Makinde directs flags to fly at half-mast

By Dayo Johnson, Rotimi Ojomoyela, Omeiza Ajayi, Adeola Badru, Shina Abubakar & James Ogunnaike, IBADAN

CHAIRMAN of the South-West Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, and Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, yesterday, described the death of former Governor of Oyo State, Adebayo Alao-Akala, as a rude shock.

Vanguard gathered that Akala, who was a governor of the state between 2007 and 2011, died, yesterday, in his sleep in his hometown of Ogbomosho, at the age of 71.

Akala, according to a family source, was said to have returned from Abuja yesterday (Tuesday) to Ibadan, where he watched the Super Eagles football match against Egypt in the evening, before embarking on a journey to Ogbomoso.

The source said the Ogbomoso-born politician was discovered dead when they entered his room on Wednesday morning.

The source also disclosed that the late politician was said to have chaired a meeting with some party members on Tuesday.

Late Alao-Akala started his political career as a member of the New Dimension. He participated in the zero-party local government election of 1996 and later co-founded the UNP before its fusion with UNC to form UNCP.

He participated in the Ogbomoso Federal Constituency (One) primary election of the UNCP in 1997. He contested and won the chairmanship seat of the Ogbomoso North Local Government, along with seven councillors, on the platform of APP in 1998.

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He was elected the Vice-Chairman of ALGON, Oyo State Chapter between 1999 and 2002. Alao-Akala founded the Ogbomoso Unity Forum, a political association that later joined the PDP.

He was the Chairman of Ogbomoso North Local Government from 1999 to 2002.

Alao-Akala served as the Deputy Governor of Oyo State from May 2003 to January 2006.

Following the impeachment of then-incumbent Governor Rashidi Ladoja, Alao-Akala was sworn into office in January 2006 and served for 11 months.

In December 2006, the impeachment was overturned by the Supreme Court and Rashidi Ladoja was reinstated.

Alao-Akala contested and won the gubernatorial election in 2007 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and became the governor serving a full term till May 2011.

He died five months to his 72nd birthday on June 3.

Makinde directs flags to fly at half-mast

Also mourning, Governor Seyi Makinde said the news of the demise of Alao-Akala was very shocking.

The governor, on his verified Facebook page, said: “I join the good people of Oyo State to mourn the passing of a former governor of our dear state, Otunba Adebayo Christopher Alao-Akala, which sad event took place today (Wednesday).

“I have directed that flags fly in half-mast in honour of Governor Alao-Akala, our brother, friend and illustrious son of Oyo State.

“He will be remembered for his contributions to the development of Oyo State as governor, especially for taking infrastructural development to other zones of the state outside Ibadan.”

We lost a quintessential politician—S-West govs

Reacting to Akala’s death, Akeredolu lamented that the Southwest, especially Oyo State have lost a giant and quintessential politician who was committed to friendship, progress and development of the society till the end.

Akeredolu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, said: “The finality of death is a hard reality to deal with. Notwithstanding, it is a puzzle that only God understands.

“Alao-Akala did not bid us farewell. We were not prepared to lose him now. The news of his demise came as a rude shock. It is, indeed, a piercing pain.

“More than mere emotional flashes, we reflect on the time and moments we have shared and the struggles we all partook.

“Our wins and constant hope together. His death causes a deafening silence in our hearts. It is a big blow dealt on us.

“Akala was a strong pillar of our great party, the APC, in Oyo State. He played the elderly role by stabilizing the party in the state. His death is a huge loss to the APC.”

Alao-Akala was a pragmatic leader —Fayemi

In his tribute, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, yesterday, extolled the virtues of the deceased.

Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, said: “Alao-Akala’s death came as a shock. We shall miss his amiable personality, wittiness and dynamism.

“On behalf of my wife, Bisi, the Government and people of Ekiti State, I commiserate with the government and people of Oyo State, members of Alao-Akala family, and his political associates and pray that God would grant him eternal rest.”

Alao-Akala’s death, sudden, painful —Abiodun

On his part, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State, in a condolence statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin said: “The news of the demise of the former Governor Alao-Akala came to me as a rude shock. Yes, we are all mortals, but his death, which is sudden to me, came at a time the APC in Oyo needed his exemplary leadership.”

His death, a rude shock, says Oyetola

On his part, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State, in a statement by his spokesperson, Ismail Omipidan, said: “On behalf of my family, government and people of Osun, I commiserate with the family of late Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, his political associates, friends as well as the governor and government and people of Oyo State.”

He was a national political asset —APC

Similarly, National Chairman, Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC of the APC, Gov. Mai Mala Buni said he received with sorrow the death of Alao Akala.

Governor Buni in a statement said: “It is with grief and sorrow that we lost Adebayo Alao Akala at this moment of our national life.

“Akala was a man of the people who increased the fortunes of the party in Oyo State and Nigeria.

“The late Governor was a national political asset that was sought after by all political parties.

“It is saddening that we lost this asset at a time when we commence the process to our next general election.”

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