Prominent Nigerians, including President Muhammadu Buhar, the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinmubu, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi among others have paid tributes to the founder of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasehun, 83, who died yesterday at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.
In his condolence message, Buhari, through his spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina recalled how Fasehun used the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) to fight against military dictatorship.
“President Buhari recalls the prominent role Dr. Fasehun played as a member of the defunct NADECO, which campaigned against military rule in the country. The President prays that Almighty God comforts all those who mourn the octogenarian and grant peace to his soul”, the statement reads partly,” said Buhari.
For Tinubu, the late OPC founder was a “renowned pro-democracy”, “good governance activist”, “committed democrat”, “tested political player” and Yoruba nationalist.”
In a statement from his media office and signed by Tunde Rahman, the APC chieftain said: “He (Fasehun) was known for his Yoruba nationalistic fervour. Like an Afenifere chieftain that he was, he fought stridently for the Yoruba cause. He canvassed true federalism and political restructuring. He fought as well for the cause of the Nigerian nation.
“The good thing about baba is there was never a time that he sat on the fence. Although trained as a medical doctor, he was very active politically. We were together in the forefront of the agitation for the de-annulment of June 12. He founded the OPC to actualise June 12 but espoused non-violence.
“He was an extremely humble and modest man. I will miss him dearly. The South-West, particularly Lagos and Ondo states, will miss him. Nigeria will miss him also,” he said.
The Ooni of Ife also condoled with the family of the deceased describing his death a “huge loss to the Yoruba all over the world.”
Ogunwusi in a statement signed by his spokesman, Mr. Moses Olafare said: “The Arole Oduduwa while performing his official functions as the Chancellor at the 48th Convocation Ceremony of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in Enugu on Saturday morning received the news of the elder statesman and the leader of the OPC, Dr Frederick Fasheun’s death, with a rude shock.
“Baba Ooni sees Dr Fasheun a true pan-African, a fearless Nigeria nationalist and committed Yoruba patriot who as an oodua self-determinationist spent the last 26 years of his life struggling for the survival of the Yoruba people within Nigeria.”
“It’s a pity we have lost such a wonderful descendant of Oduduwa who always defended and promoted the interests, integrity and the cultural values of the African people and the Yoruba race in particular.’’
For the governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, late Fasehun fought a good fight.
In a statement signed by his chief press secretary, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, the governor said: “We have lost another strong pillar of our democratic struggles. Dr. Fasehun would do anything to defend the rights of his people against any act of tyranny and oppression.
“He fought a good fight as a frontline leader in the struggle for the democracy we now enjoy. He challenged and encouraged many of the younger generation with the way he fought for democracy with all his energy and resources.
“We shall sorely miss his amiable personality, simplicity, wisdom and courage. But we are encouraged by the fact that he fought a good fight and left behind a good name and a legacy of selfless service that is worthy of emulation.”
For its part, the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, the deceased was prominent Yoruba and Nigerian citizen who dedicated his life to the service of humanity.