The remains of former Lagos State Governor, Sir Michael Otedola, have been buried. He was buried yesterday 30th May in his home town, Odoragunshin, in the Epe Local Government Area of the state. The burial was preceded by a funeral Mass held at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Ibonwon.
The church programme was attended by President Goodluck Jonathan, his wife Dame Patience Jonathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Governor Babatunde Fashola, his wife Dame Abimbola Fashola, Governor Ibikunle Amosun, Hon Abike Dabiri, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) boss Aruma Oteh, Minister for Agriculture Adeshina Akinwumi, former Zenith Bank boss Jim Ovia, business magnate Aliko Dangote, among others.
The funeral Mass was officiated by Archbishop Alfred Adewale Martins of the Lagos Archdiocese, together with Bishop Emeritus, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie; former Archbishop of Ibadan, Rev Dr Felix Alaba Job; and other priests with clergymen from various denominations in attendance. The sleepy community was awoken by the unusual presence of the dignitaries in the area.
The residents, including a large number of physically challenged people trooped out in their numbers to catch a glimpse of the visitors. It was an opportunity for some of the residents to make brisk business. Commercial motorcyclists and commercial drivers smiled home as they picked visitors from one part of the town to the other. It was equally an opportunity for many politicians across the state to register themselves in the minds of the people and most importantly, the decision makers in their different political parties.
They strategically placed banners with their photographs at different parts of the area to welcome the visitors and bid the deceased farewell. A large number of armed and stern-looking security men stood at strategic positions to forestall a break-down of law and order. Delivering his sermon during the Holy Mass, Monsignor Otenhi extolled the virtues of the late governor and exhorted the congregation to live a life worthy of emulation.
“Our beloved father lived a life worthy of emulation. He was a devout Christian who dedicated his life to the service of God and humanity.
“Today, he has gone to be with his creator. One day, it would be our turn. We should strive to live a life worthy of emulation so that when our time comes, people would have good things to say about us just as they are saying about our departed father today,” Monsignor Otenhi admonished.
President Jonathan, in his brief remark, extolled the virtues of the late governor, while assuring Nigerians that: “Serenity would soon return to the country.” The president, in his condolence message to the deceased family, said: “It is with great sadness that I write to condole you on the passing of your dear father, Sir Michael Otedola: a consumate nationalist.
“Your father brought a characteristic level of uncompromising diligence and commitment to excellence to bear on every facet of his service to God, country and community, a rich legacy which should be an enduring source of pride to you and the entire members of your family in your moment of grief.
“On behalf of my family, the government and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I write to express my heartfelt condolences to you, the entire members of the larger Otedola family and the government and people of Lagos State where he served meritoriously as governor, on the passing of this titan. May Almighty God grant succour to all he left behind, even as He grants his soul eternal rest.”
The Vice President Namadi Sambo described the deceased former governor as an elder statesman who served his people with a sense of humility, saying: “It is with deep shock and total submission to the will of the Almighty God that I received the sad news of his demise. He will be remembered by all as an elder statesman, distinguished politician and devout Christian who served his people with a sense of humility and touched many lives through his just and exemplary leadership.”
Former President Obasanjo, in his condolence message, described the deceased as a rare breed “who combined the sterling qualities of patriotism and firmness of purpose requisite for high office with the domestic virtues of modesty and loyalty. An extra- ordinary person and unforgettable personality, quality and integrity were his imprints.”
Lagos State Governor Fashola said the deceased’s accomplishments and the records of his administration amply reveal his accommodating nature and predilection towards politics without bitterness and acrimony, adding “this endeared him to friends and political adversaries alike as he showed by example that it was possible to accommodate diverse shades of thought and opinion.
“His distinctly dignified comportment outside political office is no less worthy of emulation,” said Fashola.
Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, noted that the fact that the deceased attained a ripe age has not in any way “lessened the pain, nor the magnitude of the death of a patriach who devoted his life to the service of his creator and the benefit of humanity. “Everyone who knew Sir Michael Otedola testifies to his disciplined lifestyle and gentle disposition,” he said.
His Osun State counterpart, Governor Rauf Aregbesola, said the deceased while alive was was a humble, energetic, enterprising and astute politician. He said: “The lesson that can be drawn from his passage is that while we are alive, we should all strive to serve our people and God, our creator in the belief that we shall all account for our deeds when we return to our creator.”
The First Lady, Dame Jonathan, said: “Though his death was painful, we should take solace in the fact that he left good legacies which are evident in the quality of the children he left behind. He will be remembered for living a worthy life and for making indelible impact on humanity during his lifetime.”