GOVERNORSÂ of Ogun, Edo and Ekiti states have paid tribute to the late nationalist, Dr. Tunji Otegbeye.
Governor Olugbenga Daniel of Ogun State described late Dr. Otegbeye as an icon of democracy, a true nationalist and one of the pillars of the nNation.
Daniel, in the statement signed by the Secretary to State Government, Mr. Adegbemi Onakoya, saidÂ the elder statesman was a greatÂ politician, who contributed immensely to the making of modern Nigeria â€œand was a worthy example of a detribalized Nigerian whom the present and coming generation should emulate.â€
Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, expressed shock over the death ofÂ Otegbeye.
Oshiomohole in a statement by the stateâ€™s Commissioner of Information, Hon. Abdul Oroh, saidÂ â€œhe was critical to organising the Nigeria students movement as a formidable platform for combating colonial rule.
His contribution to the struggle for Independence was most marked in the pioneering roles he played in the Nigeria Socialist Movement and the Labour Movement.â€
In the same vein, Ekiti State governor, Engr. Segun Oni, through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Wale Ojo-Lanre in Ado-Ekiti yesterday describedÂ Otegbeye as â€œa patriot, who devoted his entire life to the emancipation of the down-trodden while he also worked tirelessly with other leaders for the pre and post colonial development of Nigeria.â€
Also two frontline politicians, Chief Ebenezer Babatope and Dr. Olapade Agoro have eulogised the late elder statesman.
Babatope described him as â€œa fervent nationalist and Pan Africanist who actively participated in the independence struggles of many African countries.â€
Agoro said the death ofÂ Otegbeye was painful and inevitable. â€œHe was a great believer in the cause of the Yorubas in oneness of Nigeria and one of the few remaining political loyalists of the sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo ideological school of thought.â€
â€œThroughout his sojourn on earth Dr. Otegbeye stayed with the masses and worked for a just and egalitarian society. From his days as a youth activist who led the fight against colonialism to his medical practice and participation in trade unionism and partisan politics.
â€œDr. Otegbeye never jettisoned his welfarist philosophy, a way of life which he espoused in words and deeds.
I recalled that when Dr. Otegbeye contested the 1979 gubernatorial primaries of the Unity Party of Nigeria UPN along with Chief Bisi Onabanjo with equanimity and sportsmanship and remained loyal to the party and government that emergedâ€.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole has commiserated with the family of Dr. Otegbeye and the people of Ogun State on his death in the early hours of yesterday.
The Speaker in a statement said that he received the news of the demise of the elder statesman with shock described it â€œas a great loss not only to his Yewa people and Ogun State but also to Nigeria as he is a foremost nationalist adding that his principle stand on the ideology of socialism is a reflection of his love for the massesâ€.
Bankole in the release signed by his Special Adviser on Communication, Chief Kayode Odunaro said that the late Dr. Otegbeye spent the last few years of his life in service of Ogun State in advisory and meditative capacity adding that his wealth of experience and wisdom played a role in the management and resolution of disputes in the state.
The Speaker prayed for the peaceful repose of his soul and fortitude for the immediate family to bear the irreparable loss.