Former minister of labour and productivity passes away at 82

Ajibola Afonja, a former Minister of Labour and Productivity, and Chairman of First Bank Nigeria, has passed away at the age of 82. 

The Oyo-born Prince died on Sunday night at the University College Hospital in Ibadan, Oyo State, according to family sources.

Afonja, a prominent figure in Nigeria’s financial and political landscape, held numerous influential positions throughout his career. 

He served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors at First Bank Plc and was appointed Minister of Labour under the interim government of Ernest Shonekan. He was also the chairman of Integrated Dimensional System and other companies.

His educational journey took him to Kingston University in the United Kingdom, where he earned a degree in Accounting in 1970. 

Following his graduation, Afonja worked with the UK-based construction firm John Mowlem & Co, known for its work on iconic structures such as Buckingham Palace and the House of Commons. He returned to Nigeria in 1974 after a successful stint abroad.

Afonja’s passing has been met with widespread mourning, particularly from the Oyo community. 

Taiwo Adebayo, chairman of the Oyo Global Forum, expressed deep sorrow over the loss, highlighting Afonja’s enduring legacy of generosity and industrial pioneering. 

The group praised his dedication to transformative business projects like the E-Customs project and his support for local initiatives.

“On this dark day in Oyo, we mourn the loss of Ajibola Afonja,” Adebayo said. 

“His absence leaves a void that will be difficult to fill, but his spirit of generosity and leadership will continue to inspire us,” he added. 

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