UN, Obasanjo, Adewole, others eulogise Osotimehin at funeral

Babatunde Osotimehin

Eminent Nigerians and members of the international community poured encomiums on the former Executive Director, United Nations Population Funds  (UNFPA), Prof. Batunde Osotimehin, who was buried in Ibadan, Oyo State yesterday.

Osotimehin died in the United States on June 5 at 68.

Those who eulogised the deceased medial doctor and advocate for eradication of HIV/AIDS were former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, Deputy Secretary General, UN, Aminat Ibrahim; Executive Director, United Nations and Executive Secretary, Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka Dr. Nazikna Kauem.

Others were Ogun State Deputy Governor, Yetunde Onanuga, who represented Governor Ibikunle Amosun; Secretary to Osun State Government, Moshood Adeoti, who represented Governor Rauf Aregbesola, Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan Prof. Idowu Olayinka; Chief Medical Director, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Prof Temitope Alonge among others.

At the commendation service held at the All Souls Church, Bodija, Ibadan, Obasanjo, said: “Indeed, Osotimehin’s passage is painful, especially as he would still have a lot to contribute to his family, his community, the nation, Africa and indeed the entire world, but we can draw solace from the fact that he lived a life of service to humankind and to his fatherland.”

Adewole, who represented the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, said:  “Osotimehin had many enviable qualities. He was a family man, an academic per excellence, a global researcher, a seasoned administrator, an advocate, a diplomat, a mentor and a grand-political master.

“I interacted with ‘Big-Boss’ for over than 30 years at personal, official, academic and political levels. He was known to be a team player, liberal, visionary and socially sensitive during his time.”

Archbishop in the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Reverend George Lasebikan, in his sermon, urged all and sundry to live a good life worthy of emulation.

The deceased widow, Olufunke Osotimehin, said she met her husband 47 years ago at a birthday party, and they got married 44 years ago. She said her late husband was ambitious and continually sought opportunities to serve Nigeria, saying, “For you, it was first and foremost about the service, and the God that saw your heart and good motive opened up opportunities for you at NACA, the Federal Ministry of Health and then the UNFPA.”

Son of the deceased, Babajide Osotimehin, said of his father,  “You were a truly great man and I am proud to be your son. You have undoubtedly left really big shoes for me to fill and I’ll take on that challenge.”

Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Anthonio Guterres, in his tribute said: “The world has lost a great champion of health and well-being for all. Babatunde was admired globally for his leadership of the UN Population Fund and for his forceful advocacy for the world’s women and girls in particular.”

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