- By Felix Oboagwina
Nigeria’s former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Pastor Dr. Olu Onagoruwa, SAN, OFR, has been laid to rest in his country home at Odogbolu, Ogun State, with the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, GCON, SAN, describing him as an icon who had made immense sacrifices for his country.
The Odogbolu branch of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), where Onagoruwa was ordained a Pastor, announced the founding of a N200 million secondary school in honour of the late Senior Advocate and his wife, the Late Mrs. Lillian Titilayo Onagoruwa.
Osinbajo recalled the deceased’s contribution to public discourse through Onagoruwa’s days as the Group Legal Adviser of Daily Times, and for his several contributions to Constitution-making in Nigeria and beyond.
He prayed that God would make Onagoruwa’s children “bigger and better” than their late father.
Onagoruwa, 80, is survived by three children: Dapo an engineer, as well as Seun and Yetunde, who are lawyers like their father.
Onagoruwa was buried on Friday, in the same grave as his late beloved wife, Mrs. Titilayo Lillian (nee Odunaya), at their Odogbolu country home.
He died last July 21 due to complications that culminated his 20-year battle with stroke.
On Wednesday, the Body of Benchers had held a valedictory session for the Senior Advocate of Nigeria at the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, Lagos.
Present at yesterday’s occasion were: Retired General Oladipo Diya, Senator Tony Adefuye, Professor Atinmo, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, Mr. Ayo Opadokun, Chief Biodun Shobanjo, Professor Adeyemi, Pastor Dr. Wemi Odunaya, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Onagoruwa’s Biographer and Publisher, Mr. Felix Oboagwina.
Others were: Dr. Frederick Fasehun, Mr. Lade Bonuola, Retired General Chris Alli, Dr. Oba Otudeko and representatives from the Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami and Secretary to the Ogun State Government, Mr. Sunday Opeoluwa.
In his message sent through a representative, Nigeria’s current Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, eulogised Onagoruwa, whom he said served the country with great sacrifice.
“He distinguished himself as an activist, foremost journalist and Attorney-General and Minister of Justice,” Malami said.
Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), who had delivered a tribute at the wake on Thursday night, said Onagoruwa had stuck out his neck severally in the days of military rule to bail out himself and Chief Gani Fawehinmi.
According to him, although Onagoruwa and Fawehinmi would fall out over the former’s acceptance to serve as Minister of Justice in the military regime of the Late General Sani Abacha, the duo remained loyal to each other.
Falana recalled that Fawehinmi had risen to estranged friend’s defence when upon being appointed as Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation under General Abacha, Onagoruwa was made to answer a stealing charge raked up by some antagonists.
Gani went to the court and told the presiding Judge that the plaintiffs’ attempt to dig up an old case erstwhile decided in the Accused’s favour was an exercise in futility as the stealing charge was “as dead as dodo.”
Pastor Abraham Akinosun, President of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), where Onagoruwa was a Pastor, in a homily he shared at the post-interment outing service, said Onagoruwa had defeated death by giving his life to Jesus Christ.
In his words: “The sting of death had been removed by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, whom Dr. Onagoruwa believed in.”
According to him, the late Onagoruwa had joined other believers, who had gone before, like his wife and assassinated son Toyin.
Akinosun said: “For Christians, death is a vehicle from life through which we return home. For the believer, death is a going home experience.”
Pastor Gbenga Adelusi, Pastor in Charge of CAC Mount of Ease Zone, the late Onagoruwa’s home church in Ebute-Metta, Lagos, had earlier said during the funeral sermon that, there was no doubting that the deceased had gone home to be with his Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Adelusi said: “Believers are those who believe in Jesus Christ. And they have hope in life eternal. Hope is confident expectation. God has made the condition to eternal life very simple. All you need to achieve eternal life is to believe that the way to eternal is through Jesus Christ.”