Nigerians from all walks of life mourned Chief Abraham Adesanya, the Pan-Yoruba cultural group, Egbe Afenifere, who died on Sunday.
Adesanya died peacefully in his Apapa, Lagos, residence after having his breakfast, provoking a nationwide mourning. Adesanya would have been 86 years old 24 July.
As news of his death broke, political associates and friends converged on his residence to condole with his family.
One of the early callers was former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, who said Chief Adesanya had a peaceful passage.
Chief Adesanya’s daughter, Mrs. Modupe Adelaja, said he would be remembered for his contribution to democracy.
Adelaja, the Director-General of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) who broke down in tears on arriving her father’s residence, said he (Adesanya) stood on the side of the masses, even when it was not convenient.
“It is left for the people on how best they want to immortalise him,” she said, adding: “He will be remembered for his dogged and self-less service to the people .” Adelaja said her father had been ill for about four years.
In a telephone interview, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, said he was saddened by the news of the death of Adesanya, adding “Baba Adesanya was the link between the pre-independence and post-independence era of our nation particularly in the South-West. His place will be difficult to fill and he will be sorely missed. ”
In his reaction, former Senate President Ken Nnamani said “Baba Adesanya was one of those political icons who showed purpose and action. He brought integrity into all he did. He will be sorely missed, especially at this time when we need men of integrity and purpose in our nation.”
Former World Court Judge, Prince Bola Ajibola, expressed shock, saying it was a pity that the “strong politician and great fighter” had to die at this time.
“He was a great man, a great lawyer, a great politician, a great fighter and nationalist of the first order. He will definitely be missed by everybody and lovers of freedom and democracy,” Ajibola added.
President of the Nigerian Senate, Senator David Mark, lamented Adesanya’s demise, saying the late nationalist left his footprints on the sands of time.
Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, and some other senators Iyiola Omisore and former Senator Mojisola Akinfenwa also mourned Adesanya.
Adesanya’s eldest son, Bayo, said his father deserved to be immortalised by the Federal Government.
“Nigeria should immortalise him because he was a dogged fighter, who fought for the democracy the country enjoys at present,” he said.
Meanwhile, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has pledged that the state government will give the late Adesanya a befitting state burial, describing the A fenifere leader as one of the country’s greatest nationalists.
Giving an account of his last moments, the nurse who attended to him, Mrs. Chris tianah Oluwagbemi, said Adesanya was having his meal of custard and milk around 12.20 pm and suddenly, he returned the meal to her, and when she asked him what was wrong, he never gave a reply.
“When I gave him the food, he returned it to me. I asked are you not interested in the meal? He gave no reply. I shook his body, when I looked at his eye balls they had changed. I wanted to take his pulse but his arm just dropped.”
The late Chief Adesanya was a member of the defunct Western Region House of Assembly and a Senator in the Second Republic.
A distinguished lawyer, he was part of the legal team that took up the election petition of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo following the 1979 presidential election.
He survived an assassination attempt in 1996. Panapress .