It was glowing tributes galore, on Wednesday, in memory of the chieftain of the Afenifere, a Pan Yoruba-socio cultural group, Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, as people of goodwill extolled his good virtues and ideals.
The late Ajayi who died on November 4 at the age of 91, was one of the disciples of the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
The programme organised by the group, was held at his No 2, Odemo Road, Isara-Remo, and had in attendance the governors of Oyo, Osun and Ogun, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and Senator Ibikunle Amosun respectively.
Others in attendance were Afenifere Leader, Pa. Reuben Fasonranti, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Olu Falae, Chief Bisi Akande, Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa, Chief Cornelius Adebayo, Senator Femi Okurounmu, Senator Adegbenga Kaka, Honourable Wale Oshun.
Also, Dr (Mrs) Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu, Chief Sehinde Arogbofa, Senator Kofoworoola Akerele -Bucknor, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Chief Solomon Asemota, foremost Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, represented by his wife, Dr (Mrs) Abisola Sodipo -Clark, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, Mr. Tokunbo Ajasin, Mrs. Dupe Adelaja, Senator Banji Akintoye, Chief Pekun Awobona among others.
The chairman organising committee for the funeral rites for the late Ajayi, Chief Supo Shonibare, said the event was put together to celebrate a great patriot, who committed himself to the unity of Yoruba nation.
He said, “Sir Olaniwun Ajayi was strongly committed to liberty, democracy and the devolution of power to the six geo -political zones as federating units or regions. For him, justice was a primary principle. “
Governor Ajimobi while addressing the gathering described the late politician as an accomplished Nigeria and an epitome of humility.
He noted that the late legal luminary preached for peace among Yoruba leaders till he breathed his last, submitting that failure to espouse unity among the Yoruba leaders, would continue to affect the development of the region.
Ajimobi admonished members of the Afenifere to continue flying the flag of unity in the Southwest.
Aregbesola, in his tribute entitled “A star falls”, said that the late Ajayi was a man of many parts, whose departure remained a big blow to the progressives fold.
He said Ajayi was a defender of Yoruba race and a unifying leader of Oduduwa children.
The governor of State of Osun also said that quality and concrete unity must be put in place, rather than a blanket unity for Yoruba nation to progress.
Aregbesola added that the late Afenifere chieftain’s memory should be honoured by forging a common front in the Southwest.
He said, “Olaniwun Ajayi lived a good, fulfilling and remarkable life worthy of recognition, emulation and celebration. The Yoruba race, progressive Nigerians and the world at large will for a long time preserve the memory of his huge contributions to the expansion of freedom, federalism, rule of law, democracy, human rights and dignity.”
While Senator Amosun also lent his voice for strong unity and cohesion in the South-west to engender regional integration.
Amosun said political leaders in the region should be wary of political mischiefs capable of polarising the Southwest.
He described the late Olaniwun Ajayi as a true and passionate Yoruba leader who worked for unity among his unity.
He said unnecessary political rivalry must be discouraged to ensure unity and progress in the region.
The co-chairman, African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, Dr. Awolowo Dosumu, said Sir. Ajayi was a man full of commitment and loyalty.
She said, “His commitment to ideals and his loyalty is also well -known. People like Sir Olaniwun Ajayi are not given to frivolity. They only commit to ideas and relationships after very rigorous consideration.
“His legendary loyalty to Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and the ideals he espoused, is an excellent example and was, practically, his defining attributes “