The sudden and shocking death of Punch chairman, Wale Aboderin on Thursday has triggered a flood of condolences and tributes from President Muhammadu Buhari, many prominent Nigerians, including the Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO), led by Prince Nduka Obaigbena.
The NPO, consisting of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), said it was saddened by the news of the untimely death of the Chairman of the Punch Group of Newspapers.
“Wale , a consummate sport enthusiast, was jovial, amiable and easy going. His death is a big blow, not just to the Punch Group, but to the entire media landscape of Nigeria and Africa”, said Obaigbena on Thursday.
“We offer our condolences to the Aboderin family and the Punch Group”, Obaigbena added.
President Buhari had led the outpouring of condolences in a statement by Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, in Abuja on Thursday.
President Buhari commiserated with all members of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the media and sports industry in the country on the death of the respected entrepreneur and philanthropist.
The President believed that Aboderin, who was greatly admired by his peers in the media and sports industry, would be long remembered for his resourcefulness, managerial proficiency and invaluable contributions to the growth of these sectors.
National leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has huge investments in the media, described Aboderin’s death as a huge loss to the media and sports world.
Tinubu commiserated with the Aboderin family in a condolence letter, released by his Media Officer, Mr Tunde Rahman, on Thursday in Lagos.
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Chairman of Punch Newspapers, we lost Wale at a rather young age when we still needed him to continue to be with us.
“At 60, he still had a lot to offer us but within those three scores though, he made appreciable impact and touched and changed lives.
“As Chairman of Punch, taking over from his uncle, the actuary, Chief Ajibola Ogunsola, Wale continued to maintain and sustain the excellent journalism Punch is noted for, ensuring that the newspaper remains where it should be.
“Though he trained as a pilot, he was also a sports enthusiast. He particularly loved basketball to the point that he floated Dolphins Female Basketball Foundation.
“He was at one time the Chairman of our Basketball Association in Lagos.
“His death is a huge loss to the Aboderin family, both immediate and extended. The media and sports worlds, which he traversed and impacted positively, have also lost an outstanding partner.
“My deep sympathy and condolences to his wife and two children. I mourn with the Aboderin family, the Punch Newspaper, the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria and the media generally.
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar described the death of Aboderin as hearth breaking.
He condoled with the immediate Aboderin family in particular; the media, especially the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and the teeming lovers of Punch newspapers worldwide.
“In today’s world, 60 years is too young an age for anyone to pass on with their lofty dreams.
“Aboderin’s untimely departure is certainly heartbreaking: painful to the family, a monumental loss to the fourth estate of the realm and the nation at large,” Abubakar said.
The former Vice President noted that the deceased had been in the vanguard of sustaining the vision of his late father and founder of the Punch group of newspapers.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan also described late Aboderin a great Nigerian.
Ologbondiyan said Aboderin was a quintessential administrator and very ingenious entrepreneur, who committed his resources towards the development of Nigeria.
He said Aboderin’s legacy in publishing a credible news medium of the status of the Punch Newspapers remained an indelible mark in the history and development of journalism in Nigeria.
“Aboderin was widely known for his philanthropy and sports enthusiasm.
“He played key role in the development of sports in Nigeria including as founder and chairman of the Dolphins Female Basketball Foundation as well as the former chairman of the Lagos, State Basketball Association.”
Mr. Gbadebowale Wayne Aboderin, died early today after a heart surgery at the First Cardiology Consultants, Ikoyi, Lagos. He was 60 years old.
He attended the Government College, Ibadan and trained as a pilot in the United States.
He was also Chairman Punch Commercial Printing Limited and Lukahed Properties Limited.
He was a one-time vice-president of the Nigerian Basketball Supporters Club.
He is survived by his wife, Titilayo, and children.