By Kamal Tayo Oropo
Professor Adebayo Adedeji, the pioneer Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission of Africa (ECA), who died on April 25 at the age of 87, will be buried on 7 July, the family has announced.
However, the ceremonies preceding the burial in his hometown of Ijebu-Ode, Ogun state, will begin on 4 July.
According to a statement on Monday by the family, the burial rites will start with service of songs on Wednesday, July 4, 2018.
Christian wake follows up on July 5, while funeral service holds at Cathedral Church of Our Saviour on July 6.
Memorial Symposium in his honour by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) would hold in Lagos on July 7.
On July 8 the rites will come to an end with Thanksgiving Service at the Cathedral Church of Our Saviour, where Adedeji worshipped until his death.
Adedeji, who was also the pioneer chairman of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), is survived by 11 children.
He was also Nigeria’s post-civil war Federal Commissioner of Economic Development and Reconstruction.
Until his death, Adedeji held the traditional titles of Asiwaju of Ijebu and Olotu’fore of Ijebu-Ode.
Mr Doyin Adedeji, the eldest of the children first gave a hint on the burial arrangements on 14 May.
This was after giving an emotional tribute in memory of his father at the 51st Annual Session of the Economic Commission for Africa, Prof Adebayo Adedeji Lecture Series, held in Addis Ababa.
The 2018 series had the theme: ‘Envisioning a science, technology and innovation future for Africa in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063’.
In Doyin Adedeji’s words: “What we, his children, most particularly remember about him is that he encouraged us all not only to have an opinion on any given subject, but also to express it freely.
“It is very difficult for 11 opinionated siblings to easily reach consensus on anything, but the one thing we surely agree on without dispute is that Prof, the Ol’ Man, as we affectionately called him, was a very fine father.
“Not because he held high offices, not because of his years as a University don, not because of his contributions as Federal Minister or because of his work here at the ECA.
“We revered him not because of the various endeavours he found himself involved with in his post-ECA years, but because he was always there for us, no matter how busy or engaged he was doing other things.”
The younger Adedeji, paraphrasing the words of Georgia Harkness, said the older Adedeji was a magnificent giant pine, who stood staunch against the sky and all around.
“For us his children, he was a towering landmark, erect and unafraid, within whose fold we were safely reared.
“While we do now miss him and will always continue to miss him, we give thanks for his life,” he said.
Tribute also flowed in from the Executive Secretary of the ECA, Ms Vera Songwe as well as some former executive secretaries of the UN body, including Dr. K. Y. Amoako, Mr Abdoulie Janneh and Mr Carlos Lopes.
Former associates, who passed through Adedeji’s tutelage, including former president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Mr Donald Kaburuka, also paid glowing tribute to the departed Adedeji.
Kaburuka recalled how the late ECA boss often tasked him on having opinion on any issue and never to accept anything on its face value.
“In carrying his illness, Adedeji never talked about it. He was a great man.
“He would always refer to me as staff of the World Bank or that of the IMF, even though I never worked for any of these institutions.
“Adedeji always had issue with any doctrine of the day. He never believed there is any doctrine that cannot be evaluated.
“Adedeji’s questioning of the doctrine of the day is what we must also do in finding sustainable path for the development and growth of our continent,” he said.