The Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has described the death of the foremost leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere, Sir Ajayi Olaniwun, as a huge blow that has decimated the hierarchy of true Yoruba leadership.
A statement by the Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy to the Governor, Mr. Yomi Layinka, in Ibadan said that Afenifere, the entire Yoruba and the country at large have lost a rare, committed and disciplined leader of repute.
Although the late Isara Remo-born Yoruba leader passed on at a ripe age of 91, the governor lamented that he died when the country was in dire need of sages required to proffer solutions to the myriads of its socio-economic challenges.
Describing Olaniwun as urbane and affectionate, the governor said that his modest lifestyle was a lesson in humility despite his accomplishments as a distinguished writer, great Yoruba leader and philosopher.
The governor recalled that the late leader proved to be a dependable rallying point when patriots were in the trenches to wrest power from the military, which made him one of the very few heroes and heroines of the democracy the country now enjoys.
“I visited you at Isara Remo in February to tap from your rich repertoire of knowledge and to drink from your fountain of wisdom. But, little did I know that your warm welcome, as you ushered me into the inner recess of your modest home, was a way to bid me farewell.
“You were bubbly, energetic and full of life, with a strength that belies your nonagenarian status. This, definitely, is an attestation to your disciplined and spartan lifestyle.
“How I wish the young ones of today can emulate your way of life, which was a lesson in path to gerontology, piety, discipline, hard work, modesty, love for humanity, dedication to the course of Yoruba and fear of God. I have no doubt that you fought a good fight and you finished your course.
“Your death has created a huge vacuum in the hierarchy of true Yoruba leadership. You left us when your wisdom and experience was badly needed to pilot our dear country into safety from this turbulent socio-economic weather. You will be sorely missed.”
The governor condoled with the family, friends and associates of the legendary Ajayi Olaniwun and prayed for the repose of his gentle soul.