The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, has said that late Prof. Festus Iyayi will be missed for his contributions to the academic community, workers movement and Nigeria’s pro-democracy movement.
In a condolence message signed by Maku and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, the minister condoled with the family, friends and relatives of the deceased.
It stated that death had robbed Nigeria of one of Africa’s most fertile minds and a devoted advocate for Africa’s renaissance.
“I received with utter shock and disbelief the sad news of the sudden death in an auto crash of one of Nigeria’s foremost patriots and literary icons, Prof. Festus Iyayi.
“His death coming so close after the demise of Prof. Chinua Achebe; the incidence has robbed Nigeria, Africa and indeed the entire literary world of two outstanding giants, who made distinctive contributions to Africa’s literature”, Maku said.
The statement extolled the qualities and exemplary life that the late Iyayi, “who lived and died for particularly the cause of democracy in Nigeria and in Africa”.
It stated: “Festus Iyayi lived his life fighting for a better Nigeria. In his entire academic and literary career, he was totally and completely devoted to national service.
“He was never one of those scholars seen at the corridors of power seeking favours; he devoted his life to scholarship and active struggle for the democratisation and transformation of Nigeria”.
The statement, which described Iyayi as a personal friend to the Information Minister, said that Iyayi’s interest and devotion to Nigeria and Africa never waned for a moment.
It stated that the memory of Iyayi’s contributions and ideas would continue to guide those he left behind and future generations in the service of the nation and humanity.
Prof. Festus Iyayi died in an auto crash in Lokoja on Monday.
He was on his way to attend a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of ASUU scheduled to take place in Kano. (NAN)