By Daud Olatunji,Abeokuta
Vice – President,Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, President of Namibia, Hage Geingob, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and ex – Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, were at the
Cathedral Church of Our Saviour, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, for the funeral service of former United Nations Assistant Secretary – General and pioneer chairman of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Prof. Adebayo Adedeji.
Prof.Adedeji made his final departure from the world at noon on Friday in a blaze of eulogies from African leaders, who described him as a “colossus” that worked for the economic emancipation of the African continent.
Others who were at the funeral service were Ogun State Governor,Senator Ibikunle Amosun, and members of the Christian community .
Also in the attendance were Ayo Adebanjo, Prince Bola Ajibola, Professor. Ibrahim Gambari, Chief Anthony Anenih,diplomats and people from all walks of life.
Prof. Adedeji, who was the Asiwaju of Ijebuland, passed on last April 25 at the age of 87. was said to have used his life to impact positively on Nigeria and Africa.
Osinbajo, in his tribute, recalled the immense contribution of the late Adedeji in the post – war planning and reconstruction of the nation’s economy, submitting that he was an “unusual human being.”
Osinbajo described the ex – Executive Secretary of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa(UNECA) as a fair minded and objective person, whose death was announced in several languages because of the various capacities he had served at different times – nationally and internationally.
“Professor Adedeji was an outstanding African. He was deeply involved in the integration of Africa. He did a great work in projecting Africa. We are proud of all that he achieved in his lifetime. He was one of the very unusual human being,” he said.
Also, the Namibian President, Hage Geingob, described the late Adedeji as his “ mentor, brother and advocate of economic independence of Africa.”
Geingob hailed the deceased as a true African who “fought a good fight for the African continent.”
Also, Obasanjo in his tribute, stated that the deceased was a friend, brother, trusted ally. Gowon said the late Adedeji was a “credit to Nigeria, Africa and the African race.”
The former Archbishop of the Lagos Ecclesiastical Province of the Church of Nigeria, Most Rev. (Professor) Adebayo Akinde in his sermon at the funeral service, said Adedeji left a legacy of service for Nigerians to emulate.
He said the renowned economist was truly a great nationalist.
The retired Archbishop said many Nigerians in position of authority have failed their generations because of greed, noting that the ex – Executive Secretary of UNECA impacted positively on his generation.
“As mankind, we should start asking ourselves of the kind of legacy we are going to leave behind. It is important that we give serious thought to the kind of legacy we are leaving behind.
“Our late Professor Adedeji was a great man. He was an enigma. He was a world class economist and renowned academic. He was a top flight diplomat.
“He believed in the unity and oneness of Nigeria. He lived a world of service because he served the Africa continent, his country and state. He has left everyone of us a life of legacy,” Akinde said.
In his remarks, Amosun said the state had lost one of its icons.
“Papa was a colossus in his own right. He was one of we the younger ones are very proud of. He was a great son of Ogun State. He has done brilliantly well in all the capacities he had served. In all facets, he did well,” Amosun said.