The Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday paid tributes to the late former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Olugbenga Ashiru, who passed away in South Africa on November 29.
Those present at the Council Chamber wore sad faces during the session while the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Adesina Akinwunmi, could not hold back tears when it got to his turn to pay tribute to his late former colleague.
A motion to observe a minute silence in honour of the deceased was moved by the Supervising Minister of Information, Nurudeen Muhammed.
In his tribute, President Jonathan said: “Initially I couldn’t link his name to the man I had met in South Africa. He did very well as a foreign minister. We were able to stabilise Niger and some other crises within the sub region when I was chair, ECOWAS Heads of State and Governments. He helped Nigeria move from being competitors to friends with other countries.
“He was a likeable character and good diplomat. A dedicated civil servant, committed, and patriotic. God knows why he took him at a time his services were still needed by the country. We condole his family, Ijebu Ode, Ogun State and Nigeria at large”.
Vice President, Namadi Sambo said: “His death came to me with a great shock. He was a gentleman and experienced diplomat who served the country very well. He contributed immensely towards cementing our relations with many countries of the world”.
On his part, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, said: “Ashiru was a man of high sense of patriotism and polite dignity. He had a sense of humour, cordiality and team spirit”.
Minister of Interior, Abba Moro said: “His death has robbed Nigeria of one of her finest diplomats. He put Nigeria first before any other thing. He was vehement on the need for Nigeria to prevail on African countries in terms of consular relations”.