It was a simple yet exciting final journey home as many dignitaries from far and near converged on the Vaults and Garden, Ikoyi, to bid farewell to the late Alhaji Ademola Ibrahim Fashola, father of Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola.
The late Alhaji Fashola died on Monday at the age of 80.
His final journey began at his 31, Ladipo Labinjo Street, Surulere, Lagos home where personalities gathered for the lying-in-state which held at the Surulere Senior Secondary School, opposite the late Fashola’s home.
At the ceremony were Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Chief Rasak Okoya, Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas, Alhaji Lateef Okunnu, Otunba Subomi Balogun, Surulere Council boss, Tajudeen Ajide, Kayode Opeifa, Joe Igbokwe, Onigbongbo LCDA boss, Babatunde Oke, representatives of Arewa and Ndigbo, Service Chiefs and members of the State Executive Council, members of the Eko Club, among others.
From the lying-in-state, the entourage proceeded to the Central Mosque in Obalende where prayers were offered.
A Mercedez Benz M350 4matic car belonging to MIC Funerals with the inscription, “Alhaji Demola Fashola”, conveyed the body to the mosque.
Governor Fashola, who was accompanied by his siblings and relations, were all dressed in white lace material with orange stripped caps.
Late Pa Fashola’s body was interred in a newly-built marble-carved tomb, close to the final resting place of late Iyaloja General and mother of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Dr. Abibat Mogaji.
At the burial ground, Imams from the Lagos Central Mosque, led by the Chief Imam of Lagos, Alhaji Akinola Garuba, prayed for the repose of the soul of the departed.
In a brief session with reporters after the interment, Governor Fashola thanked Lagosians for the overwhelming show of love towards his family.
He said: “I thank everybody, who has rallied round the family from yesterday morning before I returned from Saudi Arabia. The heart-pouring of love from all Nigerians, from Mr. President, who called persistently until he got through to me; he sent his representative today, the Honourable Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, and my brother governors, the imams, the ordinary men and women and everybody. Thank you very much.
“This was a painful way for us and for you to show how much you love us, but we really appreciate you. Our gratitude is deep and immense and we can never fully express it.”
Recalling the virtues of his late father, the governor said he was an all encompassing gentleman who lived a simple life and loved his children.
He said: “I think that for all of us his children, he was first and foremost our friend, he was our best friend. So, this is what we will really miss. Our father was a very loving friend, who allowed us to be the best that we could; he allowed us to be what we want to be, guiding and nudging, but never discriminated and that’s why he had children that were Christians, Muslims, children who are Europeans, children who are married across all Nigeria.
“I think these have fully captured his life. I doubt if there was any person who did not have enemies, it must be my father because he just got on with life. He didn’t discriminate in any position he found himself; good, comfortable, painful, he just got on. I learnt so many things from him and most of these things is who I am today and who I try to be and I hope that I can be as rounded in integrity, humble in his attitude to life and fully committed in all situations as he was.”
The governor thanked God for the significant timing of his father’s passing because “he died in the month of Ramadan”.
“He died on the night of majesty. We had just finished Lailatu Quadri prayers in Mecca and, for me, God is great because if God gave him the opportunity to choose how he would go, and when, he couldn’t have chosen the day he went. It was such a great time. We thank God.”
The governor had his counterparts from Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Ekiti, Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Rivers, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi in attendance.
Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Hon Bolaji Abdullahi, represented President Goodluck Jonathan. Former Governor of Cross River, Donald Duke, former Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji and Chief Ayo Akande were there.
Also in attendance were Mr. Akin Kekere-Ekun, Otunba Alabi Mc-Coy, Alhaji Lateef Salako, Alhaji Moshood Ojikutu, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chief Molade Okoya-Thomas, Senators Gbenga Ashafa and Femi Ojodu, Chairman of Eleganza Group, Chief Rasak Okoya and renowned lawyer, Alhaji Femi Okunnu. Ogun State Deputy Governor Mr. Segun Adesegun, members of the State Executive Council, members of the House of Assembly, members of the House of Representatives, Nollywood stars, clerics and members of the Diplomatic Corps, among others, were also there.