The Nigerian president condoled with the family of the deceased.
President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday visited the matriarch of the Awolowo family, Hanna Awolowo, in Ikenne, Ogun State, to commiserate with the family over the death of Oluwole Awolowo, the Publisher of Nigerian Tribune Newspaper.
Mr. Jonathan landed in Ikenne in a chopper marked NAF 571 at the Ansar Udeen Primary School from where he moved to the home of the Awolowo’s. The president was joined in his official car by the Deputy Governor of Ogun State, Segun Adesegun.
Mr. Jonathan, in the condolence register, said he was sad by the death of the late publisher and son of Premier of the Western Region, Obafemi Awolowo.
“Ordinarily, at three scores plus, one will be grateful to God,but still, this death of Chief Oluwole Awolowo is very painful to all of us. May God grant his soul a peaceful rest and let the family have the fortitude to bear the loss,” the president wrote in the condolence register.
While speaking to the family of the bereaved, the president said he was short of words to condole the Awolowo family.
“It’s a period that we lack words, even though as a teacher and politician, in some cases though, I’m generally somebody of very few words. But in some situations, even the very few words disappear. So we really lack words to express our feelings,” the president said.
“Ordinarily at that 70, which is why I have said that from Biblical injunction, three scores and ten, is an age where you thank God to attain, especially in a country where the average life span is quite below 50. But under the circumstances, his death is painful to all of us.
“To me, I’ve seen the way the Awolowo family has taken me as their own and I would have loved to be here almost every day. Gbenga Daniel (former Ogun State Governor) can attest to that. You have taken me as your own; this is not the period to say it and I have the opportunity to say that and the whole world can know.
“I remain grateful to you for integrating me into the great Awolowo family. That is why I asked the first time I heard about the death that have they informed mama? It was Douglas that told me that they have not informed her and I asked him to go to Lagos and follow this’.
“I pay my personal condolence to mama and the entire members of the family and I also condole with the children, especially the younger ones that are still expecting significant parental care.
“I join the Bishop to say God knows everything and he knows the reason for everything. On our part, we will continue to be members of the family and any little thing that God has given us the privilege to do the children, they are my children and my brothers.
“So mama, it is painful but God knows best and we pray that you don’t experience this again and God will see you through. Mama, I’m your son, I will continue to be with you,” Mr. Jonathan stated.
Earlier, while welcoming the President, the eldest child of the Awolowo’s, Tola Oyediran, expressed the family’s appreciation to the Federal Government.
“On behalf of the family, I want to really appreciate you. You have no doubt identified with us in this journey, even when we thought it was too big for us to carry, you were there to help us carry the load.
“We did not think at all that you would come and see us. What you have done today, it will remain forever in our hearts and we pray for you and your entire family that you will never know sorrow in Jesus name. Everything that you desire in your heart, we pray that the Lord will grant it to you.
“I want to welcome you on behalf of Awolowo family and mama and to assure you that your stay here will be peaceful,” Mrs. Oyediran said.
In a related development, the National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Gani Adams, also paid a condolence visit to the family and prayed for the soul of the deceased to rest in peace.
“We have lost a brother, a progressive and ideology in this country. I pray that God should (grant) him an eternal rest,” the OPC leader wrote in the condolence register.