Last moments of ex-Kwara Deputy Governor Ogundeji

...he watched football till 11pm before he passed on – Aide ...he'll be dearly missed – Saraki ... Kwarans condole, pay tributes ...I pray God to comfort his family – AbdulRazaq

Kwarans heard the death of Chief Joel Afolabi Ogundeji, the former Deputy Governor of Kwara State, with a shock.

Ogundeji, a seasoned politician, civil servant and educationists, was the deputy governor during the administration of Dr. Bukola Saraki as Governor of Kwara State.

Following the announcement of his death, Kwarans across walks of life have expressed reactions over his death as confirmed by National Pilot.

Speaking with our reporter on Sunday, a close aide, who was also Special Assistant to the former deputy governor, Elder Sunday Oladiji, described the late Ogundeji as an impeccable character.

According to him, “the late Joel Ogundeji was full of lives until his death on Thursday as he was not sick at all”.

“His death came as a shock to me. Chief Joel Ogundeji was like a father to me. Since my boyhood, I had known him to be a man of high integrity when he was even at his prime.

“He lived an exemplary life worthy of emulation. He was a man who loved people even our community,” Oladiji said.

He added that the late former deputy governor was agile, full of life till death and wasn’t on sick bed at all.

“He was not sick. A day before his demise, he attended a meeting of Old Students Association of Igbaja Teachers College at Gaa-Akanbi.

“After then, he went to newspaper stand to catch clip on the news and he returned to his house. He watched football match on television till 11 pm that day in his house.

“At that age, one would not totally oust the likelihood of minor ailments, but he was not bedridden. He had cold about a month thereabout and he asked me to buy him drug. After then we have had many times together,” he affirmed.

The former Special Adviser further revealed that the late Ogundeji was about to celebrate his 80th birthday alongside public unveiling of an autobiography book in his honor by November this year.

“He was about to celebrate his 80th birthday. He clocked 80 last year, but Covid-19 halted it. An autobiography book is about to be launched in his honor by November 6.

“We thank God for his life, he lived a fulfilled life. He had touched so many lives in diverse ways. He was not tired of doing good.

“The people of Kwara state will miss him a lot. They would miss someone who would not hold grudge. An administrator per excellent. He had an impeccable record as a civil servant. He was described as the most loyal deputy governor of his time,”Oladiji stressed.

He however said the burial right for the late former deputy governor will be announced later in the year as family members are yet to meet.

Meanwhile, the resident of the late former Deputy Governor of Kwara State, Chief Joel Afolabi Ogundeji has been besieged by sympathizers, friends and former colleagues of the deceased who have been signing the condolence register in different forms. Among these people are:

– Alhaji (Hon) Abdulakeem Ilobu, former PDP Secretary in the State, who wrote: May the soul of Chief Afolabi Ogundeji rest in peace.

– Sir Leye Olawepo: Sir, rest in perfect peace. You have gratefully registered Igbomina people well in government. You left without any dent or blemish.

I am very proud of you. Once again, rest in peace. Bye Daddy Chief Ogundeji.

– Saka Isau (SAN): May God bless your gentle soul.

– Alhaji Waheed Idiagbon: Rest in peace.

– RT (Hon) Isa Bio Ibrahim: A man of peace, humility, honour and integrity.

Working with you 2003-2011 was rewarding and inspirational. You are an embodiment of loyalty and service to our dear state. May your soul rest in peace.

– HRM, J. J. Aina the Asolo of Onigbede: Good night papa. A titan is gone. Rest in peace.

– Tunde Fadipe (Council Chairman, Isin Local Government Area): On behalf of all of us at the council, we sincerely appreciate the presence of Baba in Isin and his generous contributions towards the development of Isin.

His contributions to the entire politics and promotion of Is in ethics and value will be eternally remembered.

– Alhaji Yayaha Damboy, Escort Pilot (Retired); May the lord keep you in eternal glory. You are so good and one who always wishes his children progress.

– Mr. Olufemi Thomas: It is so heart breaking to hear that you are gone, but we take solace in God that you are presently with God till we meet to part no more.

– Isin Community: Wish to pay our condolences to the family of our father and ground father, Chief Ogundeji.

The lord will comfort you and the entire Isin Community at large.

– Banji Adebami: Baba you have greatly served the entire community and other humans with the help of God Almighty.

Also, the Immediate-past President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has commiserated with the people of Kwara State over the death of Chief Joel Ogundeji, who served as Kwara Deputy Governor between 2003 and 2011.

In a statement from the Abubakar Bukola Saraki Media Office, signed by Olu Onemola Saraki described ogundeji’s death as a great loss to the state, particularly at this time, when the wisdom and experience of senior stakeholders were needed to steer the ship of the state.

“I am extremely sad and heartbroken to learn about the passing of Chief Joel Ogundeji, who served as Deputy Governor, during the eight years of my tenure as the Governor of Kwara State.

“Throughout his life, which was dedicated to the service of his community, our state and the country, Chief Ogundeji was a steadfast, reliable and experienced leader and educator, whose commitment to the development of our state and its people was undeniable in both his words and action.

“During our time in the Governor’s Office, Chief Ogundeji’s advice, particularly in dealing with issues concerning the bureaucracy, education sector, and traditional institutions were invaluable. He was also a diligent and loyal deputy, who, despite his age, kept up with the fast-pace with which the administration moved in tackling the challenges of the time.

“As we mourn the passing of this great Kwaran, I pray that Almighty God comforts his wife, Mrs. Comfort Ogundeji, and his children; the people of Iwo in Isin LGA; and the entire government and people of Kwara State. He will be dearly missed,” Saraki said. Following Saraki’s election as the candidate of the PDP in the 2003 gubernatorial election, Chief Ogundeji was nominated to run alongside Saraki as his deputy.

Ogundeji, who was a devout Christian and a party leader from Iwo, in Isin Local Government Area, was also a senior education officer in four post primary educational institutions between 1970 and 1995.

The late deputy governor was also a career officer in the Kwara State Civil Service from which he voluntarily retired in May 1993 as the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics in the Local Government Service Commission.

He was the Chairman/Administrator of Irepodun Local government, Omu-Aran between June 1986 and December 1987. He also served at Edu LGA in Lafiaji as the Secretary of the council between January 1988 and June 1990.

In a related development, the Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara state has also mourned the death of former Deputy Governor of the state Joel Ogundeji, praying God to repose his soul and comfort the family.

In a statement on Thursday, the governor said: “I send my heartfelt condolences to the family of the late deputy governor on this painful, yet inevitable transition. I urge the family to take solace in his life of moderation, his footprints as a public servant, and the impacts that he had on his people and the community.

“I pray the Almighty God to grant repose to the soul of the former deputy governor and comfort the entire family and the people of Isin Local Government of Kwara State.”

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