Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, has commiserated with the Yoruba nation over the passing of the founder of Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Frederick Fasehun.
The president, in a condolence message by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Saturday, also condoled with the family of the medical practitioner and the government and people of Ondo State.
Mr Buhari recalled the prominent role Mr Fasehun played as a member of the defunct National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), which campaigned against military rule in the country.
The president prayed that the Almighty God would comfort all those who mourn the octogenarian and grant peace to his soul.
Also, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, described the late OPC leader as a renowned pro-democracy and good governance activist, committed democrat, tested political player, and Yoruba nationalist who left behind fine legacies.
He charged Mr Fasehun’s family and other associates of the late leader not to allow his fine legacies to die.
“He was known for his Yoruba nationalistic fervor. Like an Afenifere chieftain that he was, he fought stridently for the Yoruba cause,” said Mr Tinubu.
“He canvassed true federalism and political restructuring. He fought as well for the cause of the Nigerian nation.
“The good thing about Baba is there was never a time that he sat on the fence. Although trained as a medical doctor, he was very active politically. We were together in the forefront of the agitation for the de-annulment of June 12. He founded the Oodua Peoples Congress to actualize June 12 but espoused non-violence.
“Nonetheless, he remained a torn in the flesh of the military. It was therefore no surprise that Dr. Fasehun was imprisoned for 19 months from December 1996 to June 1998 by the General Sani Abacha regime.
“And when democracy fully returned to the country he participated actively. From being an Alliance for Democracy sympathizer in 1999 to 2003, he moved to the front stage.”
Mr Tinubu said one of Mr Fasehun’s last political acts was an attempt at reviving the Unity Party of Nigeria formed by the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo, by giving the same name to the party he later formed
“There was also something remarkable about Baba: his love for Lagos. Though born in Ondo in Ondo State, he spent the most part of his life in Lagos. It was here that he situated his medical hospital, the Best Hope Hospital and Acupuncture Centre, and his hotel business-the Century Hotel.
“He was an extremely humble and modest man. I will miss him dearly. The Southwest, particularly Lagos and Ondo states, will miss him. Nigeria will miss him also.”
Mr Fasehun, aged 83, died at about 1a.m, Saturday at the intensive care unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital Ikeja (LASUTH).
He was born in on September 25, 1938 in Ondo State.
He began his education late, entering primary school at the age of 13 at Saint Matthews Roman Catholic School, Ondo.
He later moved to Saint Peter’s Teacher’s Training College, Akure, also in Ondo state. But he was expelled from school, because of his non-conformity with Catholicism.
Mr Fasehun was then admitted to Ondo Boys High School, where he completed his secondary education in less than three years, with a Grade One distinction.
His brother offered him a scholarship to study science at Blackburn College in the UK. He furthered his education at Aberdeen University College of Medicine.
He also studied at the Liverpool Postgraduate School after which he had a Fellowship at the Royal College of Surgeons.
In 1976, he studied acupuncture in China under a joint World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Development Scholarship Programme.
On his return in 1977, he set up an Acupuncture Unit at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).
He resigned in 1978 and immediately set up the Best Hope Hospital and Acupuncture Centre in Lagos.
His Acupuncture Centre once earned a reputation as Africa’s first for the Chinese medical practice.