President Goodluck Jonathan Sunday commiserated with the government and people of Ondo State over the death of pro-democracy activist and renowned economist, Dr. Baba Oluwide Omojola.
The president, who also extended his condolences to Omojola’s immediate and extended family, friends, associates and professional colleagues, said the elder statesman was a patriot and an indefatigable advocate of good governance, who dedicated his life to the pursuit of social justice and a better life for others.
Also mourning his death, Governors Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, his Ondo State counterpart, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko; Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, all stressed that the late Omojola was a God-fearing person, who devoted his life for the emancipation of Nigerians from oppression.
Omojola had slumped and died in his hotel room in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Friday, while preparing to leave for Lagos, after making a presentation before the Presidential Advisory Committee (PAC) on the proposed National Conference.
But, a statement signed by his Senior Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, “President Jonathan noted that Omojola remained faithful to the cause of justice, equity and progress for all Nigerians till the end of his life.”
According to the statement, “The president urges all who mourn Omojola to ensure that his life-long labours were not in vain by emulating the exemplary dedication and patriotism he showed in journeying to Akure to make a submission on the coming national conference at the age of 75.
“President Jonathan believes that Omojola’s inheritors, friends and associates in the long struggle for a better Nigeria can truly honour his memory by joining hands with other patriots to ensure the success of the planned national dialogue to which he was so evidently committed.
On his part, Amosun described Omojola’s death as a great loss to Nigeria.
Amosun, according to a statement, said Omojola was a quintessential human rights campaigner, democracy icon and economist of distinction, who “contributed immensely to the enthronement of the current civil rule. Nigeria has no doubt lost a dogged democracy campaigner, man of principle and defender of the downtrodden masses.”
The governor added that the co-founder of the Pro-National Conference Organisation (PRONACO) lived and died for the cause of a better Nigeria, noting that "his place in the pantheon of democracy fighters is assured.”
Commenting also, Mimiko said the late Omojola was a committed, bold and resourceful human rights crusader and nationalist, whose death was not just a sad loss to the family but an unfortunate departure from the fast depleting tribe of genuine human rights activists and nationalists with conscience.
The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr. Eni Akinsola, said: “Baba Omojola represented the best of the generation of human and political rights activists who never compromised in the face of serial treachery and consistent oppression of the ruling class.”
“He was dogged, committed, resourceful and unwavering. His was a life lived in moral decency, material modesty and social and political relevance. He was brave, bold, strong and reliable. He will be sorely missed,” he said.
Speaking also, Fayemi, in a statement by his CPS, Mr. Olayinka Oyebode, described Omojola as one of the champions of democracy being enjoyed in the country.
He noted that Omojola stood out to be counted among patriotic Nigerians who worked tirelessly to chase the military usurpers out of corridors of power.
He said: “Omojola played a prominent role in the struggle to revalidate the result of the June 12 1993 election won by Chief MKO Abiola. He was everywhere-on the streets, at press conferences, meetings and other fora to demand the return of the people's mandate. This great man further showed the stuff he was made of during the dark days of the Abacha junta. Even after democracy had been restored, Omojola kept up the struggle to save the common man from anti-people policies of the successive administrations.”
In his reaction, Fashola described the late Omojola as a selfless, humble and committed democrat, who was committed to the defence of the masses.
Fielding questions from journalists at the Surulere residence of the elder statesman, after condoling with his family, Fashola, who said he was short of words to describe his feeling, noted that the human rights activist was “selfless at his own expense” in the pursuit of justice and in the quest for the enthronement of democracy.
“What more can one say about this man? He was selfless in giving of himself, humble in his aspirations, totally committed in putting himself forward in defence of the masses and the downtrodden of this nation, selfless at his own expense in the pursuit of justice, in the quest for the enthronement of democracy,” the governor declared.
He added: “I think that all I can say in summation is that those who give so much of their lives in the service of others truly immortalise themselves even when they die. So, the physical Baba Omojola is not with us anymore, but I am sure he lives because he lived and died for very good causes.”