The human rights community in the country received with shock, Saturday, the news of the sudden death of the Head of Secretariat, Pro National Conference Organisation, PRONACO, Baba Oluwide Omojola, who slumped in his hotel room in Akure, the Ondo State capital, while preparing to return to Lagos after making a presentation on behalf of PRONACO before the Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference.
A renowned economist, human rights activist and nationalist, Omojola, was said to have lodged at De Johson Hotel, Akure where he suddenly collapsed, and was immediately rushed to First Mercy Specialist Hospital, Gbogi Road, Akure where he was later certified dead. Described as a foremost revolutionary teacher and leader, Omojola, according to a statement signed by PRONACO spokesperson, Olawale Okunniyi, a co-founded PRONACO with Chief Tony Enahoro, Prof Wole Soyinka, Dr. Beko Ransome Kuti, and others, who fought for the restoration of the present democracy in the country and the production of the draft Peoples Constitution produced by the Peoples National Conference of Nigerian ethnic nationalities between 2004 and 2007.
He was at the forefront of the advocacy for the convocation of the Sovereign National Conference, SNC , and was one the signatories to the communiqué of the National Political Summit held in Uyo between 2nd and 5th September.
Meanwhile, reactions have continued to trail his death as the All Progressives Congress (APC), national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has described his death as sad and a depletion of the ranks of the relentless fighters for a just and free society.
“Baba Omojola offered selfless service to our country. For nearly 50 years, he put in his best in the struggle to make Nigeria a better country that is well governed and one that meets the aspirations of all,” Tinubu said in a statement issued yesterday by his media office.
“Nothing better illustrates his selflessness and patriotic spirit that the fact that he died whle on the assignment of making a presentation to the National Dialogue advisiory Panel in Akure. He died at his duty post a faithful servant.”
Osun State governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, also lamented the death of Omojola, describing it as a painful blow to the human rights communities. In a statement by the Director of Communications and Strategy, Mr. Semiu Okanlawon, Aregbesola said the death of Omojola is a big loss to human rights community and the nation.
He said Omojola epitomised the fighting spirit and a bulwark of common man’s rights, a course he lived, fought and died for.
According to the governor, the human rights activist was one of Nigeria’s first generation human rights crusader and advocate of people-oriented government.
He said this was why during the struggle against successive military regimes, Omojola was repeatedly incarcerated particularly by the duo of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and the late Gen. Sanni Abacha.
“The death of Baba Omojola is a big blow to the entire human rights groups all over the world. He is a symbol of struggle and fight for the defence of peoples’ rights.
“Omojola in all his life embraced struggle and until his death he never wavered. Hewn from the finest academic precious stone as a first class economist, Omojola dedicated his life to the service of humanity, a course he pursued till his final breath on earth.
“He would be missed by all, particularly the human rights community. On behalf of myself,government and people of Osun we commiserate with the family of the deceased and human rights groups on Omojola’s sad exit and pray for the repose of his soul,” Aregbesola said.