PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida (IBB), governors of Ogun, Oyo and Ekiti states, former Senate President David Mark and other notable dignitaries, yesterday, paid tributes to former military governor of Oyo State, Brigadier General Adetunji Idowu Olurin, who died at Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), aged 78.
A statement signed by his son, Mr. Babatunde Olurin, said he died after a brief illness on Friday. The statement added that the family, though grieved, remained grateful to God because the late Brig.-Gen led a good life. The President, in a condolence message by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, joined family, friends and professional colleagues in mourning the military officer.
He noted that late Olurin served the country meritoriously in his career, extending support when he was called upon as military governor in Oyo state, and later as administrator in Ekiti and was also outstanding as ECOMOG Commander in Liberia.
Buhari extoled Olurin’s efforts in community development, particularly in his state, Ogun, willingly putting his experience and knowledge at the service of various governments.
The statement of Babangida titled, ‘General IBB mourns The Passing of Brigadier General Tunji Olurin, read, “My Family and I have today received with grave shock the news of the passing of one of Nigeria’s highly dedicated, committed and competent Army Officer, Brigadier – General Adetunji Idowu Ishola Olurin.
“Tunji was a very close confidante and a Military Officer whose sterling qualities of competence and loyalty were identified by me and my other military colleagues. As a result of this he was found roundly qualified to be given a position of public trust. He was posted first as the Military Governor of Oyo State after which he was posted as the GOC of 3Armoured Division Jos. He was also the Field Commander in the ECOMOG Peace Keeping Force in Liberia. President Olusegun Obasanjo later appointed him as the Sole Administrator of Ekiti State after the declaration of a State of Emergency in Ekiti State.
“I have known Tunji as a fine Officer and Gentleman who will be missed by his Family, friends, associates and all of us whose lives he touched very closely in more ways than one while on national assignment and as a friend and committed ally.
“I wish to convey my heartfelt condolences to his Family and the Nigerian Army on the passing of this gallant Officer Gentleman”.
Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun expressed shock over the news of the death of Olurin, who he described as a gallant military officer and astute administrator, adding that his death occurred at a time the country and Ogun State needed his security expertise in tackling various security challenges confronting the nation.
“General Olurin of the popular Olurin Family in Ilaro, Yewa South Local Government Area of the state served Nigeria and ECOWAS in many capacities. I pray the Almighty God rest his soul, forgive his shortcomings and grant his family members fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss,” Abiodun said. Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the late former Sole Administrator of Ekiti State fought for a united Nigeria and added that he was a committed military officer.
Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, who said Olurin helped to stabilise Ekiti during the six-month emergency rule, described the late General as a selfless statesman, courageous soldier and an altruistic patriot who served his country diligently while in active service and during his retirement.
Oyo State Governor ‘Seyi Makinde, described the death of the late former MILAD as painful, stating: “It is sunset for another great man and one of the first set of leaders that providence gave to Oyo State at its earliest stage. Through the efforts and contributions of Gen. Olurin and other leaders, the foundation for the shaping of the Pacesetter State, which has become a first among equals, was successfully laid.”
David Mark said that with the death of Olurin, he has lost a colleague and course mate. Mark, who shed tears as he expressed deep sorrow over his death, lamented, “I have lost a brother and comrade-in-arms”.
A former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Senator Solomon Adeola and Prince Gboyega Isiaka described Olurin’s death as a big loss to Ogun and Nigeria.
Daniel, in a press statement, said Olurin was an eminent statesman and a disciplined officer who served Nigeria and Ogun with grace and candour.
Adeola, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, said Olurin was “a true patriot and a nationalist”. Senator Ibikunle Amosun, in a condolence message, said, “Gen. Olurin lived a fulfilled life and left behind fond memories and enviable legacies. It is my prayer that the good Lord will grant him eternal rest and give the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”
Another indigene of Ogun, Prince Gboyega Isiaka, who was the governorship candidate for the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the 2019 polls in Ogun, stated that Olurin dedicated his life to the service of humanity, as a consummate military officer whose intervention in crucial national assignments left indelible footprints on the sands of time. Olurin’s running mate in the 2011 governorship election, Tunde Oladunjoye, said Olurin served Nigeria well.