The Selection Committee, Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership, has described the death of the late elder statesman, Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, as a rude shock.
The committee, under the chairmanship of the former Secretary General of Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, is an initiative of the Obafemi Awolowo Foundation.
They paid a condolence visit to the family of the deceased at Isara-Remo,Ogun State, on Thursday.
Although, Anyaoku, was not physically present, members in attendance were led by a close associate of the deceased, Pa Ayo Adebanjo and received by one of the late Ajayi’s children, Dr. Ola Ajayi.
Those in the visit were the Executive Secretary, Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, Dr Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu and Mr Bola Akingbade.
Awolowo Dosumu, who spoke on behalf of the committee, said that the news of Sir Ajayi’s passage still remained like a dream to them.
She recalled the active participation of the deceased at the last meeting of the committee, held penultimate Monday, at the Awolowo’s residence, Ikenne-Remo.
The former Ambassador to Netherlands noted that Sir Ajayi was very vibrant and active throughout the meeting that lasted for a very long time.
She said that Sir Ajayi’s contributions in the committee would be sorely missed, submitting that no one could replaced him on that committee.
Awolowo Dosumu added that the nonagenarian was a politician of repute and that he left behind good legacies.
She said: “The news of Pa Olaniwun Ajayi death was a shocking one to us. He was in attendance at a meeting of the Selection Committee, Obafemi Awolowo Prize for Leadership, penultimate Monday. He participated actively throughout the meeting. He was very vibrant. He draw us back at any point in time when we were drifting on the selection process.
“We are still in shock. We are here on the instruction of Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who is currently out of the country. Other members include Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe, Prof. Anya. O. Anya, Prof Oladipo Adamolekun, they all sent their apologies.
“It is not as if he is not old enough to die, but he is too good to go. His place in the committee can never be filled and also his role in nation-building would be deeply missed.”
The co-chairman of the African Newspapers of Nigeria, Plc, encouraged the children of the deceased to step up and continue with his legacies.
“He was a politician to the core. His legacy is so wide. You have a rich and noble legacy,” she added.
Responding, the eldest child, Ola, appreciated members of the committee for identifying with the family on the passage of their father.
He promised on behalf of his siblings that the family would uphold the good works of the deceased.