WHAT the statesman is most anxious to produce is a certain moral character in his fellow citizens, namely a disposition to virtue and the performance of virtuous actions –Aristotle
Edmund Burke, an English philosopher and statesman, firmly asserts that ‘the disposition to preserve, and an ability to improve, taken together would be my standard of a stateman’.
Senator Mojisoluwa O. Akinfenwa (1930 – October 10, 2019) stood tall, well beyond these respects, and bowed out of this world with large footprints in the sands of time.
Senator Akinfenwa was the first opposition leader in the Senate of Nigeria’s current democratic dispensation, 1999 to date. He served as the Senate Minority Leader on the platform of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) between 1999 and 2003. He also served as national chairman of the party. A steadfast and principled man, Baba Akinfenwa remained in the AD until he died, epitomising not politics of self-interest, but service to the people and their wellbeing. In all his actions, Baba Akinfenwa adhered to the best principles in party governance and management. Over the span of his political life, he had earned respect for courage, tenacity and integrity. Posterity shall salute you for eternity. He left behind a large pool of mentees and followers, whose lives he had positively impacted upon by his words, actions and sound judgement. I shall remain in this fold. We all shall miss his forthright guidance and direction. Death has, indeed, taken a treasure of immense proportions from our midst, and heaven welcomed home a faithful servant and diligent angel. Rest well Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa.
I owe much in my life’s journey to Baba Akinfenwa. He had been not only a pillar of support, but also of direction and guidance. An indefatigable bridge builder and leader I shall forever hold in the highest of esteem. Our relationship spans over many years, from the creation of the AD, in which he had so often acknowledged my role in and significant contribution to the travails in Osun State as deputy governor and the many challenges through which Baba Akinfenwa walked with me and stood firmly in truth by me. His commitment to truth in dialogues and negotiations remain second to none. Baba Akinfenwa was the AD chairman in Osun State that produced former Governor Bisi Akande and me. His public utterances of the truth of this process and its unfortunate endings shall remain in the annals of our political history as nothing but the authentic truth.
Senator Akinfenwa led his life with neither violence nor undue morality. His only watchword was integrity, doing the right thing for state and party and the larger number of the people, who his words and positions mentored. He prepared us all for leadership by behaviour and character, not by indulgence or patronage. A courageous statesman who spoke out his conviction undeterred by ‘the momentary moods and pernicious prejudices of the public.’ A unique politician, seasoned administrator and leader of integrity such as is uncommon in today’s political climes.
Sail on gallantly sir! You have finished your earthly run with exceptional grace. Sail to peace and rest in His bosom.
You shall be sorely missed.
- Senator Omisore (PhD) is a former deputy governor of Osun State
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