Posted by By Sylvester Ebhodagbe and Babatola Adeyemi on
TEN minutes after phoning his wife to say that he was near home and giving directives on the meal to be prepared for him, one of Nigeria's renowned industrialists, Chief Rufus Foluso Giwa, yesterday died in an auto crash on the Lagos - Ibadan expressway.
TEN minutes after phoning his wife to say that he was near home and giving directives on the meal to be prepared for him, one of Nigeria's renowned industrialists, Chief Rufus Foluso Giwa, yesterday died in an auto crash on the Lagos - Ibadan expressway. He was 61.
The former chairman and chief executive of Unilever Nigeria Plc, and two-term president of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) died on the spot when his Lexus car, a four-wheel drive with special registration number R2 GS, somersaulted.
His driver and orderly sustained minor injuries. There was an escort car, which was also not affected by the accident.
The late Giwa, a chartered accountant, had seven children, three male and four female.
He had travelled to his Oke-Agbe, Akoko, Ondo State home town on Friday last week and was returning yesterday for an official engagement. At about 10.10 a.m, according to family members, the late Giwa called his wife to say he was almost home. He demanded the preparation of his favourite meal, which should be ready before his arrival.
Ten minutes after, the wife received another call. Her husband had just died in an accident.
At his 53, Tony Eromosele Street, Parkview, Ikoyi, Lagos home, yesterday evening, the late Giwa's brother, Chief Sumonu, was in deep grief.
He moaned: "It is a disaster and a great loss to the family. It is not just a great loss to the family but a loss to business in Nigeria.
Many sympathisers thronged the residence yesterday. And all were wailing.
Dr. Bode Olajumoke, a neighbour, said the late Giwa and some other persons were supposed to have a meeting in his house. The gathering was waiting for him only to hear of the death.
The Ondo State Governor, Chief Adebayo Adefarati last night expressed "deep shock" at the death, noting that the late Giwa was one of the most illustrious sons of the state.
The governor, The Guardian learnt, was informed of the accident at around 7.45p.m by President Olusegun Obasanjo, who had earlier been told of the death by the Ogun State Governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba.
Adefarati, who had just returned from a campaign tour to Okitipupa area of the state, acknowledged the late Giwa's contribution to the development of his native Oke-Agbe, Akoko area of the state and the country, adding that the foremost corporate mogul would be "sorely missed."
Prophet Samson Ayorinde, who was at the deceased house, prayed for the repose of Giwa's soul.
Family members were understood to be making arrangements to move his body which was in a hospital in Sagamu to Lagos as at yesterday afternoon.
Prominent members of the business community were still in Giwa's house till very late yesterday.
His bosom friend, Samuel Igbayilola Adegbite, in an emotion-laden voice said: "This goes to show that life is a transient thing. You are here today and tomorrow you are no more."
The news of the death filtered into the office of the Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr. Young Arebamen, who said: "he was killed in a motor accident."
He, however, could not confirm the time of the accident, but said it happened about noon.
According to the police commissioner, details of the accident could only be made available by the police at the Sagamu area of Ogun State Command.
Born on April 24, 1942, in Oke Agbe, Akoko, Ondo State, the late Giwa had his primary education at St. George's Anglican School, Oke-Agbe from 1948 to 1954.
He attended a secondary modern school before enrolling at the Teachers Training College, Ikare Akoko, between 1959 and 1960.
After a two-year stint as a teacher, during which he successfully pursued an Advanced-Level programme, he secured admission into the University of Lagos in 1963 and graduated in 1966.
After his graduation and qualification as an accountant, he bestrode the business world like a collossus before his death, rising to become President, Manufactures Association of Nigeria, before he resigned in 2001.
His first post graduation employment was at the Lever Brothers Nigeria Limited where he rose through the ranks to become the company's chairman in 1987.
In 1989, he joined the board of directors of Wema Bank Plc.
A member of the Ogun State University Council, he was also President of University of Lagos Alumni Association between 1988 and 1992.
He was also Chairman, Board of Directors, Ondo State Investment (holding) Company Limited 1986-1987, Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), 1991 to 1993 and Delta Steel Company Limited, Aladja, 1991-1993.
He was a member of the University of Lagos Enterprises Management Board, member council, Nigeria Institute of Management and Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.
He was the chairman of RFG Nigeria Limited and its subsidiaries,..
His chieftaincy titles included the Aro of Afa, Oke-Agbe Akoko; Gbobaniyi of Ilara-Ekiti, Ekiti-State; Jagunmolu, Babalaye of Ibadan, Otunba of Ilara-Mokun, Mayegun of Akoko and Asiwaju of Akokoland.
Happily married, he was also a very religious man. He was the Grand Commander of the Order of Dominica (GCOD) and the founder of St. Mathias Chapel, Oke-Agbe.
Giwa, whose hobbies included table tennis, badminton, writing and photography authored a book. "Thoughts on the Nigerian economy - An Industrialists respective."