Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other dignitaries paid moving tributes to the late Chief Isaac Folayan Alade at his funerals in Lagos and Ekiti states.
Fola-Alade, who was the first architect to become Secretary of State in Nigeria and also known for historic structures such as the National Stadium, Tafawa Balewa Square, the Federal Secretariat, Lagos and the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Building in Kuru, Plateau State, recently died in Age 88.
During the memorial service, Obasanjo described Fola-Alade as a great friend, architect, scholar, civil servant and colleague. He talked about how the late architect encouraged him in prison.
He said, “Fola’s children didn’t know how kind and how close we were until they started looking up the records and finding letters I had written to Fola when I was in prison. Fola was one of those who encouraged me to survive in prison. I pray my worst enemy doesn’t go to jail. The worst thing in prison is the isolation and I was isolated. ”
The former president said his late wife, Stella Obasanjo, hid Fola-Alade’s letters in her pocket when she visited him in prison. “Fola kept sending me letters and money. I looked forward to his letters in prison and also wrote back to him to let him know I had received them; I recognized everything he did for me.
“He made me develop an affinity for Ekiti and understand the dialect almost enough that I can speak it. Working with Fola was wonderful and he became a permanent secretary because he was not Orthodox. He achieved what he and I wanted for the country, ”he said.
Similarly, the General Overseer of God’s Redeemer Church, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, said that he and Fola-Alade were connected when they first met.
Adeboye, who described the deceased as an extremely intelligent and pleasant man, said, “I thank God for the life of my deceased friend. I look forward to seeing my friend again on the morning of the resurrection. “
In his tribute, Lt. Gen. Alani Akinrinade (rtd.) Said Fola-Alade was an honest and meticulous professional who did a brilliant job of building housing for the armed forces across the country after the war. He said the deceased also persuaded him not to leave the army.
He said, “I told him I wanted to leave the army because of the devastating effects of the first and second coup attempts on the morale of the army, but he persuaded me to stay here.”
The leading pharmacist and lawyer Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi called on the federal government to honor Fola-Alade posthumously. He said, “He has lived a long, good life in service to Nigeria. He was gifted, creative and the architect that Nigeria should see in life and death. “