The city of London woke up on Saturday 28th of March 2020 read of the passing on of Dr Ashiru Abiola, father of the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the African Voice newspaper, UK. Dr Ashiru Abiola can be regarded as a colossus in his own right as well as in the Yoruba community in London.
Until his death, Dr Ashiru Abiola who hailed from the royal household of Balogun in Dagbolu, Ilobu and Ojo near Ido-Osun in Egbedore Local Government, Osun State in Nigeria, was a chieftain of the Nigerian Elders Forum in London.
Many Londoners who knew him have since been posting messages of condolence to the man who was a “loving father, perfect gentleman and selfless community leader.” Many have alluded to his many faceted endeavours and achievement both in Nigeria and in the UK.
Eldest son of the Yoruba icon, Prince Mike Abiola, led the tribute in his Face Book page. In a sombre mood, he wrote: “I mourned and celebrate the passing to glory of my father, loving grandfather, best uncle ever, a perfect gentleman and a selfless community elder. Dr Ashiru Abiola aged 91, slept in the Lord at 22.50hrs on the 27th of March, 2020.
Extolling his many achievements, Mike wailed: “Daddy, you were a hero to so many people, your contributions to humanity will forever be remembered. Your service to the NHS, Muslim Association of Nigeria UK and the Nigerian Elders Council UK where you served as the Social Secretary for many years, will never be forgotten.
He continued:” You were one of the early diaspora returnees to Nigeria, taking the skills you acquired in Europe, back for the benefit of the people in Nigeria was back in 1982. Your decision to touch rural lives influenced your choice of opening medical hospitals in two villages in Osun State, Nigeria when many of your colleagues chose the developed cities
Daddy you left a loving memory with us all, especially with my wife Golda. We shall never forget our regular Sunday evening chats, your high sense of humour and your usual response of “not too baa-aad” whenever she asked after your well-being.”
Indelible Contribution to community
Dr. Ashiru arrived in the UK in 1962 to study medicine. In response to the call to service, Dr Abiola returned to Nigeria in 1982. He served as the Chairman of Irepodun Local Government of Osun State, Nigeria (1992-1993). He also set up a maternity hospital for the benefit of the people of Iwo town in Osun State
Among his other indelible contribution to the upliftment of the living standard of his Nigerian community was the building of a mosque and water facilities for the use of neighbours in his Osogbo country home.
Dr. Abiola was an upright man, full on integrity, a man of honour. His unwillingness to compromise made him to return to the UK in 1995, where he lived till his death
“ Ashiru Ekun Ode, though you are gone, your legacy lives on.”
Prominent Londoners continued to pour tribute to the great man. Chief Adebayo Oladimeji, Chairman of the Nigerian Elders Council UK, said, “Dr. Ashiru Abiola, your loving father, brother and friend was a true believer in Islamic and human rights. He was a kind human being who respected others without limitations. He will be forever missed. May His Soul Rest in Peace eternally”.
Dr. Alistair Soyode, Nigeria’s Presidential candidate, YES Party and founder of BEN TV wrote on his Face Book page, “So sorry to hear the passing of Dr. Abiola and may His Soul Rest in Peace. The Lord shall be there for you the children and the family always”.
Professor Rotimi Jaiyesimi, said, “Papa sleeps peacefully while his legacy lives on. Please accept our sympathy. May God comfort the entire family.”
Princess Moradeun Adedoyin – Solarin wrote on her Face Book page wrote, “Sending deep condolences to my Royals Prince Mike Abiola & Princess Golda John Abiola, We Thank God for Papa’s Exemplary life, may his Dignified Royal Soul find Peaceful Rest with our Creator in Jesus Name Amen.”
Otunba Femi Okutubo, publisher of Trumpet Newspaper, said, “A very pleasant Baba who I met a few times. May he Rest In Peace; and may God comfort and uphold the family.
Cllr. Susan Jumoke Fajana-Thomas of the London Borough of Hackney in her message of condolence said, may papa’s soul rest peacefully in the Lord.
Dr. Dayo Olomu said, “sincere condolences and prayers for Papa Abiola. May the Lord grant you the fortitude to bear the irreplaceable loss.”
Jenny Chika Okafor wrote, “Dear Mike Abiola and Golda John Abiola, I am most sorry to hear about the passing of your dad and dad in law. What a loss? May the almighty rest his soul and console you all.
Dr. Boma Douglas, Chairman of Nigerians in the UK (CANUK) said, “May his gentle Soul rest in perfect peace. This is a big loss to the Nigerian Community in the United Kingdom.”
Olorogun (Dr) Peter Ozua and Chief (Mrs) Elizabeth Ozua said, ‘Our sincere condolences on the death of your beloved father. May God grant you and your family the fortitude to bear your loss. Be consoled by the fond memories you both shared. May his soul rest in peace.”
Dr. Malcolm Benson President Nollywood UK Producers Guild UK wrote, “May his gentle soul rest in peace Take heart Prince Mike Abiola.”
Justina Mutale wrote, “Mike Abiola, Please do accept my sincerest and heartfelt condolences on the passing of your beloved father. My prayers are with you and your family. MHSRIEP. God bless you!
Pastor James Ademuyiwa said, Please accept my condolences Prince Mike; ojo a jina sira ni oruko Jesu. Papa exit gloriously at a very ripe age leaving behind ‘awon omo rere’ we must thank God for the good life Papa lived and for the wonderful children and family he left behind. Eku eyin papa, may the LORD uphold everyone of you in Jesus name.
Don Pedro Okojie wrote on his page, Please accept my condolences to you Mike, Golda and the entire Abiola family. May God grant you the fortitude to bear this loss. I had no idea he was your dad, we met in two Nigerian meetings, he calls me rascal Edo boy (Ipata Edo). May Doctor Abiola’s soul rest in peace.
Otunba Tajudeen Obafemi Adenuga Chairman, FEMADE (UK) Ltd and his wife Princess Adetoun Adenuga said, “please accept our commiserations on the passing of Papa. May Allah forgive his sins, grants him aljanah firdaus, and his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”
Ayan De First – Mr. Culture wrote, “May Almighty Allah forgive him his mistakes and wrong-doings and grant him Al jana fridaos. Prince may God console you and the entire family as a whole.”
Chief Steve Bankole Olafisoye said, “Oh so sorry to hear this. Please accept my deepest sympathy and condolences. May his soul rest in peace and in the bosom of our Lord.”
Theodora Ibekwe Oyebade President, Actor’s Guild Nollywood UK and her husband Chief Ayo Dapo Oyebade, May his soul rest in peace sir.
Toyin Jaiye – Daramola said, “Dear Uncle Mike, please accept my sincere condolences. Let’s thank God for a life well spent. May his good soul find eternal rest with his creator. Congratulations too, for you outlive your father. Omo rere a gbehin gbogbo wa o Amin.
Kunle Ibrahim, said, “My condolences, Papa was a great father to us all, and an iconic figure to Ilobu and Osun in general. I commiserate with the family, as we mourn the sad loss.”
Entrepreneur and food magnate Patrick Ideh, Chairman, Bantuway Food chain and his wife Stella-Maris Etanefoto posted on Face Book: “We send our sincerest condolences. May God give you, my sister and the entire family the fortitude to bear your loss. Daddy is in heaven. May perpetual light shine on him. O Lord, may his soul rest in perfect peace.”
As one of those who knew Dr Abiola for many years while he was Social Secretary of the Nigerian Elders Council, UK, I saw a perfect gentleman and one with lots of experience in leadership. I join others in wishing the family of the Abiola’s, the fortitude to bear the loss of this great Nigerian.