He remained on the side of the people as counter-statesman—Soyinka
As showers of tributes continue
By Clifford Ndujihe, Dapo Akinrefon, Gbenga Olarinoye, Wahab Abdullah, Gbenga Oke & Monsuru Olowoopejo
LAGOS—AS eminent Nigerians continued to shower tributes on the late legal icon and politician, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite, one of his daughters, Omowunmi, said she would miss his uncommon fatherly love and care.
Omomunwi, who disclosed that Braithwaite also had fatherly relations with a host of journalists he treated as sons and daughters, said: “He was a man who hardly joke with his family members despite his busy political schedules and legal matters. He remained a very caring and loving father till death.”
Meanwhile, the torrents of tributes, which started on Monday continued as a host of prominent Nigerians poured tributes.
Among the early callers at the Braithwaite’s Victoria Island residence, yesterday, was the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, who maintained that Braithwhaite was a man who stood on the side of the people.
Soyinka said: “I would not like to refer to him as an elder statesman because he did not retire but will like to refer to him as a counter-statesman who always put government on its toes and he forever remained on the peoples side.”
Concurring, Mrs Shade Thomas, his designer, told the story behind the unique outfit of Braithwaite.
“Over 35 years ago, he asked us to design a nice outfit for him that would identify him with the masses and that was how he came about the Aso-Oke and all other particular styles he wore till his exit. Dr Braithwhaite was a very sympathetic personality who carried the burden of others on his head. He was a friend of the helpless,” Thomas said.
It’s loss of a fighter for democratic ideals — Aregbesola
On his part, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, described Braithwaite’s demise as a huge loss to the nation.
In a statement by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy, Office of the Governor, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, Aregbesola said the death of the elder statesman had further depleted the rank of Nigeria’s committed fighters for just society.
The Governor said the late legal luminary was a patriot and die-in-the-wool believer of Nigeria and did everything to make sure the political ship of the nation gets back on the right track.
Aregbesola said: “Dr. Tunji Braithwaite was a legal icon, politician of repute and human rights crusader.
“He believed and fought for a better Nigeria. We will continue to remember him, not just for his contributions to the legal profession, but also to the development of democratic ideals in Nigeria. His contribution to national discourse and political development will not be forgotten. We can only take solace in the fact that Dr. Braithwaite lived an eventful, purposeful and successful life worthy of emulation.”
We shared same politcal ideology —Olaniwun
Also, Afenifere chieftain, Sir Olaniwun Ajayi, who paid a condolence visit to the Braithwaite house said: “On political and ideological issues, Tunji and my self are the same.
“We share the same view on politics. That he was not a member of Afenifere, is not an issue that should be debated. If he was contesting for an election and I was not, I will give him the best support and I know that he will do same for me if he was still alive.”
He is a mentor we will all miss — Akinrinade
Former Chief of Army Staff, General Alani Akinrinade (retd), said Braithwhaite was a man who stood on the side of the masses and a mentor that will forever be missed by all.
He was a pillar of the progressives —Musa
Former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa described Braithwaite as a pillar of the progressives.
“We have lost an associate and it is very late to replace such people. We have been together since the beginning of the struggle, he has always been a progressive and a pillar. We feel his loss. Throughout his political life, he was a progressive,” he said.
His death has left a gap in the polity —Odumakin
National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr Yinka Odumakin said: “A politician and social activist has passed away. He was a social critic throughout his political career. His last major outing was the National Conference in 2014 where he canvassed for a confederal Nigeria. Now, his death has left a big gap in the polity. We pray that God will grant his soul eternal repose.’’
We have lost a great giant —Atiku
Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar said the death of Nigeria’s veteran lawyer and politician, has robbed the country of one of its greatest giants not only in the field of law but also in politics.
Atiku, in a statement by his media office in Abuja, said he particularly admired the late Braithwaite because of his unwavering commitment to constitutional reforms, especially his agitation for restructuring of the country.
According to him, Braithwaite was not “your typical Nigerian politician that opportunistically changes his opinions to ingratiate himself with the new powers that be. These are extraordinary virtues for which I admire him deeply and regard him as a role model. May his soul rest in peace.”
Immortalise him, Ladipo urges FG
Lagos State governorship candidate of the Nigerian Advance Party in the 2007 election, Ladipo Johnson, said the death of the front line politician was a huge loss to the nation.
In a statement, Ladipo while calling on the Federal Government to immortalise him noted the various strides of Braithwaite as an activist, lawyer, politician and statesman, saying his courage and uncommon leadership would be missed by Nigerians.
Former Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Kalu, expressed sadness over the demise of the famous lawyer and activist, adding that the deceased was a patriotic Nigerian, whose contributions to the social and political advancement of the country would not be easily forgotten.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser, Kunle Oyewumi, Kalu said: “The passing of Dr. Tunji Braithwaite is painful as he died at a time the country needed his counsel on national issues. He was an outstanding statesman by all standards. He demonstrated selflessness and forthrightness in his legal and political endeavours. Dr. Braithwaite’s memories will linger forever in the minds of Nigerians.’’
It’s a personal loss — Fasehun
Founder and President of the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, said Braithwaite’s demise was a personal loss.
Noting that Braithwaite was a “personal friend and fellow democrat,” Fasehun said: “He was a legal luminary, human rights gladiator, constructive commentator and selfless philanthropist. In Braithwaite’s death I have lost a fellow soldier.
“His death is a sad and painful one. He should not have died at this time of Nigeria’s political history, when the country needs patriots, zealots and visionaries like him. People like Braithwaite have the patriotic zeal and vision capable of moving the nation forward. We wish the family the strength to bear this monumental loss.”
He was a Patriot — Oyebode, Ninalowo
Professor of International Law and Jurisprudence, Akin Oyebode, described Braithwhaite as a patriot who committed class suicide and gave his life to the common man on the street.
According to him, Braithwaite wanted to see Nigeria free of corruption and which was why he yearned for a better nation that he could not get till death took him away.
Professor Adebayo Ninalowo of Department of Sociology, University of Lagos, said Braithwaite’s death has created a vacuum and Nigerians and the entire world would miss him.”