By Wole Mosadomi, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & James Ogunnaike, ABEOKUTA
Chief Duro Onabule, former spokesman to former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (retd), has died at the age of 83.
Onabule was said to have died on Tuesday. He was born in Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, in September 1939. He attended the CMS Grammar School in Lagos before moving on to the London School of Journalism.
He started working as a journalist for Daily Express in 1961 and later joined Daily Sketch three years later. He was said to have returned to Daily Express after working with Daily Sketch for a period.
He also worked with Daily Times in the 1970s. In 1984 when Concord press was established, Onabule was appointed Features Editor and rose to become Editor of the newspaper.
Onabule’s passing comes at the time Babangida is turning 81.
Reacting to the death of the veteran journalist, President Muhammadu Buhari, in a statement by his Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, condoled with the former military leader, the Nigeria Union of Journalists and the Nigerian Guild of Editors over the sad loss.
He noted the commendable contributions of the respected journalist to the development of Nigeria, especially his role in stimulating robust debates with insightful articles while working variously as Editor of National Concord and Chairman, Board of Directors of Nigerian Television Authority, NTA.
I‘ve lost an elder brother—Babangida
Also reacting, Babangida said with the demise of his former CPS, he has lost an elder brother.
Babangida, in a statement, noted that the late Onabule was not only his Adviser-in-Chief but was one of their brain boxes in and out of office.
The statement said: “The news of the passing on of Duro Onabule came to me as a rude shock. It was a bad birthday gift for me this year; my 81st year on mother earth. I didn’t believe the news until I compared notes with a few of my friends who confirmed the sad news.
“I am downcast wondering why my triple chief didn’t give me a chance to say goodbye. Nigeria has lost a colossus, a wordsmith, a walking encyclopedia, a reservoir of knowledge and a rich chronicler of history, whose worldview is defined by sheer intellect, content and character. Nigeria has lost Duro Onabule.
“He was an epitome of what the Yoruba would refer to as “Omoluabi,” due to his spartan lifestyle, discipline, a knack for excellence, uncommon patriotism and remarkable and unalloyed loyalty to friends, associates, colleagues and fellow professionals. He was not just my Adviser-in-Chief, he was one of our brain boxes, in and out of office.
“While in government, Duro was the first to reach me daily to discuss reports and happenings in the country. He was a Chief Press Secretary par excellence. He was exemplary. He was punctual and adopted the military way of doing things; especially time management. “His rich experience during our time in government helped in no small measure in our decision-making processes. He was a nationalist par excellence. He was a dear friend.”
He was a trailblazer in his profession —Ogun gov
On his part, Governor Dapo Abiodun, in a condolence statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, said he received the death of the Ijebu-Ode-born foremost journalist with a shock.
Abiodun said: “I received the news of one of the finest journalists Nigeria can boast of, with great shock. He remained a trailblazer in his profession, who proved his mettle while serving as the spokesman of the IBB’s regime.
“Though his death is a national loss, we, in Ogun, will feel the vacuum most. No doubt, one of our illustrious sons and gift to Nigeria is gone, he shall be sorely missed.
“On behalf of my family, the government and the people of Ogun State, I commiserate with the immediate family of late Onabule and his hometown of Ijebu Ode.”