Didi Adodo: dies of COVID-19 complications

By Jethro Ibileke/Benin

Reactions and tributes have poured in for the late labour activist and former commissioner in Edo state, Comrade Didi Adodo.

Adodo served as Commissioner for Establishment and Special Duties
during the two terms of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s administration.

He died of complications from Covid-19, in the early hours of Tuesday.

Reacting, the former Governor of the state, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, described the death of Didi Adodo as devastating.

Oshiomhole spoke to our correspondent on phone through his aide, Victor Oshioke.

Oshioke said: “It is with great sadness that the Comrade [Oshiomhole] received the death of Comrade Didi Adodo this morning. The Comrade is devastated.

“Incidentally, Comrade Oshiomhole spoke to him Sunday night when he heard that Adodo was in the hospital. He called him and they had a very good discussion and he had been praying for him and keeping in touch with his condition. But unfortunately, we lost him this morning.

“Comrade Oshiomole expressed his condolences to the widow and children and pray for the repose of his soul.

“He had known Adodo for a very long time, they were in the trenches together.They are both of the labour and he worked closely as a Commissioner and Special Adviser to the Comrade.”

Barr. Anslem Ojezua, who served alongside Adodo as commissioner for information and orientation in the Adams Oshiomhole’s government, expressed shock at his death.

He said: “Didi was a fine gentleman, very genial, a quintessential trade unionists, very generous. I am actually shocked by his death. We will surely miss him.”

Also, former commissioner for Information in Oshiomhole’s administration, Abdul Oroh, described Didi Adodo as a Comrade colleague and brother.

Oroh who was the Executive Director of Civil Liberties Organisation, expressed pain over the demise of the labour activist.

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“The death of Didi Adodo is very painful. He is somebody I’ve known since 1985. He was then a student in the University of Benin and I was The Guardian newspaper correspondent.

“We became very close friends because he was very active in the student’s union movement.

“Over the years, we have been comrade colleagues and collaborators. During the pro-democracy movement, we were always together, so, he is like a brother to me.”

In his tribute, a former Chief Managing Director of the Central Hospital, Benin, Dr. Philip Ugbodaga, has said that the death of Comrade Didi Adodo, has left a hole in the struggle by the labour movements in Nigeria.

Ugbodaga who spoke to our correspondent amidst sobs and tears, described Adodo’s death as devastating.

He added that his death has left a hole in the struggle by the labour movement in Nigeria that will be deeply felt.

“Iroko has fallen. When he took ill, we spoke every day till his last moments. With his death, Nigeria has lost one of its greatest sons and committed labour leader.

“Didi Adodo lived an accomplished life of service to humanity. He was a man of integrity and intellectual courage as well as a profound and consummate negotiator.

“I salute Comrade Adodo and honour his contributions as a committed fighter for the rights of the class conscious trade union movements in Nigeria.

“His death has left a hole in the struggle by the labour movement in Nigeria and this will be deeply felt.

“But we are assured that the legacy of his commitment will be carried on by his family, comrades and friends until the victory of our common struggle for social and political liberation is realised.

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“The Nigerian Civil society movement has lost a comrade and a friend and when labour and civil society organizations march again, one of the banners will carry the name of Comrade Didi Adodo.

“His death, however painful, will be overcome by re-doubling our efforts as social crusaders to build a Nigeria of his dream.

“May his spirit live on in the struggles of the labour and civil society movements and his heart find rest in the Lord’s bosom.”

Tony Iyare, a former colleague of Didi Adodo in Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s cabinet, also expressed deep sadness over his death.

Iyare who served as Special Adviser (Media) under Oshiomhole, described the passing of Adodo as not not pleasant.

In his tribute to Adodo on his Facebook page, Iyare said Adodo who was a humor merchant, may have also laughed himself to death.

“It’s not too pleasant to learn of the passing of my dear friend, brother, colleague and comrade, Didi Adodo, General Secretary, Iron and Steel Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ISSSAN), who passed on this morning.

“A two portfolio Commissioner under former Edo State Governor, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, our path first crossed in the early 80s when I used to voyage from Ife Varsity to partake in the activities of the students revolutionary group of the University of Benin.

“This later blossomed into some deep relationship between the student comrades, the intelligentsia and the working class in that axis.

“Adodo, then a budding member of the students revolutionary movement, would usually worm up to me each time I was around to share thoughts with members. While others would simply disperse after our gatherings, Adodo would always worry and take care of my welfare issues.

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“As young bachelors then struggling to put our lives together, Adodo and I pulled funds to hire our first flat in Iju, on the outskirts of Lagos in 1990, which became a fortress for many comrades. including Gbenga Olawepo (now Gbenga Hashim), Isi Momodu, Gbenga Komolafe, Olaitan Oyerinde, Sylvester Odion Akhaine and many others.

“It was therefore some gathering of old war horses when Oshiomhole reached out to Osagie Obayuwana, Abdul Oroh, Adodo, Oyerinde and I to join his cabinet.

“Never short of inflicting you with doses of laughing gas, members always reel either at cabinet meetings or social gatherings with rib cracking laughter from Didi’s numerous jokes.

“Even when Oshiomhole sometimes applied the brake to say, “Didi, there’s no laughing matter today,” you could hardly hold back Didi from making people laugh even in face of adversity.

“We supported different strands during the last Edo governorship election in September 2020, but it was disagreement draped around banters. He was always full of live.

“There’s never a dull moment with Didi, I guess he may have also laughed himself to death.

“May the Almighty God comfort the wife, Ngozi, who has witnessed a string of losses in the last few months, the children, the entire Adodo family and members of the revolutionary movement.

“We shall surely meet again on the resurrection morning where we shall meet to part no more”.