President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday led Nigerians in paying tributes to Mrs. Tola Oyediran, eldest daughter of the first Premier of the old Western region, late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Mrs. Oyediran died on Friday at the University Teaching Hospital, Ibadan, aged 79 years.
Buhari in a condolence message to the Awolowo family described the exit of Mrs. Oyediran as sad.
Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the president, Mallam Garba Shehu, said: “President Muhammadu Buhari sends condolences to the family of late Premier of the Western Region and nationalist, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, over the passing of Mrs. Tola Oyediran, eldest daughter of the sage.
“The President commiserates with friends and associates of Mrs. Oyediran, particularly her only surviving sister, Mrs. Tokunbo Awolowo, over the sad loss, urging the family to take solace in the investments of the deceased in making life better for others.
“As the family mourns, President Buhari prays that the Almighty God will receive the soul of the departed, and comfort all her loved ones.”
She was humble, amiable, says Asiwaji Bola Tinubu
In his own tribute, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, described the deceased as humble, amiable and with graceful disposition; virtues which he said “endeared her to many of us.”
Tinubu said Mrs. Oyediran “represented the Awolowo family positively through her excellent moral conduct and shared her father’s welfarist political philosophy.”
He added: “As Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tribune Newspapers until her death, she helped take the Tribune titles to a new height through her emphasis on professionalism and integrity in all their editorial offerings.
“She died close to her 80th birthday. We thank God for her life and important contributions to Nigeria. I commiserate with all those she left behind, particularly her children, grandchildren; including my Special Assistant, Damilotun Aderemi, and the entire Awolowo and Oyediran families. May God Almighty comfort them over this loss.
“I also mourn with the management and staff of Tribune newspapers; My condolences to the governors of Ogun and Oyo states, Prince Dapo Abiodun and Mr. Seyi Makinde respectively, as well as the government and people of the two states over the demise of their illustrious daughter.
“I pray that God grant the soul of our most beloved Mrs. Oyediran eternal rest.”
Her death has thrown Ogun into mourning, says Abiodun.
Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State said the death of Mrs. Oyediran had thrown the state into mourning.
He described the late Tola Oyediran as not only “an embodiment of humility and virtues, but she demonstrably exhibited independent-mindedness, foresight and managerial acumen in all tasks 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 A.B. O. Oyediran. Her successes as a home-maker cannot but be an irreparable loss to her immediate and extended family members and indeed a very painful exit for them.
“Mrs. Oyediran was a central figure during her father’s 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 Nigerian Tribune titles and family businesses are a testament to business acumen and genuine love for her iconic parents.”
Mrs. Oyediran passed on around noon on Friday.
She was to celebrate her 80th birthday on December 1.
Until her death, she was the Chairman, Board of Directors of African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN), publishers of Tribune titles.