COVID-19: Some Prominent Nigerians Who Died In January, 2021
Some prominent Nigerians who died in January, 2021
Some prominent Nigerians who died in January, 2021

Ibrahim Musa Giginyu
Sun Jan 31 2021

This month alone, Nigeria has recorded deaths of many prominent personalities due to COVID-19 or other illnesses.

Professor Ebere Onwudiwe (January 9,) Onwudiwe, a professor of Political Science in the Central State University, Wilberforce, Ohio, was said to have died of COVID-19 complications. He was a renowned economist, political scientist, prolific writer, promoter of Afro-optimism and respected public intellectual.

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He was born on October 10, 1952 and hailed from Isunjaba in Imo State, where he held the traditional title of Mba 1.

Apart from having a doctorate degree in Political Science, he also acquired postgraduate degrees in Economics and International Relations. He held several local and international positions. In Ohio. He also became a director of the Centre for African Studies, and the executive director of the Centre for International Studies.

Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu (January 13)

Kanu, a former military administrator of Lagos State and member of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), as well as an advocate of restructuring and democratic governance, passed on at the age of 77 after a brief illness in his hometown in Imo State.

He once fought on the side of Biafra during the civil war between 1967 and 1970, but was later reabsorbed into the military.

He was one of the notable pro-democracy activists who fought the military, especially the late General Sani Abacha’s military regime to a standstill to ensure the return of democratic government in 1999.

He was a prominent voice in NADECO, an organisation dedicated to the revalidation of the June 12, 1993 presidential mandate of the acclaimed winner, the late business mogul, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (MKO), which was annulled by the Ibrahim Babangida-led military administration.

Prince Bolu Akin-Olugbade (January 13)

The late Prince Bolu Akin-Olugbade held the traditional title of the Aare Ona-Kankanfo of Owu Kingdom. He was a lawyer and businessman, whose interest included property development, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution, maritime and offshore services and investment banking.

Prince Akin-Olugbade was called Mr Rolls Royce because he was one of the world’s largest collectors of Rolls Royce automobiles.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was held up in the United States of America as international flights were grounded globally to curtail the spread of the virus. He returned to the country late last year. Despite taking several precautions, he eventually caught the virus and died at Paelon Hospital in Ikeja, Lagos, on January 13.

Iyan Zazzau, Alhaji Bashir Aminu (January 1)

Before his demise, Alhaji Bashir Aminu, a major contender to the royal stool in Zazzau Emirate in Kaduna State, had sued the state government over the appointment of Ambassador Ahmad Nuhu Bamalli as the Emir of Zazzau.

The prince from the Katsinawa royal household died on January 1, 2021. He had argued that having scored the highest number of lawful votes by the kingmakers of the emirate and thus selected, he was the rightful candidate for the Zazzau throne.

Aminu graduated from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.

Dauda Birma (January 5)

Alhaji Birma, a former minister of education, was a presidential aspirant on the platform of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP). He died in the early hours of Tuesday, January 5, 2021 at his home in the Adamawa State capital, Yola.

The Sarkin Gabas Adamawa and Waziri of Garkida was said to have been fairly well before his death.

Born in 1940 in Garkida, Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa State, Birma served in various capacities in the then government of Northern Region. He had marked his 80th birthday in July last year.

Folake Aremu (January 3)

On January 3, the Nigerian film industry lost another veteran Yoruba actress, Folake Aremu, popularly known as Orisabunmi. She died at the age of 60.

The Kwara-born actress died four months after the death of her ex-husband, Jimoh Aliu, who was popularly known as Aworo.

In the 1980s, she was well known for her roles as a priestess, pacifist, or the good witch in movies. She played some iconic roles like ‘Asabi’ in “Oluwerimagboojo” and the priestess in “Ayanmo Eda.’’

Professor Duro Ajeyalemi (January 6)

The late Professor Duro Ajeyalemi of the Lagos State University, who retired at the age of 70 in November 2020, was a dean of the institution’s Faculty of Education and the pioneer registrar of the Joint Universities Preliminary Examination Board (JUPEB).

He was said to have died at the COVID-19 isolation centre at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba.

He was the third prominent indigene of Ijesha land in Osun east senatorial district that succumbed to the deadly disease in recent times.

Bala Bawa Ka’oje (January 19)

Ka’oje, a former minister of sports and chairman, National Sports Commission, died at the age of 60.

Born in Kebbi State on September 20, 1960, Ka’oje earned a master’s degree in Structural Engineering from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Gambo Jimeta (January 21)

Muhammadu Gambo Jimeta, a former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), was promoted to the rank of Assistant Inspector-General (AIG) in 1982 and transferred to the Force Criminal Investigation Division, Alagbon Close, Lagos. He became a Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) in 1984. He succeeded Etim Inyang as IGP in 1986 and was succeeded by Aliyu Attah in 1990.

He was also a national security adviser to a former military head of state, Ibrahim Babangida. Former President Goodluck Jonathan also appointed Jimeta as a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on prerogative of mercy.

Justice Abdulkadir Orire (January 26)

Abdulkadir Orire, former Grand Khadi of Kwara State, was born in 1934 at Obaninsunwa in Ilorin. He was the pioneer and longest serving Grand Khadi of the Kwara State Sharia Court of Appeal, between 1975 and 1999.

He was conferred with the national honour of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) and also held the Ilorin honorary chieftaincy titles of Sarki Malami and Marafa.

He was instrumental to the establishment of what is today known as the University of Ilorin. He was the secretary of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) in Kaduna during the Zangon Kataf crisis, and a member of the 1999 Constitution Review Committee.

Dr Abba Tor Masta II, Shehu of Dikwa (January 23)

The Shehu of Dikwa in Borno State, His Royal Highness, Dr Abba Tor Masta II, died in the early hours of Saturday, January 23, following an undisclosed ailment. He was the second in position after the Shehu of Borno.

Alhaji Abba started his early education at Bama central and senior primary schools from 1952 to 1958. He proceeded to Teachers’ College, Mubi from 1959 to 1962, where he obtained a grade three teachers’ certificate.


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