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Seadogs gather in Ilorin to honour late Odebisi

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Members of the National Association  of Sea Dogs (NAS) from across the country  gathered in Ilorin on Sunday to honour Mr Ayo Odebis, a leading  member of the group,  who died recently  during  a brief illness.

Speaking at a memorial lecture for the former top official of the Central Bank, the Zonal Coordinator of NAS in Ilorin, Mr Dele Abiodun,  described the deceased as a trail blazer who had touched many lives.

Abiodun  said Odebisi, who was known by the nick name, Paramole, “ was a true  embodiment of the  pyratical  spirit,; he lived for others  and gave his all for their joy.”

He also said the role of the deceased  in the enthronement of democracy could not be quantified, adding that he was in the forefront of  the “ activists who acted as foot soldiers to usher  in the country’s new found democracy.’’

“ It is on record that his contributions can  never be quantified in the struggle for enthroning democracy  in Nigeria.

“ He sacrificed his all till he was spent  and although he worked his way till he was among the elite, he lived for the down trodden,” he said.

He  described  NAS as  a mustard seed that had  spread to  almost all higher institutions in the country three decades after its formation, with branches in other African countries, Canada, Europe, Asia and   America.

Abiodun  dismissed  speculations  that NAS is a cult  group, saying several court rulings had vindicated members’ right to freedom of association, expression of conscience and right to perpetual succession.

The Chairman of the occasion and University of Jos professor, Bashir Ajala, enjoined Nigerians to embrace the humanist  virtues of the late Odebisi.

Reflecting of the life and times of  the deceased, the don said Odebisi played a critical role in revolutionising the nation’s agriculture sector after quitting his lucrative job at the apex bank to venture into farming.

He recalled that Odebisi was one of the critical players in the sector who worked to ensure that the Institute of  International Tropical Agriculture in Ibadan remained in Nigeria after  its promoters threatened to leave Nigeria.

The Guest Speaker at the occasion,  Dr Remi Medupin of Hal-Hikmah University, Ilorin, urged Nigerians to emulate the  humanist virtues of the deceased  irrespective of their religious affiliation.

His lecture was entitled: “ In Quest of a just Society: The Example of Ayo Tiamiyu Odebisi.”

Born in Ogbomoso on April 28, Odebisi   graduated  from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1980, and was retained in CBN where he did his national service, rising to become the bank’s statistician.

He was to quit the job to venture into management consultancy and agro-business.

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