Awo’s first daughter, Reverend (Mrs) Omotola Oyediran, dies at 79; Buhari, other leaders condole with family

The Chairman of the African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) Plc, Reverend (Mrs) Omotola  Oyediran, is dead, the family announced on Friday.

Reverend Mrs Oyediran was the first daughter of the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Yeye Odua, Chief Mrs HID Awolowo. She was also the wife of the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor A.B.O.O. Oyediran. She died on Friday afternoon less than two months to her 80th birthday.

In a statement by the family on Friday evening announcing her passage, she will be remembered with great affection.

According to the statement: “The children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of Professor Olukayode Oyediran regret to announce the sudden, but peaceful passing of his wife of 57 years, Mrs. Omotola Olubunmi Oyediran.

“Mrs. Oyediran was the first daughter of the late Chief Obafemi and Chief (Mrs) HID Awolowo. She was a very loving, kind and generous mother, grandmother and great grandmother, and matriarch of the Awolowo dynasty.

“She had a very large family, because her heart was large, and her embrace wide. She was a friend of the poor, needy and downtrodden. They called her “Iya Alanu OkeBola.”

“She was full of positive energy. She will be remembered with great affection and sorely missed.

“May her soul rest in perfect peace.”

Reverend (Mrs) Oyediran was born on December 1. 1940.

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent condolences to the family of late Premier of the Western Region and nationalist, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, over the passing of Mrs Omotola Oyediran.

A statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity) in Abuja on Friday, said the president commiserated with friends and associates of Mrs Oyediran, particularly her only surviving sister, Dr Tokunbo Awolowo Dosumu, over the loss, urging the family to take solace in the investments of the deceased in making life better for others.

It said as the family mourns, President Buhari prayed that the almigty God will receive the soul of the departed and comfort all her loved ones.

Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has described the death of Mrs Oyediran as a big blow.

Abiodun, in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, described Oyediran as not only “an embodiment of her mother, Yeye Odua HID Awolowo’s virtues, she demonstrably exhibited independent-mindedness, foresight and managerial acumen in all task thrust upon her.

“She was also a great Nigerian in her right and stood as a rock of Gibraltar behind her very successful medical doctor husband and former Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan, Prof ABOO Oyediran. Her successes as a homemaker cannot but be an irreparable loss to her immediate and extended family members and and indeed a very painful exit for them.

“Mrs Oyediran was a central figure during her father travails as a political figure and after the demise of Papa and Mama Awolowo. Her role in keeping the legacies of Chief Obafemi Awolowo as Chairman of the African Newspaper of Nigeria, publishers of the Tribune titles and family businesses are a testament to business acumen and genuine love for her iconic parents.”

Former governor of Ogun State, Chief Gbenga Daniel, has expressed shock over the death of the Mrs Omotola Oyediran.

Daniel, in a letter of condolence signed and addressed to the only surviving child of the Sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu, said the deceased lived an exemplary life.

He urged Dr Awolowo Dosumu to take solace in the fact that every mortal must taste the bitter pills of death.

The letter read: “I received the demise of your sister, Mrs. Omotola Oyediran, with the greatest shock, pains and trepidation.

“I was particularly pained because I know you both shared uncommon bond both as siblings and as scions of the late sage, Papa Obafemi Awolowo, who spent his entire years to give Nigeria and especially the South-West a great direction in good governance that is yet to be equalled.

“I share in this your moment of grief and I can only wish you the Lord’s strength to bear this very painful passage.

“As mortals, death is a debt we all owe and we cannot question the decision of the Almighty in times like this.

“We are consoled by the good life she lived, the enviable character she exhibited and the family she left behind.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has expressed sadness over the passing away of Reverend Tola Oyediran.

He said Mrs Omotola Oyediran lived a fulfilled life, just like her late father.

Gbajabiamila said Reverend Oyediran was a beacon of hope to so many people, noting that her life was worthy of emulation.

“During her lifetime, Oyediran dedicated herself to the service of humanity, just like her father. Indeed, hers was a life well spent.

“It is painful that we lost her to the cold hands of death at this time. My thoughts and prayers are with the Oyediran and Awolowo family at this moment of grief.

“I pray that the good Lord will rest her soul peacefully. I also pray that He gives the family the fortitude to bear this huge loss,” Gbajabiamila said.



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