President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, have both commiserated with the family of former Chairman of the Nigerian Sports Commission, Chief Alex Akinyele, who passed away on Thursday night in Lagos at 81.
The death of Akinyele was announced by his son Akinfolarin Akinyele on Friday.
Reacting to the announcement, Buhari in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, condoled with the government and people of Ondo State.
“The President commiserates with the government and people of Ondo State, friends and professional colleagues of the departed, urging them to take solace in the lasting legacies of the former colourful minister, who also served as Chairman of National Sports Commission and Chairman of National Reconciliation Committee.
“As a trained teacher and public relations specialist, President Buhari affirms that Chief Akinyele’s scrupulousness, discipline and diligence were always obvious to those who worked closely with him, and his love for the nation, which was zealously demonstrated through providing exemplary leadership.
Also, the minister sent a message of condolences to his family and the country.
“It is with great mixed feelings that I received the news of the death of the pioneer Executive Chairman of the National Sports Commission, Chief Alex Akinyele.
“What a loss to the family and the Country at large. The Nation is deeply touched and saddened at the demise of a committed patriot who served his fatherland faithfully and meritoriously at the federal level, as Honourable Minister of Information and Executive Chairman, National Sports Commission.
“The late Chief Alex Akinyele in his hey days etched his name in the historic annals of our country. He was an epitome of selflessness in public service. He was a committed public servant who gave his all to advance the cause of growth and development of his fatherland, especially in the sporting sector.
“The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development sincerely regret his irreplaceable loss, as we condole with the family and the country. Please accept the deepest condolences of the Ministry.”
Asiwaju Tinubu, former governor of Lagos State, described the late Akinyele as an elder statesman who contributed immensely to Nigeria’s development.
He said: “Chief Alex Akinyele was an elder statesman. He served the country to the best of his abilities. He did his best as Minister of Information and later Chairman of the Nigerian Sports Commission.
“He was also one leader who was very proud of his Yoruba, indeed Ondo heritage, and demonstrated this often in his appearance and conduct.
“Chief Akinyele radiated warmth and tenderness. To meet him is to like him. He was full of life. He was unmistakable with his sartorial elegance.The country he did his best for will sorely miss him.
“My thoughts are with his family, friends and relations at this moment. May they find the strength to live through his passing. I mourn with his professional colleagues, the Public Relations practitioners and members of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations.”
Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, also expressed heartfelt condolences to the immediate family, Ondo Kingdom and indeed the good people of the state over the demise of High Chief Alex Akinyele.
According to a statement signed on his behalf by the Commissioner for Information and Orientationation, Donald Ojogo, “Alex Akinyele was a man of many parts who made sound and meaningful impacts in his active days of service to the nation.
“The urbane, quintessential personality and glamour which he blended with an alluring cultural carriage provided an enviably distinct style that was proudly Nigerian. His highly tasteful social life never diminished his love for the Yoruba culture; it rather attracted and exported admiration.
“No doubt too, the former Information Minister created a different perception of Public Relations which he nurtured zealously. His was not just PR. His human relations exuded a perfectionist’s bend that took Information and Perception Management to a different pedestal in the country.
“Going the way of other mortals is a debt for all. The difference is time. As our icon, Alex Akinyele pays his and moves on, ours is to pray for the repose of his soul. This is even as his legacies are there for all, especially PR practitioners to maximize. His love for the family while alive, shall clearly remain undying even in his absence.
“On behalf of the government and the good people of Ondo State, Governor Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, shares this moment of loss. It is a personal loss to him in some significant respects.
“Aside being a respected Nigerian elder and opinion leader of Ondo State origin, the late Aleco like I and many other Nigerian patriots, is a proud product of the Great Ife, the nation’s pride and excellence symbol. Great Ife will miss him greatly. Every alumnus feels this vacuum.”