By Ayodele Popoola
Family, church members and people of Ondo State are still in shock over the death of veteran broadcaster, Deacon Olalekan Olanrewaju, popularly known as ‘Olori Ebi’.
The Hope Metro gathered that the veteran journalist , who anchored the popular, ‘Ijoko Ojogbon, on the state Television and Radio Stations, OSRC,’ for several years, slumped on Saturday afternoon, during the ongoing annual Baptist conference.
Olanrewaju who displayed no sign of illness was rushed to the hospital, but was confirmed dead on arrival by doctors on duty.
According to a source in the church, Olanrewaju who was the chairman of the conference suddenly collapsed after delivering his opening speech.
The Baptist Church and Nigeria Union of Journalists, have described the demise of Olanrewaju as shockin , even as they eulogised the late veteran journalist as a patriotic Nigerian who served the country diligently in various capacities.
In an interview with The Hope Metro, Rev. Ajayi Obateru, Conference President of the Ondo State Baptist Church said Olanrewaju’s death was a rude shock to him and the church of God, saying, “with his relationship with God and people and his good gesture, we did not expect him to die now.
“His death came as a shock to the church and the society.
“The church will always remember him for his commitment, forthrightness and dedication to the service of the Lord. And the society at large will forever remember ‘Olori Ebi’ as he was fondly called because of his programmes on OSRC radio and television , ‘Egbani Elaja and Ijoko Ojogbon.”
Obateru who encouraged his family to keep holding unto the Lord and always take solace in God for protection, prayed the Lord to grant them the fortitude to bear the huge loss.
Also, Emman Adumashi, Chairman, OSRC Chapter of the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, described Olarewaju’s sudden death as ‘wide fire on the mountain.’
He said, “We will miss him alot. His Godliness speaks volume of his character.
“We lived together, worked together for years as broadcaster and even until his death, we were together as pensioners.
“The late Olanrewaju’s grasp and analysis of family affairs are legendary. Just as his legacies of passion, love, humanness, dedication and belief in the strength of the media as a unifier rather than agents of division is something that will ever remain fresh in the minds of all his professional colleagues.”
“He left behind an indelible mark in the media practice in the state and beyond.
According to a family source, his remains has been deposited at the UNIMED Teaching Hospital mortuary while .the official statement about his death and burial arrangement would be out soon.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Union of Journalists, ( NUJ), Ondo State Council, has also expressed sadness over the demise of the late broadcaster.
The union, in a statement signed by the
State Chairman, Prince Leke Adegbite and the State Secretary, Comrade Olaoluwa Meshack and made available to newsmen on Sunday, commiserated with the family of the late veteran.
“We, the entire members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, Ondo State Council sadly commiserate with the broadcast industry and people of Ondo State over the death of a veteran Broadcaster Mr. Olalekan Olanrewaju, popularly known as ‘Olori Ebi,” it said.
Ondo NUJ was jolted by the news of his death, noting that late Deacon Olanrewaju as a seasoned broadcaster, used his God-given talent and creativity to restore peaceful co-existence and stability in many families and society within and outside Ondo State through a popular TV and Radio programmes.
The Pen Profession Union said, “We express our deepest sympathy to members of his immediate family, his professional colleagues, OSRC Media Group and the entire broadcasting industry in the state.
“The late Olalekan Olanrewaju made tremendous impacts on the people of the state and beyond through his programmes on OSRC Radio and Television, code-named “Ijoko Ojogbon,” an Alternative Dispute Resolution programme, and “Egbani Elaja,’’family/societial critique programmes, which earned him the appellation, “Olori Ebi” a household name throughout the state.
“The programmes which held sway for decades on both radio and television in the state have indeed brought much peace and unity to many communities and families in Ondo State and beyond.
“The death is a great loss to the media industry, as the vacuum left behind by the death of the veteran ace broadcaster would be difficult to fill. But we pray Lord to grant his family members the fortitude to bear the huge loss and grant his soul peaceful rest.”