A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, entitled: “We lost a rare leader”, said he dedicated 70 years of his life to the service of the late sage and nationalist, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
The statement reads: Afenifere mourns the passing away of its oldest surviving member, Sir Olaniwun Ajayi who transited to higher glory in the early hours of Friday at the age of 91.
“We received his passage with mixed feelings, we are joyful that in a country with life expectancy of 53, Papa made it to 91, ageing graciously and in good health till the last 24 hours of life when he had to be hospitalised for some health complications.
“We are however sad that his exit has robbed the group of the wealth of experience of a philosopher, prolific writer and memory bag that is irreplaceable.
“One remarkable trait of his life was his consistency in the Awolowo political family where he put almost 70 years of dedicated service as a lieutenant of the sage and one of his worthy successors after his transition.
“Pa Ajayi had a sense of history and lived his life deliberately to make impact on his environment. Either in Afenifere, the National Democratic Coalition, The Patriots and the Methodist Church where he was a Knight, he left his indelible footprints on the sands of time.
“The last days of his life were spent in worries over the state of affairs in Yoruba-land in particular and in Nigeria at large. He was not just lamenting but he was taking practical steps to find verb for our noun in the syntax of human experience. It is hoped that all those involved in such intervention would keep those efforts on as a memorial for this worthy son of Odudiuwa.
“The great man of sound intellect may not have much good news for Awo as they meet in yonder but the seeds he planted in the last moments of his life must grow to trees that would bear the fruits of freedom.
“While waiting for burial arrangements from the family for the good man of sartorial elegance, it is a promise that we shall pay his shade the right due. Our heartfelt condolences to the good family he has left behind and it is our prayer that the Lord will take his place in their lives. Adieu, Papa. Goodnight to a worthy leader.”