From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
A Nigerian billionaire businessman and former presidential aspirant, Chief Harry Akande, who hailed from Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, is dead.
A source within the family, Olumide Akande, who confirmed the death of the Agba-Oye of Ibadanland, said he passed on in the early hours of Saturday after a brief illness.
Though the family source did not disclose the particular illness, some people have allegedly linked his sudden death to COVID-19 complications.
According to the statement issued by Olumide Akande: ‘In the early hours of Saturday, December 5, 2020, our patriarch, Chief Harry Ayodele Akande, passed away following a brief illness.
‘Chief Harry Akande was an astute businessman of international repute whose legacy and influence cut across continents. But by far, his greatest passion was for a better Nigeria that guaranteed equity and justice for all. It is our fervent hope that this will be a reality in the not-too-distant future.
‘His passing is a huge shock to his immediate and extended family, friends and associates. We are all grappling to make some sense of it.
‘As we seek the repose of his gentle soul, we ask you to, in turn, uphold us in your prayers while we pass through this very turbulent period of our lives occasioned by the loss of someone as dear as him.’
Meanwhile, Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde has described the death Akande as a great loss to the State and Nigeria.
The Governor, in a condolence message to the Akande family, stated that the passing on of Akande at this time meant that Ibadanland and Oyo State have lost another great man.
A statement by Mr Taiwo Adisa, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, quoted the Governor as praying God to grant repose to Akande’s soul and grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss.
The Governor said: ‘The news of the death of the Agba Oye of Ibadanland and internationally renowned businessman, Chief Harry Akande, came to me as a shock. His death meant another great loss to Ibadanland, Oyo State and Nigeria.
‘Chief Harry Akande’s renown as an international businessman who tried to make inroads into Nigerian politics to make a greater impact on society remains classic.
‘He was, indeed, one of the pathfinders for businessmen in politics and his efforts in deepening democracy through participation in politics will go into the annals of history, especially his role in building formidable opposition politics.
‘This is one death too many and we can only pray to God to halt these deaths and allow our elders to make more impact on humanity.
‘We cannot question God but we can pray, and that is what we will continue to do. I pray that God will grant repose to Chief Akande’s soul and also sustain his immediate and extended families.’