Friday, November 4, 2016 3:04 pm
Pa Ajayi was born in Isara Remo on April 8, 1925 to Mr. Benjamin Ajayi, a farmer and Mariam Efundolamu, who traded in farm produce.
He had his early education at Islamic Primary School, Epe.
After spending only three months there, he later enrolled into a primary school in Ode Remo, Ogun State, in 1937 where completed his primary education.
Ajayi was engaged by the school as a teacher in the same school because of his brilliance, but later went to read law.
His law chamber is one of the most successful in Nigeria.
While mourning the loss of the political titan, Lagos Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, said the late Ajayi was a frontline politician who was passionate about the progress of the Yoruba nation and Nigeria at large.
“Papa was one of the few surviving close associates of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo. After Chief Awolowo’s death, he was a consistent advocate for the struggle to see Nigeria achieve the dreams of her founding fathers.
“He was very passionate about the progress of Nigeria, he was an intellectual genius who had an enthusiasm for the development of his immediate community and the country at large.
“I recall my last meeting with him just about three months ago at the residence of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“It was like a premonition. He had admonished all of us to give him a long lasting legacy and ensure that the Yoruba hegemony is not trampled upon and tarnished.
“This wish of his, as a great Nigerian statesman, and true son of Yoruba land, we are committed to uphold and to cherish,” the Governor said.
The Governor also noted that Pa Olaniwun Ajayi’s law firm which was established in 1962 grew from being a sole practitionership to become one of the largest and open partnerships in Sub-Saharan Africa and in its five decades of existence, held briefs for various corporate organisations and the government at both the federal and state levels.
“There was virtually no sector in Nigeria that Pa Ajayi’s law firm was not prominent. His law firm in no time became one of the most sought after full-service legal practices in Africa,” the Governor said.
Ambode prayed that Almighty God would grant the soul of the departed peaceful repose and for the family, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
“I wish to convey my deepest condolences to the family of the deceased, on behalf of the people of Lagos State. Pa Ajayi will be sorely missed”, Governor Ambode said.
In its own tribute, Afenifere said it received the passage of its oldest member with mixed feelings.
“We are joyful that in a country with life expectancy of 53, Papa made it to 91 aging graciously and in good health till the last 24 hours of life when he had to be hospitalised for some health complication.
“We are however sad that his exit has robbed the group of the wealth of experience of a philosopher,prolific writer and memory bag that is irreplaceable.
“One remarkable trait of his life was his consistency in the Awolowo political family where he put almost 70 years of dedicated service as a lieutenant of the sage and one of his worthy successors after his transition.
“He had a sense of history and lived his life deliberately to make impact on his environment.
“Either in Afenifere, the National Democratic Coalition, The Patriots and the Methodist Church where he was a Knight, he left his indelible footprints on the sand of time.
“The last days of his life were spent in worries over the state of affairs in Yorubaland in particular and in Nigeria at large. He was not just lamenting but he was taking practical steps to find verb for our noun in the syntax of human experience.
“It is hoped that all those involved in such intervention would keep those efforts on as a memorial for this worthy son of Oduduwa.
“The great man of sound intellect may not have much good news for AWO as they meet in yonder but the seeds he planted in the last moments of his life must grow to trees that would bear the fruits of freedom.
“While waiting for burial arrangements from the family for the good man of sartorial elegance,it is a promise that we shall pay his shade the right due.
“Our heartfelt condolences to the good family he has left behind and it is our prayer that the Lord will take his place in their lives,” Afenifere said in its statement signed by Yinka Odumakin, its National Publicity Secretary.