By Ayodele Fagbohun
“Well, I am not interested in politics. We suffered more and I don’t know if we gained anything from it. If we did, it is because my father left a vast legacy. The death of my elder brother, Segun was during the political crisis, Papa was imprisoned for many years and even when he came out, we didn’t have much time with him. If he wasn’t in politics, we would have had better moments with him and probably he might still be alive. So, I don’t like politics at all”
-Revd (Mrs) Omotola Oyediran (1940-2020), on her 70th birthday anniversary in 2010.
Due to the inexplicable, inscrutable and unfathomable act of God, the mantle of leadership to carry on and perpetuate Awo’s shinning and undying legacy, the “Nigerian Tribune” inexorably fell on a woman, the first daughter of legendary Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Mrs Omotola Oyediran.
The humble, amiable and virtuous woman and first daughter of the late sage died suddenly and peacefully on Friday, October 16, 2020; 46 days to her 80th birthday anniversary on December 1, 2020.
Her remains have since been committed to mother earth in Ibadan, Oyo State, and South West Political headquarters where her father, the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo was leader of government business and later premier, Western Region (1952-1959).
Prior to the demise of her father, Obafemi Awolowo who founded African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANNPLC), publishers of Nigerian Tribune in 1949, the only surviving private newspaper since colonial rule, Mrs Omotola Oyediran as deputy Chairman of ANNPLC ably assisted, worked hand in glove and more often than not held forte for mama, Chief (Mrs) HID Awolowo and jointly raised the newspaper aloft.
Revd Omotola Olubunmi Oyediran enjoyed unequalled, uncanny and robust confidence amongst her other siblings. Equally more important, her unique organizational and entrepreneurial skills endeared her to be trusted with the management of the Nigerian Tribune and to face the challenge and exigencies of modern newspapering.
It is of rare privilege for a woman to manage vibrant and dynamic newspaper industry considered to be the exclusive preserve or dominated by male chauvinism.
In addition, as a trained secretary in London; virtues housewife of 57 years married to the former Vice Chancellor University of Ibadan, Professor A.B.O Oyediran.
Having inherited the African Press Limited (APL), Mama Omotola Oyediran was imbued with multi-talented and consummate skills. She literally possessed the Midas touch, a mother in a million.
According to the late publisher of Nigerian Tribune Chief Oluwole Awolowo who was the junior brother to the Vice Chairman, Nigerian Tribune is perhaps the invaluable legacy which the founder-director, the sage and statesman of unparalled vision, Pa Obafemi Awolowo bequeathed to Nigeria and humanity at large.
“The Tribune has stood resolutely on the side of justice in economic, social and political relations, defended expansively, the principle of the equality of all men and their right to self –determination, argued tirelessly in support of democracy as the only viable principle by which succession should take place in all political systems, upheld federalism-true federalism and not its perverts as path of stable relations in multi-ethnic societies and has never shifted from its belief that only in an atmosphere of peaceful relations amongst nations is there hope for rescuing man from the clutches of disease, hunger and ignorance.
“The Tribune has been consistent because it is operated with a vision, a vision of a society which allows man to make the best of his God-given potential.
“It is a vision which all political philosophers throughout the ages from Plato to Awo heve kept aglow”, Chief Oluwole Awolowo asserted.
Chief Obafemi Awolowo, in the maiden edition of the paper admonished Nigerian Tribune to develop “a frank tongue and pungent pen. A tongue and a pen that will be careless of what the opponents might say or how they might feel, and will have enough courage to call hypocrisy, humbug and tyranny by their names. Such a tongue, such a pen, will mortify the proud; provoke despotism to repent its ways.
It will be recalled that Awo at 40, founded the Nigerian Tribune to fight political oppression, colonialism and to propagate his own ideological belief which has remained undying force throughout the Black race.
On the attainment of political independence in Nigeria, there is interminable long reign of neo-colonialism which made mincemeat of the epic political and nationalist struggle culminated in self government. Despite the intrigues, dubious pressure and antics of the neocolonial and fascist administrations that hijacked the government of the country with intents and purpose to corrupt the integrity of Nigerian Tribune. We salute the courage and forthrightness of the former chairman of ANN, Mrs Omotola Oyediran for standing firm, unyielding on the side of truth, objectivity, justice and fairplay on which Nigerian Tribune was founded in November, 1949.
Adieu, a relentless, doughty but unassuming and humble Christian fighter; indefatigable and never-say-die who swallowed death in victory. A tireless unimpeachable and impeecable character who cultivated her noble parental industry and outstanding pedigree, the Amazon of our time, she turned round the fortunes of the Tribune despite the global reverses confronting the media industry.
Sleep on, Mama Omotola Olubunmi Oyediran until resurrection day when we shall meet and sleep no more.
Adieu, Alake, campaigner of APC dies at 64. It was with utter regret but absolute submission to the will of Almighty God to announce the untimely death of Mr. Olatunde Andrew Alake, a foremost fearless campaigner and staunch member of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) in Ondo State. He died recently after a brief illness.
He was a political soul mate of Mr. Isaac Kekemeke, former Ondo State Chairman of APC, an ebullient and charismatic APC gubernatorial candidate in the last election.
Kekemeke voluntarily withdrew from the race and fought the political battle which convincingly earned victory for the Arakunrin, Odunayo Oluwarotimi Akeredolu a second term ticket providentially assured and beyond any controversy.
While Kekemeke was in firm control of his Ijaw people in the river rain area of Ondo State, Mr. Olatunde Alake, a grassroots politician who hailed from Arigidi Akoko in the North East Local Government of Ondo State where he was Agagu led PDP administration. He was later appointed as the Political Adviser to the governor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu.
His tremendous influence in Akoko land and humble contribution to political redemption of Akoko cannot be wished away. He will be sorely missed by the enlightened progressives!
To cap it all, Mr. Olatunde Alake was a born again Christian giving his life to Jesus Christ and becoming a better Christian under the mission of End-time prophet, Evangelist Samson Oluwamodede of Prayer Centre of God (PCCG) in the Akure headquarters.
According to Chief Obafemi Awolowo, whatever happens to main is for his own good. Jesus Christ, the master enjoins us not to be afraid of any mortal that can kill but lack the power to cast into hell fire.
Rather, we must fear only God, the creator of the universe that call kill and judge the whole world in the ultimate.
This writer, who doubles as fellow comrade in the APC and fervent worshippers in the Prayer Centre of God, Akure headquarters’ assembly, believes to the marrow that Mr. Olatunde Andrew Alake had gone ahead to have further communion and quiet repose with his maker, God and Jesus our Lord and Saviour.
There no harm or injury even from the pit of hell that can touch him. The devil is already defeated.
May God forgive him his human foibles, comfort his loved ones, and grant him eternal home.
Good night, the ace footballer, “RIGOGO” of our time.