BY SEGUN ADEOSUN
Floods of eulogies have been pouring for Mr. Gbadebowale Wayne Aboderin, Chairman of Punch Nigeria Limited, publishers of Punch Newspapers, who died Wednesday morning, after a heart surgery at the First Cardiology Consultants, Ikoyi, Lagos.
A release issued by Angela Emuwa, on behalf of the Abodern Family, had announced that Aboderin, who was also Chairman of Punch Commercial Printing Limited and Lukahed Properties Limited, passed on at 6.05a.m. on that fateful day. He was aged 60.
His death has thrown the media community, and Nigeria at large, into deep mourning.
In a statement issued by the President of the Nigerian Press Organisation, NPO, and ThisDay Publisher, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena lamented the shock demise of the Punch chairman, saying: “The Nigerian Press Organisation, NPO, consisting of the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria, NPAN, the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, and the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, is saddened by the news of the untimely death of the Chairman of the Punch Group of Newspapers, Mr. Gbadebowale Aboderin, who died on Wednesday, May 30, 2018.
“Wale, a consummate sport enthusiast, was jovial, amiable and easy going. His death is a big blow, not just to the Punch Group, but to the entire media landscape of Nigeria and Africa.
“He followed generations of media owners who served the public purpose. We offer our condolences to the Aboderin family and the Punch Group. May his soul find peace. Perfect peace.”
President Muhammadu Buhari, through a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, mourned Aboderin’s sudden death and condole with the family and, indeed all members of the NPAN, the media industry as well as Nigeria’s sporting community.
The President said the departed entrepreneur and media mogul would forever be remembered for his industry, resourcefulness, uncommon leadership and managerial capabilities as well as his immeasurable contributions to the media industry and sports development in the country.
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, National leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, and publisher of The Nation newspapers, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, lamented the huge loss, praying God to comfort the family.
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Chairman of Punch Newspapers,” Tinubu regretted in a condolence letter, released by his Media Officer, Tunde Rahman, on Thursday in Lagos; “we lost Wale at a rather young age when we still needed him to continue to be with us.
“At 60, he still had a lot to offer us but within those three scores though, he made appreciable impact and touched and changed lives.
“As Chairman of Punch, taking over from his uncle, the actuary, Chief Ajibola Ogunsola, Wale continued to maintain and sustain the excellent journalism Punch is noted for, ensuring that the newspaper remains where it should be.
“Though he trained as a pilot, he was also a sports enthusiast. He particularly loved basketball to the point that he floated Dolphins Female Basketball Foundation.
“He was at one-time the Chairman of our Basketball Association in Lagos.
“His death is a huge loss to the Aboderin family, both immediate and extended. The media and sports worlds, which he traversed and impacted positively, have also lost an outstanding partner.
“My deep sympathy and condolences to his wife and two children. I mourn with the Aboderin family, the Punch Newspaper, the Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria and the media generally.”
Tributes have also poured from the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, former Governor of Abia State and SUN Publisher, as well as Dr. Wilson Badejo, former General Overseer of the Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria who prayed for the repose of the late Aboderin’s soul.
Born 60 years ago, the late Gbadebowale Wayne Aboderin attended the Government College, Ibadan; and trained as a pilot in the United States.
A sports enthusiast and philanthropist, he was the founder and chairman of the Dolphins Female Basketball Foundation, and also a former chairman of the Lagos State Basketball Association.
He was a one-time vice-president of the Nigerian Basketball Supporters Club.
He is survived by his wife, Titilayo, and children.