By Kingsley Adegboye
IF tributes have the power of raising the dead, the late honourable Justice Muri Aremu Okunola would have come back to life two Saturdays ago.
Everybody that spoke that Saturday at the unveiling of the bust of the late legal icon and the dedication of a park to him by the Lagos State Government testified to the fact that the man committed himself to nation building and service to humanity while alive, hence the departed hero deserved to be honoured. The park is located at Ozumba Mbadiwe Way, Victoria Island.
In his keynote address delivered by the Deputy Governor, Princess Adebisi Sarah Sosan, Gov. Babatunde Fashola said the resolution of his administration to give honour to departed heroes and imbue in the youths the spirit of pursuing academic excellence and commitment to nation building and service to God and humanity was on course.
He pointed out that about three weeks ago, the statue of Prof. Ayodele Awojobi was unveiled and a park built at Akoka round about was dedicated to his memory in recognition of his immeasurable contribution to education and emancipation of the people.
â€œIt gives me great joy today to remember with nostalgia the fond memories of a great Lagosian, legal luminary, incorruptible judge, pious Muslim and above all, a God-fearing Nigerian who believed in just and egalitarian Nigeria, the late Honourable Justice Muritala Aremu Okunola.
He lived a life of unstinted service to humanity and to his father land. He was one of the very few exemplary citizens that we can hold up to this and the coming generation as a shining example of a good man.
â€œIt is therefore my pleasure to unveil the bust of a distinguished role model and amiable gentleman, Honourable Justice Muri Aremu Okunola and dedicate this park to his memory as a token of the appreciation of his immeasurable contribution to this state and the country at large,â€ Fashola said.
In his welcome address, Lagos State Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Muiz Banire, said the late legal luminary lived an exemplary life of dedicated service to humanity and father land, adding that he was an outstanding individual in his career, religion and service, an embodiment of good virtues that are worth having.
â€œHis style and passion for professionalism is both commendable and recommendable. Our society is presently witnessing gross loss of moral values. Our values are being eroded at a fast rate. We must constantly remind ourselves of the urgent need to redress this trend of moral turpitude.
Events like these institute a consciousness of social literature where we can study and remember the acts of great men, thereby cultivating the culture of greatness. It helps to nurture the younger ones. Around the world, great men and women are honoured in appreciation of their noteworthy contributions to their societies. Lagos will not be an exception.
â€œYou will recall that recently, we dedicated a statue to the memory of the late Prof. Ayodele Awojobi, a genius and mechanical engineer of note. A statue had earlier been built in memory of the late business mogul and martyr of our democracy, Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola while those of Sir Herbert Macaulay, Sam Okwaraji and Memorial Arcade were rehabilitated,â€ Banire said.
In her vote of thanks, Mrs. Ramdat Okunola, wife of the late legal icon expressed her gratitude on behalf of her husbandâ€™s family to the Lagos State Government for honouring her late husband. She prayed that the Governor and his executive council will be rewarded accordingly.