By Richard Thomas, Ibadan
Dignitaries and top government functionaries from all walks of life on Wednesday converged in Ibadan to honour the late former governor of Oyo State, Otunba Christopher Adebayo Alao Akala in a colourful lying-in-state programme.
Wives of the late governor, Chief Mrs Florence Alao Akala, Chief Mrs Oluwakemi Alao Akala, the entire family and children who were clad in colourful attires, after observing the national and the state anthems accompanied the Ebony casket bearers into the House of Chiefs where the programme was held.
Otunba Alao-Akala died in his Ogbomoso home on January 12, 2022.
The occasion was a gathering of the creme de la creme in the society. The hall, used for the programme was filled to capacity, while a large canopy was erected outside the hall with large screen monitor to accommodate other guests.
In his speech, Governor Seyi Makinde who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Rauf Olaniyan assured the immediate family of the late former governor of his support at any time they call for it.
Makinde described Alao-Akala as a man of many parts, and a leader with impeccable character and quality records.
According to him, Otunba Alao Akala has registered his good name on the sand of time, adding that his legacy will continue to live on.
“Otunba Alao Akala ruled the state with the fear of God. He also served the people meritoriously and with dignity.
“One thing that is unique about him was his humility and love for the people, as well as his penchant to help and touch lives of the poor. All of these and many more qualified him as a man with a large heart,” Makinde said.
In his tribute, eldest son of the deceased, Olamijuwon Alao-Akala described his father as a role model and a leader who truly loved his people.
He said the demise of his father has left a great vacuum in the family, assuring that the legacy he left behind would continue to guide the family in the right path of life.
Also speaking, Ambassador Taoreed Oladejo Arapaja, who was deputy to the late Alao-Akala extolled the virtues of the late former governor, just as he described him as a leader who had passion to assist his people.
“I first came in contact with my late boss during the issues on the second term ticket then, a development which had to do with his emergence as the deputy governor to former governor Rashidi Ladoja.
“He was a man of destiny, a true leader who really impacted into the people. Otunba Alao Akala came, he saw and he conquered.
“He will forever be remembered for the great legacies he left in the state. I pray God Almighty will give the family the fortitude to bear the loss,” he said.
Dignitaries who read their tributes at programme included the Speaker, Hon. Adebo Ogundoyin, Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Olubanwo Adeosun, Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Prof. Oyelowo Oyewo and many others.