Former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, Senate President, David Mark and his House of Representatives counterpart, Rt. Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal have joined other Nigerians in mourning the late veteran journalist, Alhaji Alade Idowu Odunewu whose remains were laid to rest yesterday at the Vaults and Gardens, Ikoyi, Lagos.
He died last Thursday night at St Nicholas Hospital, Lagos at the age of 85 years.
In a condolence message sent to the family of the deceased, Atiku described the late Odunewu as “a big loss to the journalism profession in Nigeria,’’ adding, “it would create a big vacuum in journalism for a long time to come.”
According to Atiku, the deceased sense of humour gave his writing style a unique and inimitable quality and class. “Journalists had a lot to learn from the extraordinary talent of the late Odunewu whose column became so popular like a hot cake because of its satirical and humorous style,” he said.
However, the former Vice President reminded Nigerians that the late Odunewu should not only be celebrated for his sense of humour, also because of his integrity.
Also, Senate President, David Mark, described the death of the veteran journalist “as a huge loss not only to the Journalism profession but the nation at large.”
Mark, in a pensive condolence message sent to the government and people of Lagos State, pointed out that Odunewu was one of those who fought for the actualization of the nation’s independence in 1960.
He said, Odunewu, through his famous, scintillating and reverberating column in the old Daily Times of Nigeria, educated and entertained the nation.
Senator Mark noted that Odunewu was not just a founding father of the modern day Journalism but the Nigerian nation.
For the Senate President, Odunewu was an encyclopedia and a reservoir of knowledge of sort who brought his skill and talent to bear in the discharge of his assignment.
He added that Odunewu did not only excel as a Journalist, he indeed triumphed as a manager of human and material resources as the then commissioner for Information in Lagos State.
“We shall miss his wise counsel, his humour and patriotism. He was a man whose good gestures transcended beyond ethnic and religious boundaries.”
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, yesterday described late Veteran Journalist, Alhaji Alade Odunowu who passed away on Thursday as a distinguished personality.
In his tribute, Tambuwal said, Odunewu’s journalistic works led to better understanding of contemporary issues in Nigeria and beyond.
According to him, late Odunewu’s satirical essays on the state of the nation, which appeared in the Daily Times, provided not only a dose of humour, but drew the attention of the world to salient issues affecting the nation.
For the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Odunewu’s death has without doubt robbed the NGE and Nigerian journalism in general of his wisdom, knowledge, wealth of invaluable experience and fatherly advice.
Noting that it received the death of the foremost journalist with “shock and sadness”, NGE stated that “It is noteworthy that Alhaji Odunewu was instrumental to the founding, nurturing and sustenance of the Guild, which today, has metamorphosed into a strong voice on national issues. In addition, he also played a key role as the ombudsman of the Nigerian Press Council until he passed on Thursday night.”
The Guild wishes to recall that in his many decades as a practicing journalist and editor, Odunewu became famous for his incisive and satirical essays and his ‘Allah De’ columns in the Daily Times of Nigeria and later went on to publish a book, “Winner Takes All”, a compilation of some of his writings.
Regrettably, the Guild also notes the passing away of another veteran journalist, Herbert Unegbu, (Unu Habib), who edited the highly-regarded West African Pilot, founded by the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe.
A renowned contemporary of his, Peter Enahoro, described him thus: “Herbert Unegbu was one of the three best informed political journalists in Lagos in the late 1950s, ranking after MCK Ajuluchukwu and Bisi Onabanjo.”
Also, in their tributes, governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko and his Ogun State counterpart, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, described late Odunewu as “a rare breed among his peers and his satirical style of writing incomparable.”
Governor Mimiko said, “no doubt we have lost a rare gem and an exemplary journalist in Allah Des.
In the message made available by his Chief Press Secretary, Eni Akinsola, Mimiko stressed that in his life time Odunewu exhibited the best of the journalism profession through his lucid but satirical writings as amplified especially through his popular column.
The Ondo Governor, recalling his visits to Ondo State during the Nigeria Media Merit Award said, the late Odunewu had an infectious disposition to people-oriented changes
and was encouraging of the modest efforts of his government.
Mimiko expressed his government’s condolence on the great loss particularly coming at the time of the Ramadan. He prays for the repose of his soul and for the strength of the Lord for his survivors.
For Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, the media community in Nigeria has lost a frontline journalist and renowned columnist.
Describing the deceased as “a cerebral writer and satirist extraordinnaire”, Amosun said “‘Allah De,’ as he was fondly called, left indelible prints as a columnist, editor of Daily Times and chairman, Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Media Merit Award. The nation has truly lost a patriotic opinion moulder, educator and builder of men,” the governor said.
He urged Nigerian media practitioners to follow in the footsteps of Odunewu by making ‘fairness, balance and objectivity’ their watchword.
On his own, former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, described the “late veteran journalist, as a man committed to the advancement of Nigeria’s progress.”