As Nigerians at home and abroad mourn the death of Dipo Famakinwa - the pioneer Director-General of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, (DAWN) Commission; there is a consensus among many, that his passing is a huge loss, especially to the regional integration agenda of the country's six South-western States of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti.
The Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG) - which midwived the DAWN Commission and of which Famakinwa was one of its key members, described his death as a huge loss to the group, the southwest region, and Yoruba people.
A statement jointly signed by ARG Chairman - Hon. Olawale Oshun and Secretary - Chief Ayo Afolabi, noted that: “The DAWN Agenda may have remained a document on the shelves, like many of such in Nigeria but Famakinwa, following the adoption of the Commission by the Southwest Governors, worked hard to give life to it and nurtured the seed to a blossoming tree that is now the model and go-to place as far as regional integration in Nigeria is concerned.”
“The renewed fervour by Southwest States regarding regional integration and cooperation, which has led to smooth cooperation among Southwest Governors, is largely due to the work put in by the DAWN Commission under Famakinwa’s leadership.
“We take solace in the fact that he has written his name in the golden pages of our history. We in ARG and millions of other Yoruba people across the world will not forget his contributions to the development of our people.”
Famakinwa had been ill for a few weeks and died in a Lagos hospital this morning. He was due to be sent abroad for medical attention before he passed away.
In a post on his Facebook Page last month, Famakinwa reported on how his family members and friends had forced him to take a vacation because they felt he was working too hard: "The year started for my colleagues and I on a high. Everything was running at a frenzy. Then close people started telling me that I was working too hard and needed to slow down. In my opinion, it's early in the year and not a good time for vacation.
"I kept running at high steam, and then the conspiracy started. My wife managed to recruit my friend, who is also a colleague, and my Executive Assistant into the plot. Even my daughter!
"They started making arrangements to send me away, without my knowledge. When my wife finally told me, I resisted. She put me under a lot of pressure, but I refused. My colleagues also did the same, I ignored them.
"Then my wife reported the matter to my dad. My dad called me, and in his usual manner, calmly persuaded me to yield to the pressure. I honestly didn't have too much choice after the discussion with him. I relented. And everyone was happy.
"Earlier today, I had to do the trip. Now I'm all by myself, ensconced in one bush, also called a resort, and the design is that I'd be here, just eating, sleeping and looking into the sky. For the first time in a long time, I watched a football match without any distractions at all, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
"The truth is we all really do need these occasional get-aways.
"May we all live long enough to enjoy the fruits of our labour."