General Adebayo’s death shocking, unexpected on eve of his 89th birthday — Son, Niyi Adebayo

Former Governor of Western Region, General Adeyinka Adebayo, on Tuesday, March 8, 2017, passed on on the eve of his 89th birthday, his family has announced.

The news of the death of the president of Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) was broken by his son, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, who is former governor of Ekiti State through a statement made available to newsmen.

Adebayo, who described the death of his father as shocking and unexpected to the family, expressed gratitude to God for a life well spent.

“With gratitude to God, we, the family of Adebayo of Iyin Ekiti, Ekiti State, announce the passing on to glory of our Patriarch, Major General Robert Adeyinka Adebayo (rtd).

“General Adebayo passed on this morning, March 8 on the eve of his 89th birthday.

“He served as the Military Governor of Western Region (comprising of Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti, Ondo states and part of Lagos State between 1966 and 1971.

“He is survived by his wife, children, grand children and great grand children. His burial arrangement will be announced later,” the former Ekiti governor said.

The first daughter of the deceased, Mrs. Nike Makinde, while speaking to journalists, who gathered at the General Adebayo’s residence in Ikeja GRA, described the late Military governor as a nationalist and statesman who did his best for Nigeria and the Nigerian Army.

She, however, assured that the family would still go ahead with late Adebayo 89th birthday celebrations earlier scheduled for today (Wednesday).

Mrs. Makinde said the decision was arrived at because General Adebayo had impacted positively the lives of his children and the family, contending, that was why the family would continue to celebrate him.

“He was a very kind and generous man. We will still give food to people tomorrow to celebrate him. We will celebrate him everyday of our life because General Adebayo is someone who we are going to celebrate for the rest of our life.

“He did his best for his country and all we can say to him is thank you. His first constituency was Nigeria and the Nigerian Army. He was a true statesman and nationalist. Apart from speaking Yoruba, he also speaks Hausa and Igbo languages fluently,” she said.

Eminent Nigerians and notable Yoruba leaders were on visits to the deceased’s house in Ikeja to pay tributes.

They include former governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba; Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola; Secretary of Yoruba Council of Elders, Chief Idowu Sofola; former spokesman to President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Akin Osuntokun; Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; former Deputy governor of Lagos State, Alhaja Sinatu Ojikutu; Second Republic senator, Prof. Banji Akintoye; Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, among others.

Former Ogun State governor, Aremo Osoba said General Adebayo played crucial role to the birth of democracy in Nigeria and also lived a fulfilled life.

Osoba, who thanked God that the decease was able to witness democracy in his life time, recalled that  it was in his (Adebayo) house that the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) was formed, describing the Ikeja home of the deceased as a “democratic shrine.”

“I thanked God that he saw democracy in his life time because it was in his house that the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) was formed. This house was a democratic shrine.

“It is a thing of joy that he was a governor and his son, Adeniyi was also the first civilian governor of Ekiti State in his lifetime. Baba lived a fulfilled life,” he said.

Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Fashola, in his reaction, described late Adebayo as a hero who served till his death, saying the former governor of Western Region did a lot of good for people in different capacity where he found himself.

“He did a lot of good for people. He served in public office and also served in different capacities after leaving office. He played great role in Yorubaland as President of Yoruba Council of Elders.

“He served till he died and we must all imbibe that spirit of service. We will miss him. His children and family will also miss him. We should thank God that He gave us General Adebayo. He was an hero,” he said.

The Secretary of YCE, Chief Idowu Sofola, in his own reaction, said the organisation would miss his president, who, according to him, was unable to do the last assignment given to him, expressing shock at his death.

“His death is still a shock to us. We will miss him badly. He was giving a special assignment during our last meeting but it is sad that he is unable to complete the assignment before his death. He contributed greatly to YCE and we are going to miss him,” he said.

Also speaking, former spokesman to President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Akin Osuntokun, described late Adebayo as real Ekiti man, who did his best for Ekiti during his lifetime.

According to Osuntokun, the late General Adebayo made a lot of impact in Western Region when he was a Military Governor, saying he was not just a General but people’s General.

“He has integrity. He cared so much about the welfare of the people and sensibility of the poor,” Osuntokun said.

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