By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA—AT exactly 2.00pm yesterday, the remains of the late Afenifere elder statesman and legal icon, Chief Olaniwun Ajayi were committed to mother earth at his residence in Isara-Remo in Remo North Local Government Area of Ogun State.
Late Ajayi was given a private burial inside his sprawling country home on the hilly terrain of the ancient Isara town.
Earlier, the funeral service held at Isara Methodist Church had in attendance eminent personalities such as Vice – President, Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of Mines, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, his Lagos and Ondo States counterparts, Akinwunmi Ambode and Segun Mimiko, former governors of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba and Gbanga Daniel.
Others are Ondo state Governor – elect, Rotimi Akeredolu, foremost industrialist, Chief Aliko Dangote, Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Mrs Yetunde Onanuga, Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Suraj Adekunbi, Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, Chief Olu Falae, Mrs Bola Obasanjo, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Olusegun Oni, Chief Justice of Ogun State, Justice Olatokunbo Olapade and her Lagos State counterpart, Justice Funmi Atilade.
Also in attendance were, former President of Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN), Dr. Sunday Mbang, Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr Samuel Uche, Secretary, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Mike Akinwale, ex – Prelate, Ola Makinde and wife of Oyo state governor, Mrs Florence Ajimobi among others.
It was a season of tributes from eminent Nigerians and the Methodist Church community in the country, his Christian constituency, as Ajayi made a glorious and final departure yesterday.
Shortly before he was interred, the Vice-President Osinbajo in his tributes at the Church, hailed the deceased, saying his “life was all about service to Yoruba people and Nigeria.”
Osinbajo, who noted that the late Ajayi was a great author, said he devoted his last 10 years to writing books.
The Vice – President added that the legal icon excelled in law practice, and set up a flourishing law firm with the best practice in the continent of Africa.
He said; “Let me say, I have known him all my life. His family and my family have known each other for a long time. My parents and the Ajayis were friends.
“What I found about him is that he always believed his life was about service to humanity and his life reflected that.
“In the legal profession he excelled. He had a law firm with the best practice in the continent. In politics, he served the nation and was a member of defunct National Democratic Coalition,NADECO, that fought against late General Sani Abacha’s tyranny, risked his life to win our freedom and democracy we enjoy today.
“In the Afenifere, he demonstrated that his life had to be a life of service. When we were campaigning in 2015, we visited the Awujale in his Palace at Ijebu – Ode. Ajayi was there that day.
“He told Awuajle that he personally came to him (Awujale) that he had known me since I was young. He made sacrifices for our people and our country. I thank God for that kind of life,” Osinbajo said.
In his sermon, former President of Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN), Dr. Sunday Mbang, who used the book of Psalm 62: 9 – 10 in his message described life on earth without God as meaningless.
He described Ajayi as the humblest man he had ever met, saying despite having “ all the trappings of power and wealth, Ajayi remained a humble man and a true soldier of the Lord.”
There was however a pin-drop silence when Mbang faced some of the eminent personalities asking who the next will be.
Apparently reacting to the cleric’s question, Amosun said he wished to live up to 98 years.
Amosun, who is 58 years old said he has prayed and believes his prayer has been answered that he would leave for 40 more.
He however, said late Ajayi lived his life in the service of mankind.
“We are Baba’s children, today is not for long speech, Baba Ajayi lived a life of service to man and service to man is what we to God,” Amosun said.
Earlier, tribute of the Methodist church of Nigeria signed by the Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr Samuel Uche and read on his behalf by Secretary, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Rev. Mike Akinwale, the church described the late Olaniwun Ajayi as a “quintessential Methodist, a remarkable Christian, exemplary nationalist and foremost philanthropist.”