President Goodluck Jonathan has said the late Benjamin Adekunle, who died on Saturday would be remembered as the most celebrated military commander of his generation because of his civil war heroics.
In a statement by his media aide, Reuben Abati, Mr. Jonathan commiserated with the family of the civil war hero.
The president said he joined the family members and other Nigerians “in mourning the very courageous soldier who achieved national fame during the Nigerian civil war for his gallant leadership of the 3rd Marine Commandos in the successful effort to defend the unity and territorial integrity of the country.”
Mr. Jonathan said he believed that Mr. Adekunle’s civil war heroics, which made him easily one of the most celebrated military commanders of his generation, had ensured that he would always be honoured and remembered as a valiant soldier who served his fatherland exceptionally well at a very trying time in its history.
He said, “As the Black Scorpion’s soul returns to the Almighty Creator, President Jonathan enjoins his family, friends, former military colleagues and all who mourn his passing to also give thanks to God for blessing the nation with fearless soldiers and patriots of his calibre who stand ready to lay down their lives for the peace, unity and progress of their country.”
Mr. Jonathan prayed that God Almighty would comfort the grieving family and associates of the late military officer and grant his departed soul eternal rest.
In his tribute, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said the death of the Mr. Adekunle was shocking, adding that the late soldier would forever be remembered.
Mr. Obasanjo, who succeeded Mr. Adekunle as Commander of the 3rd Marine Commando during the three-year civil war, said in a statement in Abeokuta that the contribution of Mr. Adekunle during the country’s civil war would be remembered for a long time.
“I received with shock the news of the death of my colleague, friend and course mate, Gen. Benjamin Adekunle today. I can recall with fond memories what he was able to achieve as a course mate at Teshi, Accra Ghana,” he said,
Mr. Obasanjo added that the late retired army general, “made a no mean contribution for the Nigerian civil war. His efforts would be forever remembered and May his soul rest in peace. I am very shocked about by this news today.”
The former President equally sent his condolence to the family of the deceased, affirming that “his vacuum will be difficult to fill in the family, but, I pray for them to have the fortitude to bear this loss.”
Similarly, former Ogun State Governor,Gbenga Daniel, in his own reaction said the death of Mr. Adekunle could rightly be described as the demise of one of the last of the titans.
‘He is one the heroes of the Nigerian Civil war 1967-1970. His war exploits were legendary as he fought tenaciously for the survival of motherland. May his soul rest in peace1” Daniel said.