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Ex-Lagos gov, Sir Michael Otedola, dies at 87

Fashola, Tinubu, APC, PDP, others extol his virtue

Lagos declares 7-day mourning

BY OLASUNKANMI AKONI, DAPO AKINREFON & GBENGA OKE

LAGOS—Former Lagos governor, Sir Michael Otedola is dead.
He was the governor of Lagos from January 1992 to November 1993, in the botched 3rd Republic.
He is the father of oil and gas billionaire, Femi Otedola.
He died aged 87.

Michael-OtedolaIt was learnt that otedola died around 9 a.m. at his Odoragushin residence in Epe.
He was said to have returned from overseas where he went for medical check-up in January.
The wife of the deceased, Lady Doja, who confirmed his death on behalf of the family, said funeral arrangement would be announced in due course.

Otedola was said to have suffered a stroke-related ailment for a while before he died. The ailment kept him away from public glare for years.
He was a philanthropist of great repute, a feat that got him Lifetime Achievement Awards from many organisations.
His son, Femi Otedola is the billionaire owner of Nigerian oil giant, Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited.

Otedola’s life and times
Otedola was born on the 16 July 1926 into a Muslim family at Odoragunsin, Epe Local Government Area of Lagos State and later converted to Christianity.
After moving to Lagos to pursue his education, he won a scholarship to study Journalism at the Regent Street Polytechnic in London where he graduated in 1958.

He began his career as a teacher before working as a reporter at the St. Pancras Chronicle, then as a reporter and later sub-editor at The Guardian and The Times in England.
On his return to Nigeria in 1959 he became an Information Officer in the Western Nigeria government, and while in this post, he was appointed the Editor of the Western Nigeria Illustrated.

In 1961 he moved into public relations, working for Western Nigeria Television/Western Broadcasting Service (1961-1964) and Mobil Oil Group of Companies (1964-1977), continuing as a consultant to Mobil after leaving the company.

He was elected governor of Lagos State from 1992 to 1993 on the platform of the National Republican Convention, NRC, under the regime of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babaginda, IBB, (Rtd) and left office when General Sani Abacha came to power.

His administration facilitated the establishment of the Yaba College of Education campus in Epe, his home town.
After leaving office, he continued his career as a writer, a consultant holding positions on the boards of various businesses, and a philanthropist.

In February 2010, ThisDay newspaper named him among 15 eminent Nigerians who had won Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Fashola, Tinubu react
Reacting to the news of the demise of the former governor of the state, Governor Babatunde Fashola said the government had declared a seven-day mourning in his honour, directing that all flags in the state, both of the state government and private institutions be flown at half mast.

The governor said; “I knew him long before he was governor of the state and in the period that I have been governor, he has suffered some difficult health arising from age.

“His indelible records of service are still there. The centre for excellence that we proudly proclaim today was his choice when he was invited among other governors to choose a sobriquet for Lagos. That will remain evergreen in our memory.

“The contributions he made to the development of the state are appropriately documented. The state government at this time sympathised and condole with members of his family, especially his wife, Lady Doja Otedola and his children, who are my childhood friends. I wish the deceased peaceful repose and external rest.”

Similarly, former Governor of the state and National Leader of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, in his condolence to the family, said Otedola was a great man of virtue, saying “May Almighty God grant the entire family the fortitude to bear the loss.”

Lagos APC mourns
The Lagos State chapter of All Progressives Congress, APC, in a condolence letter to the state and the family of the bereaved, described the death as a huge loss not only to the state but the entire country.

According to the state Publicity Secretary, Mr. Joe Igbokwe : “APC condole with Lagosians and the Otedola family on the death of the former Governor of Lagos State, Sir Michael Otedola at the age of 87. The party sees the loss of the former governor as a huge loss not only to Lagos State but the entire country.

Afenifere too
In its reaction, Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, described the late Otedola as a good man.

Its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin, Afenifere said; “A good man has gone to meet his maker. Sir Otedola was quintessential gentleman in private life. He lived a great life and left a good name behind. May his soul rest in peace”

It’s a sad loss – Lagos PDP
Also, the Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, described his death as a sad loss.
Its Chairman, Tunji Shelle, described the late Pa Otedola as a classical example of who a Governor Emeritius should be, having served with sincerity and retiring from politics to be a statesman for subsequent governors in the state.

He was a blessing – Utomi
On his part, politician and former Director Lagos Business School, Professor Pat Utomi said “it is sad to hear the passing of this great man of history, who became a symbol of governance. I have the good fortune of knowing him well, he is a remarkable person and God-fearing. God used him and we will surely miss him.”

He was a good man – John Dara
Speaking with Vanguard, Mr John Dara, who was Director-General of Mr Otedola’s campaign team then said “I am just hearing the news now. I thought of him on Sunday night but I visited him in his village not too long ago. He was a good man, who lived till his ripe old age and he had enough time to prepare for his exit. His life was full of blessings.”


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