2020 has been quite challenging as the entire year has been dominated by coronavirus disease. The nation has witnessed the loss of prominent and influential individuals in the nation. While the majority died as a result of the pandemic, others were due to other health challenges. These well-known individuals will always be remembered for the role they played in society and their input over the years.
Abba Kyari, the powerful chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari was one of the first high-profile Nigerian to be killed by coronavirus. He died at 77 on Friday, April 17, 2020. He was touted as the most powerful figure in the presidency as he controlled all official access to the President. He was responsible for directing key meetings and granting ministers audience with the President.
Late Kyari was an Editor with the New Africa Holdings Limited Kaduna from 1988 to 1990. He was also a Commissioner for Forestry and Animal Resources in Borno State. From 1990 to 1995, he also served as the secretary to the board of the African International Bank Limited, a subsidiary of Bank of Credit and Commerce International.
Jonathan Adewumi. He was a New York based fashion enthusiast who owned a fashion company known for Nigerian design. He dressed well-known celebrities such as Stevie Wonder. He also explored other areas like creating a Nigerian film festival and a Brooklyn restaurant that brought together people in diaspora. Although Adewumi grew up abroad, he carried his cultural identity with him. He died at 57 on April 17, 2020, at Bayonne Medical Center in New Jersey owing to covid-19 complications.
Senator Abiola Ajimobi, a political elite, he was also a victim of the pandemic. The former two-time governor of Oyo State died on the 25th of June, 2020 at 70. He served as a Consumer Product Manager of the National Oil and Chemical Marketing Company in 1979 becoming the youngest manager to occupy such a position. Ajimobi served as an Executive Director in charge of management services at the United Bank for Africa (UBA) and later became the Chief Executive Officer. He was appointed a board director of Unilever in 2002 and also served on the board of Exxon Mobil Nigeria. He voluntarily retired in 2003 after 26 years of service in the Oil industry.
He shifted to politics and became a Senator of the Republic of Nigeria in 2003. He won the Oyo state governorship election in 2011 under the All Progressive Congress (APC) and also won the second term on April 11, 2015, making him the first governor to be reelected in succession. He was the acting National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress till he died.
Kayode Odumosu, popularly called Pa Kasumu was a renowned Nollywood Actor. The 66-year-old veteran started his acting career as a teenager. His debut role was in 1968 in a stage play ‘Iyawo Orun’. In 1969, he featured in his breakout play titled ‘Omo Ekere’..
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Odumosu disclosed in 2015 that his health deteriorated shortly after returning from India where he went for treatment as the sickness affected his eyesight and memory. He died on the 1st of March 2020 in a private hospital at Abeokuta, Ogun State. Some of his memorable works include Babie Á (2003), Jesu Mushin (2002), and Sàngó: The Legendary African King (1998).
Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek was a renowned Nigerian music icon. His album ‘Prisoner of Conscience’ which includes the multiple award-winning single ‘Send Down the Rain’ became the most popular song of the year. In 1989, he won six PMAN awards for ‘Song of the Year’, ‘Album of the Year’, and ‘Reggae Artist of the Year’ among others. He had also worked with several global artists such as Tracy Chapman, Jimmy Cliff, Micheal Jackson, Snoop Dogg, and Beyonce.
Fashek was battling esophageal cancer which critically affected his health. He was hospitalized at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, England. He died aged at 57 in his sleep on Tuesday morning, June 2, 2020, in New York.
Air Commodore (retired) Idongesit Nkanga was a former governor of Akwa Ibom State from September 1990 to January 1992. Nkanga commissioned the Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation in 1991. He was a member of the board of the Cooperative Development Bank in May 2001. Also, in 2001, he was appointed Chairman of the Akwa Ibom Airport Implementation Committee. He was a strong supporter of Governor Godswill Akapbio in December 2009 and a member of the South-South Elders and Leaders’ Forum. Nkanga died on the 24th of December 2020 due to covid-19 complications.
Chico Ejiro was a popular Nigerian Filmmaker, screenwriter, and producer. He is also called Mr. Prolific. Just within five years, he directed over 80 movies. Although the number of movies he produced as a director and producer is yet unknown, however as of 2007, he was said to have produced over one hundred movies.
Ejiro died on Friday morning, 25th of December 2020. He was said to have been ill for about five weeks and admitted to a hospital at Surulere. A source disclosed that he had high blood pressure and was recuperating before his sudden death.
Chief Bode Akindele was a well-known industrialist and the Parakoyi of Ibadanland. Ventures Africa conducted a survey in 2013 that placed Chief Akindele’s estimated net worth at $1.9billion. He was also ranked the 16th richest person in Nigeria by BuzzNigeria.
Akindele founded the Madandola Group, an organisation focusing on maritime, manufacturing, real estate, financial, and flour milling industries. It has its headquarter in the United Kingdom.
In 1993, he bought a Swedish match manufacturing company that dominated the global match market. He became the single largest controller of over one-third of the world’s matches market. He is also the CEO of Fairgate Group, an international company that is into real estate and property. Its headquarter is also in London, England. The company owns several properties across the UK that are rented to well known retail stores such as Walmart, Asda, and Sainbury’s. Akindele died aged 87 on June 29th, 2020 at his residence in Apapa.
Ibidunni Ighodalo was well known for her foundation that helps families struggling with infertility challenges as she also battled the same challenge. Ighodalo was a former beauty queen, an event management expert, a philanthropist, and a co-pastor of Trinity House Church. She is also the CEO of Elizabeth R, a public relations and Events Company.
She became the first-ever winner of the Miss Lux Beauty Pageant in 1999. This kick-started her career in event management. Elizabeth R was established in 2003, an event management and public relations company.
Her marriage in 2007 to Pastor Ituah Ighodalo of Trinity House Church yielded no children. The family decided to adopt two kids. During an interview, she disclosed her struggles with having kids and her long visit to hospitals. Ibidun revealed during the interview that she had done IVF 11 times and all failed. During her last attempt, she got pregnant with twins. She, however, lost the pregnancy after three months. Her experiences birthed the establishment of Ibidunni Ighodalo Foundation..
Mrs. Ibidunni died of cardiac arrest on the 14th of June 2020 in Port Harcourt.. She died a month before her 40th birthday.
Chief Harry Akande was a renowned business tycoon and the Agba Oye of Ibadanland, Oyo State. He once vied for the presidential position on the platform of the defunct All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP). Akande was touted as the richest Nigerian until the emergence of Alhaji Aliko Dangote. The front page of The Punch (2001) reported that Chief Akande earned a monthly income of $533 million.
Akande worked as a financial consultant with KPMG Peat Marwick and Standard Oil Corporation. He later went on to establish his company in 1971 becoming the President of New African Technical & Electrical Company (NAFTEC), a representative company of General Electric (GE) America. The company handled major gas turbine electricity projects at Ughelli, Ijora, and Delta II-IV.
Chief Harry died aged 77 on December 5, 2020, after a brief illness. Although a statement released by the family did not reveal the cause of his death, a source close to the family hinted that the late billionaire might have died of complications from COVID-19.
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