   
While extending deep condolences to NECA and the family of Olaware, Ngige comforted them with the soothing words of Thomas Moore, saying, “Earth hath no sorrow that heaven cannot heal. May you all find strength in each other as you mourn your loved one and may your many memories of him help to sustain you at this most difficult time.”
 

 
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) equally described Olawale’s death as a great shock. In a statement, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba said Olawale demonstrated high-level professionalism and camaraderie with other social partners, especially Labour. 
 
“He was a dependable social partner to Nigerian workers. It is quite eerie to describe Olawale in the past tense. He will be greatly missed. His humility, kindness and candour will be greatly missed by all who were privileged to have worked closely with him,” he said.

Former Trade Union Congress (TUC) President, Peter Esele, and Executive Secretary, Organisation of Trade Unions of West Africa (OTUWA), John Odah also mourned Olawale’s passing. 

Odah said: “This is very shocking. He did not appear to be someone that was sick or health challenges. After a long reign of Olusegun Oshinowo as the Director-General of NECA, Olawale started very well and this happened when his reign started gathering pace. He performed so well as Oshinowo’s deputy. We were not surprised he did so well, when he assumed the saddle of leadership. He was a measured person and very calculated in his interaction with the organised Labour,” he stated.
   
Esele said Olawale’s death was least expected and a huge loss to both the organised employers’ body, as well as the organised Labour movement. 
 
He added: “He was a thorough and consummate administrator and a bridge builder; a very huge loss to the Labour movement. It was very easy to talk to him. I sympathise with his immediate family, Olusegun Oshinowo, whom he worked with closely in NECA. He will be remembered for building a close relationship between employers and employees. He will be missed greatly not only by employers’ body, but also by the entire organised private sector and the organised Labour.”  
 
In a statement, NECA secretariat said: “It is with deepest sadness that we announce the passing of Dr Timothy Olawale, our Director General, which occurred on October 1, 2021 at an hospital in Abuja.
 
“He is survived by a wife, children and other relatives. We pray the good Lord to grant his family and us all, the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss. The association is in contact with the family and more information will be communicated in due course.”
 


The Guardian gathered that Olawale, who was in Abuja for a board meeting with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), reportedly slumped and died on Friday.
     
According to a source, the NECA DG attended a meeting on Thursday in Abuja and later attended another meeting on Friday and was on his seat, when he could not get up and before help could get to him, he was gone.
   
Olawale was confirmed as the substantive NECA DG in January 2019, after six months in acting capacity, succeeding Segun Oshinowo, who retired in December 2018 after serving the association for 19 years.
   
He has 29 years industrial relations and strategic human resource management experience. He was very reputable in the industry and a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants.
 
Before his current position, Olawale was the Director in charge of Membership Services, where he was said to have played a key role in the Association’s membership development.
 
A graduate of Psychology from the University of Ibadan and a Master’s degree in Labour and Industrial Relations from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, he served as Executive Secretary of Hotel and Personal Services Employers Association for five years before joining NECA in April 2011.