Leading personalities across all walks of life have continued to extol the virtues of the late agronomist and director with PUNCH Nigeria Limited, Dr Lekan Are, who passed on at the University College Hospital, Ibadan on Saturday after a brief illness.
Among those who paid glowing tribute to the late businessman in his Ibadan home on Sunday were Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State; former governor Rashidi Ladoja; the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the state in the 2019 election, Adegoke Adelabu; Florence, wife of former governor Abiola Ajimobi; Senator Teslim Folarin; Chairman, Bi-Courtney Group, Wale Babalakin and others.
Ladoja said, “What will I say concerning Dr Lekan Are? He was there for everybody. I don’t know how he used to manage. Whenever anything happened to anybody he would find time to call and later visit you to give you a piece of advice.
“He was somebody that I grew up to know since I was six years. Three months ago, he called a meeting, I was there with him, the wife and his son, Damola. It was from 10am to 4pm. I didn’t know that would be the last; I didn’t know that it was meant to say farewell.”
Adelabu, who said Are’s departure was painful, described him as a father figure, saying, “he was close to my grandfather, the late Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu. Also, because of the Government College, Ibadan connection, he was very passionate about my old man. He always said that Adelabu was his mentor and that inspired him to attend to me.
“He was one of the great men that I grew up to know. He was very educated, hardworking and civilised. He was very strict and would not take nonsense. What endeared him to me was his patriotism and love for Ibadan, which is second to none. He was the president of the old students’ association of government college for about 20 years. He was the driving force behind the old boys’ association.”
Makinde wrote in the condolence register, “Papa, you came, you saw and you conquered in the field of humanities, education, journalism and hospitality.
“You had a benchmark for generations yet to come. You will be sorely missed. Good night, Papa.”
Folarin wrote, “You always thought very highly of me. Thank you and good night.”
Prof. Biyi Afonja, who described the late Dr Are as a fond friend of over five decades, said, “We”ll meet again at the feet of the Lord. Condolences, you will be sorely missed.”
Prof. Adekunle Akinyemi said the late industrialist had left a mark too difficult for anybody to surpass.
Dr and Mrs Tunde Odekunle wrote, “Daddy, you were a recipient of GCI’s tradition. Our mentor, father, epitome of learning to serve with diligence; you left your marks on the sands of time.”
Earlier in his sermon during the service of songs for the late businessman, the Sub-Dean, Cathedral Church of St. David, Kudeti, Ibadan, Ven. Oluseyi Ogunrinde, urged the people not to mourn anymore because the deceased lived well for humanity.
He said, “Brethren, we have not come to mourn. We have come to celebrate his worthy and selfless lifestyle. He came and lived well.
“I was here in his house three days ago but I was told that he was not around. I never knew that he had been taken to the hospital. By yesterday (Saturday), I heard on the phone that he was dead. I felt very bad but I was consoled that he had left for a better place.”