Former Gov. of Oyo state, Abiola Ajimobi, has expressed sadness on the death of a foremost agronomist, businessman, philanthropist and Chairman of University Press Plc, Dr Lekan Are.
Are, 86, passed on at about 12:30am Saturday, at the University College Hospital (UCH), in Ibadan, after a brief illness.
However, Ajimobi expressed his sadness in a condolence message issued by his spokesman, Mr Tunji Bolaji, and made available to newsmen on Sunday, in Ibadan.
Ajimobi said that Are’s death came at a time his wise counsel was still required by the people of Oyo state in particular and Nigerians in general.
“We, however, take consolation in the fact that he lived a life of service to the people. He has also left indelible prints in the sands of time,” Ajimobi said.
The former governor said that Are would be missed by all and sundry, especially those whose lives he had touched through his philanthropic gestures.
According to him, “his legacies of good work will continue to live after him. My love for late Dr Are is not because he was my uncle.”
Ajimobi urged the family to take consolation in the fact that the late Laguna, Bobajiro of Ibadanland and General Manager, Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority; lived an exemplary life.
“His contribution to the development of his Alma mater, the Government College Ibadan; where he was a former chairman of the Old Boys Association, is immeasurable.
“His investment in the health sector in Oyo state and Nigeria, are worthy legacies that his family should be proud of,” he said.
The former governor described the late agronomist as a man of character, who was very blunt during his lifetime.
“I took after him. He would never deceive you. Whenever you are right, you are right and if you are wrong, he would not hesitate to tell you. There are no two ways to things with him.
“If you are looking for forthrightness, he epitomised it. He didn’t know how to play politics and we need more people like that here for development,” he said.
He noted that Are in his lifetime had shown deep concerns for the development of Oyo state.
“I loved him so much because of the relationship I had with him, first, as an uncle and as somebody that loved my father. He transferred that love to me.
“He guided me tremendously in all my activities, even before I became governor. In this, we had always been in agreement and that contributed immensely to the cordial relationship we shared.
“We pray for the repose of his soul,” he said.
Similarly, Dr Wale Babalakin, the President, Government College Ibadan Old Students Association (GCIOBA), also commiserated with the Are’s family and the state on his death.
Babalakin in a statement said that the entire GCIOBA, Are family and Oyo state; have lost a giant; whose passion for the development of education in the state. was unequaled.
He said that the late Are was widely known for the passion with which he championed the GCI cause and everything GCIOBA, describing him as an epitome of a great old boy.
“We commiserate with the Are Family, particularly the Young Girl, his Old Boy sons Ayokunmi (1976 Set), Adedamola (1978 Set) and his son-in-law Denny Igun (1971 set) and the entire Are family, of Oke-Are Ibadan.
“With gratitude to God for a life well spent we mourn the exit of our dear patron and trustee, Lalekan Emmanuel Are (1948, Field House), President GCIOBA 1989-2006, “he said.
Babalakin prayed that Almighty God grant his soul eternal rest.
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