…Labour Minister, NLC express shock

Victor Ahiuma-Young

Details of how the Director-General of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association, NECA, Dr Timothy Olawale, have emerged.

Dr Olawale died Friday after a brief illness.

In announcing his death on Saturday, NECA’s Secretariat in an unsigned statement, said “It is with the deepest sadness that we announce the passing of Dr Timothy Olawale -our Director-General, which occurred on 1st October 2021 at a Hospital in Abuja.

“He is survived by a wife, children and other relatives. We pray the good Lord to grant his family and us all, the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss.

“The Association is in contact with the family and more information will be communicated in due course.”

Meantime, Vanguard sources informed that the workaholic Olawale had a marathon engagement between Tuesday and Thursday.

He attended the Board meeting of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF on Tuesday.

According to an NSITF board member who spoke to Vanguard on the condition of anonymity, the meeting that started in the morning did not end until after 6 pm.

According to the board member, Late “Olawale who was usually very vibrant, was not himself through the meeting. During the course of the meeting his body was changing and he was looking pale. He struggled to contribute throughout the meeting.

“After the meeting, I went to him and asked what was the problem. He told me that he fell down in the hotel and was not feeling well. He said he was having pains in parts of his body. I told him to go to the hospital and take care of himself. I even suggested to him to buy an Aboniki rub to massage his body. I did not know that was the last time I was going to see him.

We were close and he was very vibrant. I will surely miss his jovial nature during board meetings and informal settings. May his soul rest in peace.”

Though Vanguard could not confirm if he went to the hospital on Wednesday, it was gathered, however, that he was at the office of the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency, PPPRA, to submit his passport for the agency to secure an Egyptian Visa.

According to the source, he and some other board members were billed to travel to Egypt on October 9 for a PPPRA sponsored training.

On Thursday, Vanguard gathered that he attended a meeting of the board of the Industrial Training Fund, ITF, in which he was a co-Chairman and several other meetings including advocacy meetings.

According to sources, he planned to return to Lagos on Friday morning, but took ill late Thursday and was taken to a private hospital where he died on Friday.

Olawale was the Executive Secretary Hotel and Personal Services Employers’ Association, before joining NECA,  was confirmed substantive Director-General of the employers’ body in January 2019, after acting for six months.

He succeeded Mr Segun Oshinowo, who retired in 2018 after serving NECA for 19 years as Director-General.

Ngige, NLC mourn

Meanwhile, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris’s Ngige and the leadership of and Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, have expressed shock over his death.

According to a statement by Deputy Director Press and Public Relations, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, Senator Ngige in a condolence message to the association, said,  “ we heard with shock the unexpected news of the death of the Director-General of NECA, Dr Timothy Olaware. We are sorry for your loss and convey our heartfelt sympathy to your Organisation, NECA, and its entire  affiliate Employers’ associations.”

Quoting Seneca, a Roman Philosopher, Ngige said, the Wise Man will live as long as he ought, not as long as he can”.

While extending deep condolences to NECA and to the family of  Olaware, Ngige comforted them with the soothing words of Thomas Moore, saying, ” earth hath no sorrow that heaven cannot heal. May you all find strength in each other as you mourn your loved one and may your many memories of him help to sustain you at this most difficult time.”

On its part, NLC in a statement by its President, Ayuba Wabba, said “It was with great shock that the Nigeria Labour Congress received the news of the sudden demise of the Director-General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), Dr. Timothy Olawale, yesterday, 1st October 2021 in Abuja.

“Dr. Timothy Olawale was in 2019 confirmed as the Director-General of NECA. His succession of Mr. Segun Oshinowo was greeted with great warmth by the social partners as many saw his emergence as a continuation of a tradition of experience and excellence.

“While in the saddle, Dr. Olawale demonstrated a high level of professionalism and camaraderie with other social partners especially labour. He was always very objective in dealing with matters of industrial relations as his work ethos were justice and equity.

“Dr. Timothy Olawale was a great friend of the Nigeria Labour Congress. He was a dependable social partner to Nigerian workers. It is really quite eerie to describe Dr. Olawale in the past tense. He will be greatly missed. His humility, kindness and candour will be greatly missed by all who were privileged to have worked closely with him.

On behalf of the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, we extend our heartfelt condolences to the wife, children, relatives, colleagues and friends that Dr. Timothy Olawale left behind.

“We also convey our condolences to the leadership and staff of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association for this irreparable loss.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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