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Former Labour Minister, Afonja Dies At 82

A former Minister of Labour and Chairman of First Bank Nigeria, Ajibola Afonja is dead, at 82.

A family source said the Oyo-born Prince passed away, on Sunday night, at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Oyo State.

He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of First Bank Plc and was also appointed as Minister of Labour under the interim government of Earnest Shonekan.

Afonja was the chairman of Integrated Dimensional System and many other companies.

He attended Kingston University, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, United Kingdom where he bagged a degree in Accounting in 1970.

After he graduated from the university, he started work with John Mowlem & Co, a UK-based construction firm with notable works at Buckingham Palace, the House of Commons, 10 Downing Street, Westminster Abbey, London Bridge, the Manchester Metrolink and the Dublin Port Tunnel, and a host of others.

He first served as a subsidiary company accountant between 1971-1972 and then became the Group Assets Management Accountant in 1972, a position he held for three years before he returned to Nigeria in 1974.

A prominent Oyo socio-political group, Oyo Global Forum through its chairman, Taiwo Adebayo wrote while mourning his passage, “On this dark day in Oyo, we mourn the loss of Ajibola Afonja, former Labour Minister and Chairman of First Bank Nigeria, who passed away on Sunday night, aged 82.

“Although, a national figure with tremendous influence, he was particularly light for the Oyo community where he made pioneering efforts as an industrialist. His legacy of generosity and open-heartedness touched countless lives, and his presence will be profoundly missed.

“Until his last month, Daddy IDS, as he was affectionately known, as a reference to his manufacturing company, remained hardworking, dedicated to realizing one of the most transformative business visions for the country’s economy. It was the E-Customs project.

“His absence leaves a void that will be difficult to fill, but his spirit of generosity and leadership will continue to inspire us. For all of us that he inspired, we shall honour his memory by carrying forward the values he embodied and continuing his legacy of service and compassion, the values that guide OGF, which he supported during his lifetime.”

The group, therefore, extended its deepest condolences to his family, the entire Oyo community, friends and associates throughout the world during this time of mourning.

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