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Ajibola Afonja: Former Labour Minister, First Bank Chairman Passes Away At 82



Ajibola Afonja: Former Labour Minister, First Bank Chairman Passes Away At 82

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

News About Nigeria gathered that the Oyo-born prince died at the University College Hospital in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Afonja’s career began with a solid educational foundation.

He pursued his education at Kingston University, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, United Kingdom, where he earned a degree in accounting in 1970.

His early professional journey took him to John Mowlem & Co, a renowned UK-based construction firm responsible for iconic structures such as Buckingham Palace and the House of Commons.

At John Mowlem & Co., Afonja served as a subsidiary company accountant and later advanced to the role of group asset management accountant.

In 1974, Afonja returned to Nigeria, where he embarked on a career that saw him hold numerous leadership roles.

He served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of First Bank Plc and was appointed Minister of Labour under the interim government of Ernest Shonekan. 

Afonja also chaired the Integrated Dimensional System and several other companies.

His passing has been deeply felt across the nation, particularly in his home community of Oyo.

The Oyo Global Forum, through its chairman, Taiwo Adebayo, expressed sorrow over the loss.

“On this dark day in Oyo, we mourn the loss of Ajibola Afonja, former Labour Minister and Chairman of First Bank Nigeria, who passed away on Sunday night, aged 82.

“Although, a national figure with tremendous influence, he was particularly light for the Oyo community, where he made pioneering efforts as an industrialist.

“His legacy of generosity and open-heartedness touched countless lives, and his presence will be profoundly missed.

“Until his last month, Daddy IDS, as he was affectionately known, as a reference to his manufacturing company, remained hardworking, dedicated to realising one of the most transformative business visions for the country’s economy. It was the E-Customs project.

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

“For all of us that he inspired, we shall honour his memory by carrying forward the values he embodied and continuing his legacy of service and compassion, the values that guide OGF, which he supported during his lifetime,” the statement read.