The Afenifere Renewal Group on Friday mourned the passing of one of its key members, Dipo Famakinwa, the pioneer Director-General of Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, DAWN, Commission.
In a statement jointly signed by its chairman, Olawale Oshun, and secretary, Ayo Afolabi, the ARG described Mr. Famakinwa’s death as a huge loss to the group, the southwest region, and Yoruba people.
Mr. Famakinwa died on Friday morning.
Mr. Famakinwa’s organisation was responsible for designing and implementing the blueprint for better integration and governance of the six south-western states.
The statement further described the deceased as a simple-minded passionate believer in the wellbeing and social development of the ordinary citizen, a cause for which he, it added, left his thriving private business to serve.
According to the statement, the ARG in pursuit of its objective to re-enact the development-focused and welfarist minded philosophies of the Obafemi Awolowo era midwifed two major institutions – the Yoruba Academy and DAWN Commission.
“The DAWN Agenda may have remained a document on the shelves, like many of such in Nigeria but Famakinwa, following the adoption of the Commission by the Southwest governors, worked hard to give life to it and nurtured the seed to a blossoming tree that is now the model and go-to place as far as regional integration in Nigeria is concerned,” the statement said.
“The renewed fervour by Southwest states regarding regional integration and cooperation, which has led to smooth cooperation among Southwest governors, is largely due to the work put in by the DAWN Commission under Famakinwa’s leadership.
“We take solace in the fact that he has written his name in the golden pages of our history. We in ARG and millions of other Yoruba people across the world will not forget his contributions to the development of our people.”
In his reaction, the Osun State Governor said Mr. Famakinwa’s sudden exit has left a sour taste in the mouths of all stakeholders in the development agenda for the south-west.
In a statement by the Director, Bureau of Communication and Strategy in the Office of the Governor, Semiu Okanlawon, Mr. Aregbesola said the deceased played a pivotal role in the efforts to integrate the south-west and use the platform to engender a new growth for the people of the region.
“We are left speechless with this sudden loss,” Mr. Aregbesola was quoted as stating.
“Famakinwa has been very dogged in the pursuit of that assignment given to him. He was committed wholeheartedly to the progress of the Yoruba. Through the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, we have moved to accelerate regional revolutionary growth to rediscover our strength as a people of common heritage through agriculture, culture, education, and even sports development.
“Since the birth of that organisation, Famakinwa has left no one in doubt on his comprehensive understanding of what we set out to do and the zeal with which he pursued the assignment has been commendable.”
The governor said it is painful that the late Director General of DAWN did not live long enough to see the objectives of the organization come into full fruition before his untimely exit.
“We are however consoled by the fact that Famakinwa did his best to raise the consciousness of this region. We are also consoled by the fact that death is a necessary end and must come when it is its time. On behalf of the good people of the State of Osun, I commiserate with his immediate and extended families, members of the DAWN Commission family, my colleague governors and other stakeholders in the development agenda of our region. May the soul of Famakinwa rest with his Lord perfectly.”