By Aliyu DANLADI
Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has described the sudden death of Alhaji Taofeek Oyerinde, the state’s Chairman of the National Union of Road and Transport Workers(NURTW), as depressing and tragic.
This was contained in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy, Mr Bolaji Tunji, and made available to newsmen on Tuesday.
Oyerinde, popularly known as ‘Fele,’ died at Zenith Medical Kidney Hospital, Abuja, on Tuesday afternoon.
TBI Africa report that Oyerinde, until his death, was also the South West Chairman of NURTW.
The governor said he received the news of Oyerinde’s death with a heavy heart and utter disbelief.
Ajimobi also described the death of the NURTW chairman as a huge loss to the family, the state and the South West Zone. He said that he was particularly pained because he had lost a dependable ally and purveyor of peace.
The governor said that he was proud of Oyerinde’s emergence as the South West NURTW Chairman.
Ajimobi stated that his emergence was in recognition of his sterling leadership ability and propagation of peace as well as orderliness among the drivers. “I am greatly saddened by the passing away of Fele. It is very unfortunate and disheartening. He has over time proved to be a dependable ally in our administration’s quest to restore peace to the land.
“That the motor parks across the state are rancour and violence-free today can be partly attributed to his yeoman efforts to whip errant and rapacious drivers into line.
“He commands respect among the drivers for his sterling leadership qualities. His death is indeed a big loss, not only to his family but also to the NURTW nationwide and the entire people of Ibadanland.
“May the Almighty grant the family and loved ones the fortitude to bear this great loss.
“I urge members to respect the new directive of the union’s national leadership which appointed his deputy, Alhaji Abideen Olajide, as acting chairman,” he said.
The governor urged them to respect the decision and go about their lawful activities without rancour.
“I enjoin the good people of Oyo State to be vigilant around the motor parks and report any act capable of breaching the public peace without delay.
“May Allah repose the gentle soul of the deceased and grant him the highest place in Jannah,’’ he said.
Ajimobi sued for calm and admonished the NURTW leadership in the state to eschew violence and leadership tussle at this time, stressing that members must maintain sobriety in honour of the deceased.
TBI Africa recalls that the news of Oyerinde’s death was broken by the National President of NURTW, Alhaji Najeem Yasin.
Yasin, who spoke from Saudi Arabia, confirmed that Oyerinde died at the Zenith Medical Kidney Hospital in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said: “With a heavy heart, I announce the death of one of the leaders of this union, who was the Oyo State chairman, Alhaji Taofeek Oyerinde, popularly known as Fele.
“Oyerinde, who is also the South West Chairman of the Union, died this afternoon at Zenith Medical Kidney Hospital, Abuja.
“I am talking to you from Saudi Arabia. I am in Minna, Saudi Arabia, when he died and was the first person the hospital informed about his death,” he said.
Yasin said the corpse of the late Oyo NURTW boss was already in transit to his Elebu, Ibadan residence, where he would be buried between 9 and 10 am on Wednesday.
He prayed that God forgives his sins and grant the family the fortitude to bear the sudden loss. The NURTW president also approved the appointment of his deputy as the acting chairman, urging members to cooperate with him.
It would be recalled that Oyerinde became the Oyo State NURTW chairman months after the emergence of Ajimobi in 2011.