President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President David Mark and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar have commiserated with the family of Alade Odunewu who passed away at the age of 85, describing him as a foremost journalist, public affairs analyst, administrator and role model for media professionals.
Presidential Media Adviser, Reuben Abati, in a statement Friday said “President Jonathan joins the Odunewu family and all who knew “Allah De” as he was popularly known in mourning the veteran journalist who attained national fame with his popular and widely read satirical newspaper columns with which he entertained, educated and edified an adoring public.
“The President believes that as Mr. Odunewu is laid to rest in Lagos today, his family, relatives, associates, admirers and the many media professionals for whom he was an inspiring mentor and role model should be comforted by the knowledge that his place alongside the greats of Nigerian journalism is assured.
“President Jonathan also believes that Mr. Odunewu will be eternally remembered and honoured as a nationalist and patriot whose notable contributions to national development extended well beyond his chosen profession of journalism to the public service of his state and Nigeria where he served with distinction as Commissioner, member of the Federal Electoral Commission and Chairman of the Nigerian Press Council.
“As they mourn him, the President urges the present generation of Nigerian journalists to strive to emulate Mr. Odunewu’s exemplary craftsmanship, courage, forthrightness, fairness, patriotism, honesty and moral rectitude which were most apparent in his life and also evident in “Winner Takes All”, the collection of writings which he has bequeathed to posterity.
“He prays that God Almighty will receive Mr. Odunewu’s gentle soul and grant him eternal rest,” he stated.
Also, Senate President David Mark has described the veteran Journalist, Alade Oduenwu otherwise called “Allah De” as a great loss to the Journalism profession and the nation.
Mark pointed out that Odunewu was one of those who fought for the actualization of the nation’s independence in 1960.
In a condolence message to the government and people of Lagos State, Senator Mark said Odunewu through his famous, scintillating and reverberating column in the old Daily Times of Nigeria, educated and entertained the nation.
“His column in the Daily Times was a must Read. It was brilliant and thought provoking. He sensitized Nigerians on the agitation for Independence. We owe him a debt of gratitude”, he stated.
The Senate President noted that Mr. Odunewu was not just a founding father of the modern day Journalism but the Nigeria nation. He said Odunewu was an encyclopedia and a reservoir of knowledge of sort who brought his skill and talent to bear in the discharge of his assignment.
“We shall miss his wise counsel, his humour and patriotism. He was a man whose good gestures transcended beyond ethnic and religious boundaries.” The Senate President stressed.
He, therefore, told the government and people of Lagos State especially the bereaved family to take solace in the fact late Odunewu lived an accomplished life worthy of emulation.
In the same vein, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has said the death of the veteran journalist, Mr. Odunewu at the age of 85, would create a big vacuum in journalism for many years to come.
Popularly known as “Allah De” in his celebrated column in the Daily Times, the former Vice President recalled “his sense of humour gave his writing style a unique and inimitable quality and class.”
According to Atiku, journalists had a lot to learn from the extraordinary talent of the late Odunewu whose column became so popular like a hot cake because of its satirical and humorous style.
However, the former Vice President reminded Nigerians that the late Odunewu should not only be celebrated for his sense of humour, also because of his integrity.
“From the accounts of the man I have read and from what I have heard about him, I am convinced the late veteran journalist deserves all the accolades being to his memory. Rising to top positions in the Daily Times and the Nigerian Tribune in those days was a feat any journalist would have aspired to achieve,” the former Vice President further added.
He expressed his condolences to the Odunewu family, the Nigerian Union of Journalists and the Nigerian Guild of Editors over the big loss of this icon of journalism