By Maxwell Adeyemi Adeleye
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday expressed sadness over the passage of foremost elder statesman and member of the Obafemi Awolowo political family, Pa Olaniwun Ajayi.
Olaniwun Ajayi, a prominent chieftain of the pan Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere died in the early hours of Friday morning at the age of 91.
The Governor in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, said the late Ajayi was a frontline politician who was passionate about the progress of the Yoruba nation and Nigeria at large.
“Papa was one of the few surviving close associates of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. After Chief Awolowo’s death, he was a consistent advocate for the struggle to see Nigeria achieve the dreams of her founding fathers.
“He was very passionate about the progress of Nigeria, he was an intellectual genius who had an enthusiasm for the development of his immediate community and the country at large.
“I recall my last meeting with him just about three months ago at the residence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. It was like a premonition. He had admonished all of us to give him a long lasting legacy and ensure that the Yoruba hegemony is not trampled upon and tarnished.
“This wish of his, as a great Nigerian statesman, and true son of Yoruba land, we are committed to uphold and to cherish,” the Governor said.
Governor Ambode recalled that Pa Olaniwun Ajayi’s law firm which was established in 1962 grew from being a sole practitionership to one of the largest and open partnerships in Sub-Saharan Africa and in its five decades of existence, held briefs for various corporate organisations and the government at both the federal and state levels.
“There was virtually no sector in Nigeria that Pa Ajayi’s law firm was not prominent. His law firm in no time became one of the most sought after full-service legal practices in Africa,” the Governor said.
He also prayed that Almighty God would grant the soul of the departed peaceful repose and for the family, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
“I wish to convey my deepest condolences to the family of the deceased, on behalf of the people of Lagos State. Pa Ajayi will be sorely missed”, Governor Ambode said.