2015…And Many Prominent Nigerians Couldn’t See The End
IN the course of this year, death dipped its colds hands into the fold of prominent personalities in the Nigerian nation and made away with a good number of them. Well renowned in their various callings and services to the country, the death of these personalities in a space of one year represent a huge loss to the country. Notable among them were:
The Emir of Keffi, Alhaji Muhammadu Chindo-Yamusa II: Chindo-Yamusa II died on December 4, 2015 after a brief illness. He was Chancellor of Nasarawa State University before his demise.
The late emir was born 70 years ago and was enthroned on May 11, 1978.
The Galadima of Keffi, Abdul Usman, who announced the emir’s death had said: “Our emir, the promoter of peace and culture died this morning after a brief illness. His death is heartbreaking, painful but God gives life and takes it at will. The emir had contributed a lot to the development of not only Keffi, but to the development of Nasarawa State and the entire country while alive.”
Emir of Borgu, Haliru Dantoro Kitoro III: The Emir of Borgu, Senator Haliru Dantoro Kitoro III, reportedly died in a German hospital on October 30, 2015, after a brief illness. The late traditional ruler was a Senator in 1992 on the platform of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC).
Kitoro III, who was enthroned in 2004 by former Niger State Governor, Abdulkhadir Kure, after a protracted legal battle over the stool, was 77 years before his demise.
Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade: Oba Sijuwade, the Olubuse II, was crowned the Ooni of Ife in 1980, becoming the 50th monarch of Ile-Ife. Ife is a traditional Yoruba state based in the town of Ife in Osun State. He was crowned on December 6, 1980.
Sijuwade was born on January 1, 1930 in Ile-Ife to the Ogboru ruling house, grandson of the Ooni Sijuwade Adelekan Olubuse I. He studied at Abeokuta Grammar School and Oduduwa College in Ile-Ife. He worked for three years in his father’s business, then for two years with the Nigerian Tribune, before attending Northampton College in the United Kingdom to study business management. By the age of 30 he was a manager in Leventis, a Greek-Nigerian conglomerate. In 1963, he became Sales Director of the state-owned National Motor in Lagos. After spotting a business opportunity during a 1964 visit to the Soviet Union, he formed a company to distribute Soviet-built vehicles and equipment in Nigeria, which became the nucleus of a widespread business empire. He also invested in real estate in his hometown of Ile Ife. By the time Sijuwade was crowned Ooni in 1980, he had become a wealthy man.
He was reported dead on July 28, 2015 in a London hospital at the age of 85 but the news was refuted by the Royal traditional council of Ile Ife who claimed that he was alive and in good health. His death away was officially announced by the Ife High Chiefs when they visited the governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, on August 12, 2015 at the Governor’s Office in the state capital, Osogbo.
The Olu of Warri, The Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse II: The influential Itsekiri King, who celebrated his 28 years on the throne in 2015, was reported to have died in a private hospital in Lagos on September 5, 2015. He had been on the throne since 1987. The Warri Traditional Council of Chiefs, however, officially announced the demise of the Olu on Saturday, September 19, which laid to rest the controversy surrounding his death.
The late Olu was variously described as a true Christian monarch, who served God with humility and worked for peace and harmony among his subjects and neighbours. The traditional burial rites of the late Olu began on Thursday November 19, 2015 with a commendation service at the palace in Warri. The rites continued on November 20 at Ode Itsekiri and lasted for 14 days. He is survived by his wife and children.
Gamaliel Oforitsenere Onosode: A foremost Nigerian technocrat and administrator, Gamaliel Oforitsenere Onosode was born on May 22, 1933. A former presidential candidate of the All Nigeria People’s Party, he was educated at the Government College, Ughelli and the University of Ibadan. He emerged in the 1970s as one of Nigeria’s leading educated chief executives, when he was at the helm of NAL Merchant Bank of Nigeria. Over the years, he rose to become a leading boardroom guru in Nigeria’s corporate environment. He was also a former president of the Nigerian Institute of Management.
An Urhobo man, born and raised in Sapele, a suburban city in the current Delta State by a disciplined father, he most times credited the strict family background and practice as being a complementary factor in his success as a disciplined civil servant and corporate administrator.
Throughout his career, Onosode chaired several private and public sector businesses and initiatives. He died on September 29, 2015 and has since been buried.
Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo: The matriarch of the Awolowo dynasty, Hannah Idowu Dideolu Awolowo (nee Adelana), died on September 19, 2015, aged 99 years. Born on November 25, 1915, she died a little over two months to her 100th birthday.
The late Awolowo, wife of the late premier of the defunct Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, died 28 years after her husband, who fondly described her as his jewel of inestimable value. Awolowo, a widely respected politician and Yoruba leader, died in 1987.
A successful businesswoman and astute politician, she was the First Lady of the old Western Region. She played an active role in the politics of Western Nigeria. She stood in for her husband in the alliance formed between the NCNC and the AG, called the United Progressive Grand Alliance (UPGA), while he was in jail.
She was buried on November 25, 2015, beside her husband’s grave in the family compound in Ikenne, Ogun State, with prominent Nigerians including President Muhammadu Buhari in attendance.
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