I received with shock and grief but submission to the will of God the report of the death of Revd. Mrs Omotola Oyediran, the eldest daughter of our unforgettable leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Mrs Oyediran was my darling sister. Her interest in and commitment to my success and wellbeing was extraordinary.
My wife called to confirm the news of her passage. ‘Two days ago, Mama had called to inquire about me and prayed for me. How could such a person therefore die?’, she asked with shock and astonishment.
By our custom and religion, no question is usually asked about death. But we are puzzled and perplexed and will continue to wonder why good people die! The death of anybody diminishes everybody without a doubt, to paraphrase the English poet, John Donne. The passage of aunty is painful and diminishes us all.
Our last meeting was at the Ajimobis, soon after the elections in 2019. It was memorable because of the concerns she expressed on the outcome of the elections. I never for once doubted her progressive credentials, however, the thoughts she freely shared and the stoical spirit of a quiet fighter she displayed were reassuring and remarkable.
She was a woman of deep faith in God and genuine love of people in her heart. She was graceful but humble. A big fish has indeed left the ocean.
Death, having come at the nick of 80 years of the solar cycle, we must commiserate with all who are bound to sorely miss her. Her husband, Professor Olukayode Oyediran and their children; Dr (Mrs) Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu; the entire Awolowo family, and the progressives of the West and social democrats of Nigeria. May God comfort and imbue all with fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
May she wake up to joyful activities in the next station. Aamin.
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola
Minister of Interior