More condolences poured in for the family of the late Chairman of Punch Nigeria Limited, Mr. Gbadebowale Aboderin yesterday.
Aboderin, a trained pilot and basketball enthusiast, died in Lagos on Wednesday following a heart surgery at First Cardiology Consultants.
He was aged 60.
Among the eminent Nigerians who sent condolence messages to the family yesterday were for President Goodluck Jonathan; Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode; Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi and Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun.
In a condolence letter to the Aboderin family and the management and staff of Punch Newspapers, Jonathan described the late Aboderin as a crusader for public good, saying that he would be sorely missed because of his deep commitment to national development.
A statement issued by Jonathan’s media adviser, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, said the ex-President also noted that Aboderin left a legacy of hard work and passion for a just society.
The statement said: “The late Aboderin will be sorely missed because of his deep commitment to national progress and the ease with which he reached out and made friends across regional lines and religious ties.
“He was a man who invested hugely in the cause of the ordinary people and worked altruistically for public good.
“The high value he placed on social capital was evident in the height to which he took Punch, expeditiously repositioning the newspaper as a credible voice for equity, national unity, good governance and democracy.
“As a sports enthusiast, he willingly channeled his energy and resources in the pursuit of his interest; a passion that positively reflected in his substantial contributions to sports development, especially the game of basketball which he greatly lifted.
“He will be remembered for his impressive legacy of hard work, philanthropy and passion for a just and equitable society.”
Sad development, says Ambode
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, expressed sadness over Aboderin’s death in a condolence letter he personally signed and addressed to the Managing Director of Punch Nigeria Limited, Mr. Demola Osinubi.
The governor described Aboderin’s death as a sad development coming at a time when the media institution can benefit more from his leadership and direction.
The statement said: “With deep sympathy, the Lagos State Government wishes to condole with the management of Punch Nigeria Limited and the entire family of the Founder, Chief James Olu Aboderin, on the sudden death of the Chairman, Mr. Wale Aboderin.
“The Punch has earned its place as a great medium for the expression of views and dissemination of news and intelligence on account of the high standards of ethics and the vision of its founding partners.
“The death of Mr. Wale Aboderin is a sad development at a time this media institution can benefit more from his leadership and direction.
“It is a big loss to the sports sector in which he played major roles as investor and philanthropist.
“Because of these impeccable records, he lives in our hearts. His indelible footprints tell us that he will always be part of our journey as citizens of Nigeria and the world at large.”
We lost a great son —Ajimobi
Governor Ajimobi expressed “utter shock” at the news of the untimely death of the Chairman of Punch Nigeria Limited, who he described as an illustrious son of Oyo State, and a lovable brother and consummate gentleman.
A statement issued by the Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy to the governor, Mr. Bolaji Tunji, lamented that death had again snatched one of the great sons of the land, who spread his signature effervescence and love everywhere he went.
The governor expressed sadness that death cut short the dream of the foremost entrepreneur and affable administrator whose magic wand, he said, had further entrenched Punch as a dominant force in the newspaper industry.
Ajimobi said: “That the Punch newspaper now prints simultaneously in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt is directly attributable to the business acumen, dexterity and go-getting efforts of my late brother, who toiled day and night to sustain the family’s business legacy.
“The enigma called death has again cut short the life of one of our shining and unassuming stars.
“Wale was a great citizen of our dear state and son of the soil in whom we were well pleased. The news of his sudden death saddens me.
“His simplicity and modest lifestyle despite sitting atop a multi-billion naira enterprise are exemplary and noteworthy. I was told that no employee enters his office with a frown without leaving with a smile.
“I can boldly say that death is not the end of my adorable brother’s life, since only his body departed.
“His spirit can never die; it continues to live with us. His legacies of humility, selflessness, integrity, diligence and Godliness shall continue to live with us.
“I know that no soothing words can help ease the pain and loss that my sister, his dear wife and lovable children are feeling at this moment, but they will forever be in my prayers and thoughts.”
He was a zealous professional, says Amosun
Governor Ibikunle Amosun expressed deep sadness over the death of Aboderin in his condolence message signed by the Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Otunba Adedayo Adeneye.
Describing the deceased as a versatile Nigerian who excelled in all his endeavours, Amosun said “the late Mr. Gbadebowale Aboderin, a professional pilot, was zealous in carrying on the legacy bequeathed by his late father and Founder of the Punch Newspapers, Chief Olu Aboderin, when he took over as chairman of the company.
“His commitment to the development of basketball in Nigeria, which saw him founding the Dolphins Female Basketball Foundation and emerging the chairman of the Lagos State Basketball Association as well as Vice President of Nigeria Basketball Supporters Club, is worthy of emulation.”
The governor prayed God to grant the family of the late Aboderin the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.