By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowoopejo
Lagos literally stood still, yesterday, as the President-General, Association of Nigerian Market Women and Men, Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji, who died last Saturday aged 96, was buried at the Vaults and Garden Cemetery, Ikoyi, amidst eulogies.
Late Alhaja Mogaji was the mother of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, former Lagos State governor and national leader of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.
Tinubu, who recalled his mother’s last moments, said: “On Saturday afternoon, she had her lunch. After that, she took her drugs and rested.
“While resting, death came and snatched my mother away. Immediately she died, I felt her void. She taught everyone she came across contentment, love and the act of sharing, especially to the needy.
“I will miss her lunch even when I am full. I am very happy that she is my mother. She is a very successful mother and a good leader. She departed this world peacefully without taking us through pains.
“She is so kind and God was also kind to her. She is a good thinker and a compassionate person. She has left a very good legacy for everyone.
“She did something when I was the governor of Lagos State that really touched me and that was when she asked me to consider three women, who had challenges paying their children’s West African Examination Council, WAEC, fees.
“As a governor then, I began the policy of paying WAEC fee of pupils in Lagos State public schools. Those are the things that will fascinate anyone about my late mother.
“There are many lessons that women can learn from her. And one of the lessons is to be resilient, committed and industrious in order to help banish poverty in the country. She is a committed democrat.
“She believes in the one-man one-vote campaign. She will vote and mobilise others to do so. Women must also be committed to the education of their children, which is the antidote for poverty in the country. Once we come out of this, the nation will make progress.”
At 8:00am, the Alausa residence of Mogaji became a beehive of activities, as hundreds of party loyalists, relatives and friends to her children thronged her premises to honour her.
Some of the dignitaries at the various events that led to the burial and Fidau prayers include Alhaji Aminu Tambuwai, Speaker, House of Representatives; governors Rauf Aregbesola, Adam Oshiomhole, Ibikunle Amosun, Abiola Ajumobi and Kayode Fayemi of Osun, Edo,Ogun, Oyo and Ekiti states, respectively; Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary of the Commonwealth; Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, Majority Leader, House of Representatives; Mr. Femi Okunnu and Tom Ikimi.
Others were Mr. Femi Pedro, former Deputy Governor of Lagos State; Mr. Tajudeen Oluyole-Olusi, Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN chieftain; Chief Rasak Okoya; Mallam Aliko Dangote, President, Aliko Group of Company; Mr. Ademola Seriki, former Minister of State for Interior; Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Speaker, Lagos Houe of Assembly; Mr. Muiz Banire, former commissioner for environment Lagos State, and Amb. Musiliu Obanikoro.
The wives of the south-west governors, led by Dame Emmanuella Fashola, and chairmen of the 57 councils in the state were also there.
The Fidau was conducted earlier in the day at the Central Mosque, Lagos Island, before she was buried at the Vaults and Garden Cemetery.
The corpse was brought into the Mosque at 11:24am, followed by a short sermon.
Alhaji Muritala Giwa, who delivered the sermon, urged Tinubu, Tambuwal, governors and the crowd at the Mosque, to always eschew violence and exhibit good attitude.
Giwa said: “As the late Iyaloja General of Lagos impacted positively on the life of people, everyone should emulate such act.”
Tambuwal described late Mogaji as “a great woman and a great mobiliser of women and an advocate of people’s right.
He said: “Her socio-economic contribution to the nation will definitely be missed. She has left a vacuum in the nation. She was a special gift to this country.”
A great national leader— Fashola
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, who is out of the country on an official trip, in a statement through his Special Adviser on Media, Hakeem Bello, described her death as a great national and personal loss.
Fashola said she was a forthright defender of the people and their right to economic empowerment, adding that this trait had been imbibed by anyone that had the opportunity or privilege to meet her.
According to him, this peculiar trait was evident in the personality of her illustrious son and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, a leader with the love of the people at heart.
Fashola said: “Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji was a frontliner in the commercial development of Lagos State, particularly Lagos Island, which was formerly dominated by Lebanese and Greek merchants.
“She was one of the pioneer traders, who ventured into the capital intensive and risky business venture of importation of consumer goods, thereby breaking the monopoly previously enjoyed by the foreign tradesmen and her business acumen attracted the attention of multi-national enterprises operating in Nigeria then, who had no option but to register her as a business partner and distributor of their consumer goods in Nigeria.”
Describing the late Iyaloja-General as a great matriarch, Fashola said Alhaja Mogaji did not limit her business and social networking to the confines of Lagos State alone, she always sought the welfare of market men and women and ways of opening up more business opportunities for them.
“This attribute of hers must have informed the unanimous decision of all commercial traders regardless of ethnic, religious or political persuasion to select her as the pioneer Iyaloja/President-General of Nigerian Market Men & Women. A position she handled with utmost responsibility and diligence, he said.
Oshiomhole, Aregbesola pay tributes
In his tribute, Governor Aregbesola of Osun State said: “She was a good mobiliser and a very good organiser. She was a philanthropist, charitable and compassionate. She mentored us so much.”
Governor Oshiomhole of Edo State, in his tribute signed by Mr. Peter Okhiria, his Chief Press Secretary, said: “I commiserate with you, my leader, and indeed with the entire Tinubu family, on the passing of your beloved mother, Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji.
“I wish to offer the condolence of the people and government of Edo State and my personal commiseration over this loss.”
Abike Dabiri said: “She was a mother per excellence. I knew her from my days at the NTA, and my mother also had a shop and she was under her leadership. I covered her activities as a staff of NTA and I am ever so amazed at her wealth of knowledge and experience and she doesn’t forget.”
