Pa Olaniwun started preparing for death since 2003 —Methodist Archbishop

From left, Dr Eniola Ajayi (son), Professor Konyinsola Ajayi (son), Mrs Dara Odubogun (daughter), Mrs Yimika Phillips (daughter), Mrs Mope Ajayi (daughter-in-law), Segun Odubogun (son-in-law) and Dupe Ajayi (daughter-in-law), at the commendation service in honour of late Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, held at the Methodist Church of the Trinity, Tinubu, Lagos Island, on Monday. Photos: Sylvester Okoruwa.

ARCHBISHOP of Ibadan Methodist Church of Nigeria, Most Reverend Kehinde Stephen, has described the late Afenifere chieftain, Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, as someone who did not see death as a challenge.

He said the late Ajayi started preparing for death over 13 years ago.

Delivering his sermons at the commendation service held in honour of the deceased, at the Holy Trinity Methodist Church, Tinubu Square, Lagos, on Monday, the cleric stated that the late Ajayi was not oblivious of the inevitability of death, adding that death never caught the deceased unawares.

According to him, Pa Olaniwun had approached him as far back as July 2003, to help him fine-tune a copy of how he wanted his funeral service programme to look like.

“Unknown to many people, death never caught Pa Olaniwun unawares. He had actually tidy up his exit. For him, death did not pose any challenge, and it could never have been a challenge.

“For instance, he had prepared his funeral service programme as far back as July 28, 2005, and kept it with me since then. Family members were stunned when I presented a copy of the funeral service programme to them immediately he died. They were not aware that Pa Olaniwun had been preparing for his glorious exit since 2003.

“When he first brought the draft of the programme for me to look at, I myself was shocked. But after I had made my input, he went away and brought the final draft for safe-keeping,” the Ibadan Methodist Archbishop stated.

The cleric also described the late Afenifere chieftain as a righteous man, who always engaged in self-examination.

“He loved to worship and I can say he learnt so many things from the Israelites nation. He self-examined himself, the way the Israelites were doing it then, either in times of crisis or peace.

“Papa always engaged in self-examination. He would sit down with me and discuss with me.

“How I wish the present crop of leaders could imbibe this culture of self-examination to enable them know where we have missed it as a nation and how to beat a retreat,” he stated.

Gbolawoyi Ajayi, one of the deceased’s grand-children, said “Choosing one’s family is not by choice, but we are happy to find ourselves in this family. Grandpa would be remembered for his support and words of encouragement. For instance, he always insisted on being present in all our graduations, and I thank God that he was able to do that for all of us before his death.