By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
CHAIRMAN, Punch Nigeria Limited, Mr. Gbadebowale Aboderin, aged, 60, is dead.
Mr. Gbadebowale Aboderin until his death, was also Chairman of Punch Commercial Printing Limited and Lukahed Properties Limited.
According to a statement issued by Angela Emuwa, on behalf of the family, ‘’Aboderin, died on Wednesday at 6:05am after a heart surgery at the First cardiology Consultants, Ikoyi, Lagos.
‘’He attended the Government College, Ibadan, and trained as a pilot in the United States.
Gbadebowale Aboderin , who was also a sports enthusiast and philanthropist, was the founder and Chairman of Dolphins Female Basketball Foundation.
‘’He was a former chairman of the Lagos State Basketball Association and one-time Vice President of the Nigerian basketball Supporters Club. He is survived by his wife, Titilayo and children.’’
His death yesterday drew reactions from President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, President of Nigeria Press Organisation, NPC, Nduka Obaigbena, and other Nigerians.
In his reaction, President Buhari extended his heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased.
The President also commiserated with members of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN, the media and sports industry in the country.
President Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said he believed that Aboderin, who was greatly admired by his peers in the media and sports industry, will be long remembered for his resourcefulness, managerial proficiency and invaluable contributions to the growth of these sectors.
The President prayed that God Almighty will comfort all who mourn him and grant his soul eternal rest.
Similarly, the Nigerian Press Organisation, NPO, also expressed shock over the death of Punch chairman.
NPO in a statement signed by the President, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, read: ‘’The NIgerian Press Organisation, NPO, consisting of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria, NPAN, the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, and the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, is saddened at the news of the untimely death of the Chairman of the Punch Group of Newspapers, Mr. Gbadebowale Aboderin, who died on Wednesday, May 30, 2018.
‘’Wale , a consummate sport enthusiast, was jovial, amiable and easy going. His death is a big blow, not just to the Punch Group, but to the entire media landscape of Nigeria and Africa.
‘’He followed generations of media owners who served the public purpose. We offer our condolences to the Aboderin family and the Punch Group. May his soul find peace. Perfect peace.’’
Also reacting, President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, expressed grief over the demise of Punch Newspapers chairman.
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja, described Late Aboderin, as a philanthropist, sports lover and a businessman who left indelible footprints on the sands of time.
He noted that the deceased lived an exemplary life worthy of emulation and contributed immensely to national development through the media, youth and sports development, among others.
He commiserated with the immediate family, his wife and two daughters, the Punch Group of Newspapers, the media industry, sports enthusiasts and his loved ones, over the colossal loss.
“It is, indeed, painful that he left us at a time his rich experience is needed to move the country forward.
“My heart goes out to his wife, Titilayo, his two daughters, the Punch Newspaper Group, the media industry in Nigeria and the government and people of Oyo and Lagos States on the sad incident,’’ Saraki said.
He prayed God to grant the soul of the deceased eternal rest and his loved ones the fortitude to bear the loss.
In the same vein, former governor of Abia State and Publisher of The Sun and New Telegraph titles, Dr. Orji Kalu, expressed sadness over the passing of Wale Aboderin, describing the deceased as a gentleman and a devout Christian.ý
According to the former governor, Mr. Aboderin was selfless, God-fearing and upright in his pursuits.
In a message of condolence signed by his Special Adviser, Kunle Oyewumi, Kalu while lamenting the passage of Mr. Aboderin, described the deceased as a personal friend and colleague in the media industry.
He said: “I was shocked to receive the devastating news of the demise of my brother and good friend, Mr. Gbadebowale Aboderin.
“The deceased was a rare gem and his impeccable character will continue to speak for him. He contributed immensely to sports development as well as the media industry.
“Mr. Aboderin was passionate and committed to a just and fair society. He will be greatly missed.”
The former governor, while urging the Aboderin family to take solace in the fact that the deceased lived a remarkable life and left behind good legacies, prayed for the repose of Mr Aboderin’s soul and enjoined God to grant the family the fortitude to bear the painful loss.
He equally commiserated with the Board, Management and Staff of Punch Nigeria Limited.ý
Similarly, the Director, Strategic Communications of Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, said: ‘’I just received with utter shock and disbelief the news of the passing away of Mr. Wale Aboderin, the Chairman of Punch Newspapers.
‘’Mr. Wale Aboderin, whom I usually call ”my egbon,” was a close friend, a gentleman per excellence, kind, humble to a fault and extremely jovial. He graciously attended my party at the Civic Center, Lagos, sometime last year to celebrate my conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
‘’My deep condolences go to his immediate and extended family members, his friends and entire staff and management of Punch Newspapers. Nigeria as a whole has lost a rare gem at his prime, but we are all consoled by the fact that he left behind a very big shoe and indelible footprints that would be very difficult to fill or erase.’’