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Former Minister, Ex-First Bank Chair, Dies At 82



Former Minister, Ex-First Bank Chair, Dies At 82

-I’ve Lost A Mentor, Respected Nigerian, Says Senator Alli

A former Minister of Labour and Productivity during the Chief Ernest Sonekan’s Interim National Government (ING), Prince Ajibola Afonja, is dead. He passed on Sunday night at the University Teaching Hospital (UCH), Ibadan at 82.

Sadly, the former Chairman of First Bank and native of Oyo Town in Oyo State, died following a reported minor injuries he sustained from a lone accident he was involved in at Ilora Town, a suburb of Oyo Town.

Mourning and confirming the sudden death, the Chairman of Oyo Global Forum (OGF), Taiwo Adebayo, described the deceased as a community leader and industrialist par excellence, adding that the whole Oyo Town will feel the great loss.

His tributes: “On this dark day in Oyo, we mourn the loss of Prince Ajibola Afonja, former Labour Minister and Chairman of First Bank Nigeria, who passed away on Sunday night, aged 82. Although a national figure with tremendous influence, he was particularly a light for the Oyo community where he made pioneering efforts as an industrialist. His legacy of generosity and open-heartedness touched countless lives, and his presence will be profoundly missed.

“Until his last moment, Daddy IDS, as he was affectionately known, as a reference to his manufacturing company, remained hardworking, dedicated to realizing one of the most transformative business visions for the country’s economy. It was the E-Customs project.

“His absence leaves a void that will be difficult to fill, but his spirit of generosity and leadership will continue to inspire us. For all of us that he inspired, we shall honor his memory by carrying forward the values he embodied and continuing his legacy of service and compassion, the values that guide OGF, which he supported during his lifetime.

“We extend our deepest condolences to his family, the entire Oyo community, and friends and associates throughout the world during this time of mourning,” Adebayo said.

Similarly, Senator Sharafadeen Alli (APC-Oyo South) has mourned the death of his mentor, Prince Sulaiman Ajibola Afonja, whom he described as “a mentor, father, distinguished personality and former Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria”.

According to a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen on Monday, Alli said that Prince Afonja’s passing marks the end of an era for many who knew him personally, adding that “his contributions to Nigeria and the financial industry were invaluable”.

Alli said that the late Afonja’s leadership at the First Bank of Nigeria and Minister were marked by innovation, integrity, and unwavering commitment to excellence which left lasting impact on the institution and the broader financial landscape in Nigeria.

The lawmaker said that Afonja’s death has sent shockwaves through the community, recalling his significant contributions to the banking sector, philanthropic causes and Nigeria. He described Afonja as “a mentor, philanthropist, visionary leader and pillar of the community”.