By Shina Abubakar – Osogbo
The former interim Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande on Friday said the death of Senator Mojiseoluwa Akinfenwa made him feel sad and shattered. He described the late Senator as a committed friend and a principled politician.
A statement signed by Chief Akande titled a tribute to Senator Mojiseoluwa Akinfenwa and made available to journalists in Osogbo said the duo met at Chief Bola Ige’s cabinet and became friends since 1979.
He described the deceased as a hardworking Commissioner for Education in the then Oyo State.
The statement reads, “I feel shocked, sad and shattered to learn about the sudden death of Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa – a longtime friend of mine since the formation of the Awolowo’s Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). Akinfenwa, among others, led the UPN into victory in Ijesaland”.
“Akinfenwa and I first met as members of the old Oyo State Executive Committee of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) in January 1979 and, later, we became close friends within the Cabinet of Chief Bola Ige’s government of Oyo State formed in October of that year. He was the most hard-working Commissioner for Education in the old Oyo State. Since then, the bond of our friendship has been very strong at each other’s family level”.
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“Sometimes towards the end of February 1984, just a few weeks after my temporary release from Kirikiri prison, I went to check on Mr. Akinfenwa at No 33 Rotimi Williams Avenue, Bodija in Ibadan and met him with some pains. He put one of his ankles in bandages. I was seated with him to share from his discomforts when some secret security agents came to invite him to report at the police headquarters. I suspected an arrest and subsequent military detention when they felt no concern about the pains in his ankle. I was sad. I did not immediately know that the other Oyo State commissioners too were being fished out from their different homes. However, it was going to be for a short time like mine, I concluded. And I said so to Bola, his wife, for consolations.
It was not until when I was re-arrested in white safari suit, kept in a pond of dirt for three nights at the Army barracks, Mokola and being taken for detention at the NSO headquarters in Eleiyele on Monday, April 2, 1984 that I again saw Senator Akinfenwa among other commissioners being detained in my old official quarters at No 754 Links Reservation as my captors drove there to parade me to them in wicked humiliation”.
The former Osun Governor added that Akinfenwa, after his release from prison did everything humanly possible to secure his (Akande) release.
He added that they both worked together to form the Afenifere, which later became NADECO, a platform used to fight the military, in the state.
“He, among others, worked with me thereafter to build Afenifere which metamorphosed into NADECO in Osun state during the dangerous Abacha military era”.
“As the Osun state chairman of Afenifere, I remember with admirable pleasure, that only Senator Akinfenwa stood by me amongst the Vice chairmen of Afenifere in Osun state when the battle to form the Alliance for Democracy (AD) became the only practical option at Abuja on 8th September 1998. He later got elected as an AD senator of the National Assembly in 1999”.
“Senator Akinfenwa met me recently in my home at Ila Orangun. He was looking healthy and radiant. We were happy together and reminisced about many aspects of our relationship – including our recent ugly duel on AD national championship and we jested and laughed at each other. I did not suspect it was going to be our last meeting”.
“May Senator Akinfenwa’s soul finds solace in the bossom of our Lord God as I pray that all of us – his friends, social and political colleagues and family, shall have the fortitude to bear his loss”, he added.