By Adeola Oladele, Ibadan
An avalanche of tributes were poured on the Afenifere Renewal Group chieftain in Oyo State, Chief Ayobami Afolabi, who entered the septuagenarian on Monday.
The event, held at the International Conference Centre of the University of Ibadan, attracted dignitaries in the social milieu, which included the Governor of Ondo State, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu; Ogun State Governor, represented by his deputy, Chief (Mrs.) Yetunde Onanuga; Osun State Governor, also represented by his Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Moshood Adeoti; a former governor of Ekiti State and the current Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Special Adviser to the Vice President on Political Matters, Senator Femi Ojodu, a former duty governor of Oyo State, Chief Iyiola Oladokun, among other personalities.
While paying his tribute, the host governor, Abiola Ajimobi, described the Chief Afolabi as undoubtedly a very lucky man, who epitomised a godly person in all his interactions with fellow human beings.
According to Ajimobi: “Chief Afolabi’s simplicity is second to none. He exhibited a high level of service to humanity in all ramifications. He is a role model and a shining star to those who have had contact with him.”
“His undying love for the downtrodden, the deprived and the ordinary folks is widely acknowledged and has made him the toast of many people. As you are savouring this joy of this occasion, it is our prayer that God Almighty strengthens you so that you can continue working for the betterment of this state in particular and Nigeria in general,” Ajimobi prayed.
In their separate remarks, Governors Akeredolu, Aregbesola and Amosun said history has already recorded the celebrant as having found ways were there none and created opportunities for humanity where many did not see.
Gov. Akeredolu said: “We are here to celebrate your consistency in politics. You remain in the progressive family and today, you remain strong in the Afenifere Renewal Group. You did not work only for the Afenifere Renewal Group, but made a mark in APC in the South-West.”
In a similar tribute, Aregbesola, represented by his SSG, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti said: “You are one of the rare breeds of a pathfinder, saying they were celebrating him for his various contributions politically, adding that Chief Afolabi has impacted heavily on humanity.
Gov. Amosun, represented by his deputy, Chief (Mrs) Onanuga, in his comment, prayed for longer life for the celebrant, just as he expressed the wish that his vision for the Afenifere would continue to blossom.
The Governor, who rejoiced with the celebrant, noted that he has been a long standing member of APC, who did not deviate.
While extolling the virtues of the celebrant, the Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr Kayode Fayemi described Chief Afolabi as being dear to them, saying that there was no other way to celebrate him than to say he is a good person.
“He is very humble and unassuming. I’m a beneficiary of his generosity. He assisted me in the completion of my house in Ibadan,“ adding that he has done so well for him, his family and the party, APC.
While responding to various tributes in his honour, Chief Afolabi said his joy knew no bounds, as he witnessed his 70th birthday on earth, adding that he would continue to live his remaining life for humanity.
He further expressed appreciation to all associates and well-wishers for converging to celebrate with him despite tight schedule, while he said the celebration afforded him the opportunity to reflect on his life in the last seventy years and to forge ahead in his avowed commitment to service to humanity.