The media in Nigeria on Thursday expressed shock and sadness as they mourned the death of Gbadebowale Aboderin, Chairman of the Punch Group of Newspapers.
Mr Aboderin, who was also chairman of the pan -African organisation, African Media Initiative (AMI), died on Wednesday at a Lagos hospital at the age of 60 years.
Reacting to the news, the Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO), consisting of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), expressed utter sadness.
In a condolence message signed by its President, Nduka Obaigbena, NPO described Mr Aboderin as “a consummate sport enthusiast” who was “jovial, amiable and easy going.
“His death is a big blow, not just to the Punch Group, but to the entire media landscape of Nigeria and Africa.”
According to the organisation, Mr Aboderin “followed generations of media owners who served the public purpose.
“We offer our condolences to the Aboderin family and the Punch Group
“May his soul find peace. Perfect peace,” the statement concluded.
Also reacting in a statement, Dapo Olorunyomi, publisher of PREMIUM TIMES, said Mr Aboderin left indelible footprints on the African media industry and lent his time and resources to public causes he believed in.
He said as chairman of the Punch Group since 2012, “he manifestly inspired the newspaper along his personal conviction of the media as the bridge between policymakers and the citizens.
“Following his election last year as the second chairman of AMI, Mr Aboderin lent his energy and vision to the promotion of the pan-African organisation’s core objectives.”
Mr Olorunyomi also recalled the contributions of the deceased as a sports enthusiast who founded and served as chairman of a female basketball foundation, chairman of the Lagos State Basketball Association and vice president of the Nigerian Basketball Supporters Club.
In his reaction, a lawyer, Festus Keyamo, described Mr Aboderin as a “gentleman par excellence”.
“I just received with utter shock and disbelief the news of the passing away of Mr. Wale Aboderin, the Chairman of Punch Newspapers,” Mr Keyamo said in a statement he sent to Premium Times.
“Mr. Wale Aboderin, whom I usually call “my egbon”, was a close friend, a gentleman par excellence, kind, humble to a fault and extremely jovial. He graciously attended my party at the Civic Center, Lagos sometime last year to celebrate my conferment of the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
“My deep condolences go to his immediate and extended family members, his friends and entire staff and management of Punch Newspapers. Nigeria as a whole has lost a rare gem at his prime, but we are all consoled by the fact that he left behind a very big shoe and indelible footprints that would be very difficult to fill or erase.”
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