Other dignitaries that paid tributes to the late matriarch of the Tinubu family were Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Chief Segun Oni, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Mr. Femi Okunnu, Mr. Muiz Banire, Mr. Henry Ajomale, Mr. Rasaq Muse, Joe Igbokwe, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
“Our thoughts are with you and the rest of the family at this difficult period. With her demise, the nation has lost a senior citizen who contributed her quota to the growth of the nation. Mama was a model mother, industrious woman and philanthropist who brought up her children with the fear of God.
I have no doubt that you will miss her very much, my leader, as she was no doubt the pillar of the Tinubu family.
I also commiserate with the Government and people of Lagos State on this sad loss.
A great national loss—— Governor Ahmed
The , in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, said the demise of Alhaja Habibatu Magaji was a great national loss given her prominent position in the coordination and mobilization of market women for national development. “
“Mama symbolized hope for the hopeless, championed development and empowerment for the less privileged and represented inspiration for the younger generation”, Dr Ahmed said.
The governor urged Tinubu and all Nigerians to take solace in the fact mama lived a fruitful life in the service of her creator and mankind and prayed Allah to grant her Eternal rest and the family the fortitude to bear the huge loss.
Senator Ashafa: Mama left a vacuum difficult to fill
The Lawmaker representing Lagos East Senatorial District, , In a statement, described Alhaja Mongaji as courageous and selfless woman who lived her life caring for others around her, adding that her struggle for independence women movement would remain indelible.
”Iya Oloja General is a loving and caring mother that accommodated everyone around her as her own children irregardless of tribe and background.
“Mama Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji, the Iya Oloja General for the whole federation will be remembered for touching the lives many across the country. She influenced many lives and was a rare gem, she was loving, caring, accommodating and as well as industrious through out her life time. Mama passed on at this moment that we needed her most.
“With deep sense of sympathy and concern, I sympathize with the entire family of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, all market men and women in Nigeria and Lagos in particular and Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akinolu and other Obas in Lagos State and that Almighty God will give the family the fortitude to bare the irreparable loss. May Allah (SWT) grant Mama Alijannah Firidauz”.
Ashafa described the demise of the pioneer Iyaloja /President General of the Market men and Women as a great national and personal loss.
The Lawmaker, however, enjoined all market leaders in Nigeria to emulate the exemplary life of Alhaja Habibatu Mogaji by showing love and living in peace and harmony with their members at all time.
Chief Segun Oni: She will be surely missed
Former Governor of Ekiti State, in his condolence message, through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Lere Olayinka, said; “Alhaja Mogaji will be sorely missed as a renowned market leader, who nurtured many entrepreneurs to maturity and financial independence.”
He said; “Though Mama died at 96, her death cannot but be a great loss to Senator Tinubu, the Mogaji’s family and the entire world.”
has commiserated with the former governor of Lagos State and leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu over the death of his mother, Alhaji Abibatu Asabi Mogaji.
“I therefore urge Senator Bola Tinubu, the people of Lagos State and the entire market men and women in Nigeria to be consoled by the fact that death is the inevitable end of all mortals and it must come when it would come.
Ikuforiji: Exemplary leader
Speaker of the Lagos state House of Assembly, on his own said “Alh. Abibatu Mogaji was an exemplary leader. She was available when Nigerians needed her most. She had never shied away from her responsibilities of offering her leadership service to people at the right time.”
Former federal commissioner of Nigeria, urged Nigerians to emulate the leadership qualities exhibited by the late Alh. Abibatu Mogaji.
Former commissioner for Environment in Lagos state, She was a mother to everyone. No one could have appropriated her to herself. She cater for everyone she came across in her life time. It is a life worthy of emulation by each and everyone of us so that people can say good things about us when we depart this world.
Ajomale: She lived a fulfilled life
Chairman, ACN, Lagos state chapter, , described the death as a great loss, saying that she had contributed immensely to the development of markets in Nigeria and that her departure should be celebrated.
“She was a great woman, who lived a fulfilled life and contributed to the development of markets in Nigeria. May her soul rest in peace,” he said.
Ajomale commiserated with Tinubu for the loss of her mother, praying God to grant him the fortitude to bear the loss.
Igbokwe: A great woman of our time
Also, Publicity Secretary, ACN, Lagos State, simply said, “Mama Tinubu, the great mother of our leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu lived an eventful and glorious life, a life full of activities, full of fun, full of challenges, full of gains. May her gentle soul rest in perfect peace”.
CPC vice chairman,
She is woman of the source who have contributed immensely to the development of the country, as the leader of the market women in the state.
They are all old and they have contributed their immense quota to the development of the country.
Former Osun state governor, and the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN in the state, have described the death as a colossal loss. not only to Magaji family but the entire nation.
The former governor in a statement in Osogbo yesterday said the late Alhaja Mogaji’s death has made Nigeria poorer in quality counsel noting that the tremendous support the deceased gave him and other successive governors of Lagos state cannot be over emphasized,.
“Between 1994 and 1996 when I was the military administrator of Lagos state, the late Alhaja Mogaji as the head of market men and women was virtually a mother to me. Her counsel and support in those turbulent political days were very invaluable.
“Even after my exit from the Lagos state Government House, the late Alhaja maintained the bond so much so that she remained a mother to me till the very end,” Prince Oyinlola said.
We thank God for her life, she lived a great life, a worthy mother and a strong and committed woman. I think if you say you are celebrating women, Alhaja Mogaji is a foremost woman to be celebrated because she trained a lot of people all over the world.
Whatever she said was almost always well thought out and she lived a life of pride and admiration.
A former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, urged Tinubu to be consoled by the fact that not only did Alhaja Mogaji live up to the ripe age of 95 but equally the impact of her life on a lot of Nigerians.