Tributes from the arts and political sectors poured in on Friday for the late Segun Olusola, one-time Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia and a cultural icon.
Olusola, who died at the age of 77 in a Lagos hospital on Thursday, was also a renowned broadcaster and playwright who produced the popular television drama series ‘’Village Headmaster’’ which ran on Nigerian stations for many years.
Bolaji Rosiji, a former President of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria PMAN, in Lagos that the late Olusola was an icon whose shoes would be difficult to fill.
He described him as a legend, statesman, philanthropist and universal ambassador, who was a very close ally of the arts industry.
"He was always there for anyone whenever he was called upon to assist in any form in any event.
``He came early when invited to events and I wonder where he got his strength from,’’ he said.
Rosiji said that Olusola also played a remarkable role in African peace by helping displaced people and would always be fondly remembered.
``He was a patron for universal peace in the country and his foundation African Refugees Foundation (AREF) was created to help resettle people that were displaced in crises,” he said.
A musician and actress, Ms Stella Monye, told NAN that the late Olusola was an upright and serious-minded person in whatever he did.
``He contributed to anything arts and he was passionate about it.
``He did not get involved in anything shaddy and was always ready to help positively,” she said.
A veteran artist, Bruce Onobrakpeya, said that Nigeria had lost a great man and the arts sector, a huge icon.
``The arts sector will greatly miss his contribution following his sudden exit.
``His literary advice will be missed,” he said.
A poet and playwright, Odia Ofeimun said that the late Olusola stood up for the arts at all times.
``It is sad, we will miss him,” he said.
The Chairman, National Association of Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), Lagos State, Mufu Onifade, also told NAN that the late Olusola was ``a mighty tree with deep roots in virtually all areas of the arts.’’
``He was a market with many roads leading to him and every individual chose his own route to benefit from him.
``He was more than an icon,’’ Onifade said, describing him as a ``cultural legacy personified and a compulsory factor in the media’’.
The NANTAP chairman noted that Olusola’s play, ``Tears of Sympathy”, culminated in the establishment of AREF.
``He is a great loss to the Nigerian theatre, arts, diplomacy, humanitarianism and the Nigerian nation at large.
``He is a great loss to Africans too,” he said.
NAN reports that members of the Pro-National Conference (PRONACO), also described the death of the ace broadcaster, as a big blow to the organisation.
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Mr Wale Okuniyi, the PRONACO expressed regrets that Olusola was to participate in a parley of its national steering committee next Tuesday in Lagos.
"Olusola, an illustrious son of Ogun and a close associate in the struggle to restructure the country for harmony and stability, died at a time when he was most needed by the country.
"While commiserating with his family and the entire citizens of Ogun, we regret the reality of missing his usual robust and ebullient interventions.
"Olusola has already indicated his interest to participate fully in the renewed process of stemming the ongoing bloodletting and killings in some parts of the country before being suddenly snatched away by death," PRONACO stated in Lagos.
It described the late ambassador as a role model with unparalleled diligence and commitment to issues affecting the masses.
"He was hardly provoked on any matter; rather, he devoted most of his adult life to settling disputes.
"He is indeed an eminent leader of thought and remains one the greatest Nigerians who bestrode the social plane of our country with first class impacts.
``Olusola is indeed a hero in death.
``One of the ways Olusola can be honoured is for eminent national leaders meeting in Lagos next Tuesday to ensure that the latest process of national consultations lead to proper negotiations and reconciliation," it said.