President Goodluck Jonathan as well as the Senate President, David Mark and the Speaker, House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, were among eminent Nigerians who paid glowing tributes to the Iyaloja-General of Nigeria, Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji, mother of the former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was laid to rest Sunday.
Also in Lagos yesterday, former Nigerian Ambassador to Malaysia, Senator Wahab Dosunmu, was laid to rest. The two great citizens had contributed to the growth and development of the state as well as the nation at different times.
While Mogaji died on Saturday evening at the age of 96, Dosunmu died on June 9 at the age of 74 in the United States of America where he had gone for medical treatment.
In commiserating with the national leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN),
Tinubu and his family on the death of their famed matriarch, Mogaji, President Jonathan noted that the highly revered and respected market leader, businesswoman, political activist and philanthropist would be long remembered and honoured in Lagos and across the country for her indefatigable championship of the cause of market women and men.
He said the market leader was her persistent self, well into old age, in defending the interests of the poor and underprivileged in society.
The president prayed God to grant Abibat a well deserved rest from her earthly labours.
On his part, Senator Mark said the late Mogaji was a great business woman and leader whose philanthropic gesture cut across ethnic and religious boundaries adding that she would be remembered for her industry and leadership qualities.
"She had dignity and honour in administration and purposeful management in commerce and industry in Lagos and environs. We shall miss her wise counsel. We shall miss her care and sense of humour," Mark said.
However, beyond the grief of losing them, it was a celebration of life yesterday as prominent Nigerians and politicians across political party divide and regions congregated at the Lagos Television ground, Agindingbi, Ikeja, to pay their last respects to Mogaji while those at Dosunmu’s funeral eulogised his virtues.
Mogaji was buried at Ikoyi cemetery, Lagos and immediately followed by a Muslim prayer held for her at the LTV 8 Blue Roof Hall. While that was going on, the remains of Dosumu were being committed to mother earth at his Ajah country home.
However, prominent among those who witnessed Mogaji’s burial were the Speaker, House of Representative, Tambuwal; Governors Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Adams Oshiomhole (Edo), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Senator Ganiyu Solomon, former Ogun State governor, Chief Segun Osoba; Tinubu’s wife, Senator Remi.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) was however absent at the burial ceremony as he was said to be out of the country.
Others present at the burial were the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Kuforiji, President, Newspapers Proprietors' Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and Chairman, Editor-in-Chief, THISDAY Newspapers, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena, Chief Tom Ikimi, Imams and prominent market leaders from across the South states among other dignitaries.
As a mark of respect for the deceased, markets in Lagos State were shutdown as her burial was characterised by pomp and celebration.
Typically, everyone present at Mogaji’s burial euglogised her virtues and dwelt particularly on her motherly love and her roles in coordinating her constituency in collective interest.
The Chief Imam of Lagos, Alhaji Gaba Ibraheem Akinola, during his homily, emphasised that death was an inevitable end for all and described the late Mogaji as an exemplary person who lived a good life worth emulating.
He pleaded that her legacies, especially her contributions to Islam must not be abandoned, adding that in her lifetime, she was committed to investing in other people’s lives, a move he said, would make her memory lingers on.
Aregbesola who gave the vote of thanks, recounted how motherly the late Mogaji was and noted that she had left a vacuum behind.
In like manner, those who converged at Dosunmu’s burial to pay their last respects to him recalled different instances when he played various roles in the development of the state and Nigeria in general.
Dosunmu was a former Minister of Science and Technology, Housing and Environment, former Nigeria's Ambassador to Malaysia and lately, Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA).
His remains arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport at about 6.30 a.m. aboard a Virgin Atlantic Airlines flight and were received by a huge crowd of supporters, party loyalists, family and friends.
Immediately, his corpse was taken to Eko Club, Surulere and later, Yoruba Tennis Club, Onikan, for lying-in-state where members of the club paid their last respects to the astute politician and a reputable member of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO).
The Chairman, Yoruba Tennis Club, Mr. Seyi Joseph, described Dosunmu as a "thorough-bred politician who was always calm and amiable."
Former PDP Deputy National Chairman, Chief Olabode George, who was also present said the late Dosunmu was a 'frontline Lagosian and a pacesetter who gave a sense of belonging to the people beyond political party divide. "He will be missed for his forthrightness and dedication to worthy causes."
Also, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, eulogised both Mogaji and Dosunmu.
The first civilian governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, recounted memories of late Dosunmu and said he worked with him in unity for the benefit of the people of the state when he was the Minister of Housing and Environment.
"As a governor during Dosunmu's tenure as Housing Minister, he provided land to facilitate our low cost housing projects in the state," Jakande said.
On his part, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) South-west National Chairman, Chief Ishola Filani, said Dosunmu made remarkable contributions to the growth of the party in the South-west, adding: "It’s so sad that he died when he was needed most."
Head of the Dosunmu family, Mr. Morrof Dosunmu, said his late brother was a wonderful person who touched the lives of all the family members. "We will miss him greatly," he added.
Other prominent personalities who paid their last respects to Dosumu were Chairman, Eleganza Group of Companies, Chief Rasaq Okoya; former Minister of State for Defence, Chief Demola Seriki; former Minister of Works, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe; Senator Khairat Gwadabe, Senator Femi Lanlehin, Senator Iyabo Anishulowo and the Lagos State Chairman of the PDP, Captain Tunji Shelle among others.