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Ace broadcaster, Toba Opaleye, dies

Posted by By Moshood Adebayo, Abeokuta on 2006/05/02 | Views: 6472 |

Ace broadcaster, Toba Opaleye, dies


Death dealt a severe blow on the house of journalism in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, as two of its brightest sons, ace broadcaster, Toba Opaleye and The Sun's Correspondent, Lanre Sorunke, died in the early hour of yesterday.

Death dealt a severe blow on the house of journalism in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, as two of its brightest sons, ace broadcaster, Toba Opaleye and The Sun's Correspondent, Lanre Sorunke, died in the early hour of yesterday.

Opaleye, who had been battling with kidney problems for over a year, gave up the struggle for survival at the Eko Hospital, Ikeja Lagos. He was aged 49.

On his part, Sorunke was hale a hearty until last night when he suddenly complained of cold. Before his wife of over a decade could rally help, he collapsed and was confirmed dead at the Sacred Heart Hospital.

Sorunke, who also worked as correspondent in Akure and Port Harcourt for defunct National Concord left behind a wife, Deola, and three children. The eldest is Biola, 16, a Senior Secondary School student of May Flower School, Ikenne.

Biola's siblings are Ayo, 10 and Oreoluwa, 8. Sorunke has since been buried at his family compound at Ijemo Agbadu in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of the state.
He was said to have returned to the Ogun State capital for a family event which he attended along with his family and some professional colleagues. He left behind aged parents, who were still shocked at the burial yesterday.

Chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Ogun State Council, Mr Deji Odunlami and the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mr Demola Badejo, described the death as devastating
"This is too much to bear for jounarlists in a day. It is tragic and sudden," Badejo said, while Odunlami added: "It is a great loss not only to the family but to the entire journalists in the state irrespective of whether in the print or electronic."

In a sermon, Imam Rateeb of Ijemo-Agbadun, Mudieen Bakenne, said death was inevitable in the life of every mortal. According to him, everybody in life must taste death no matter his or her status in life.
"Whether we like it or not, every mortal must taste death. It is a bitter pill that everyone must taste," he said.

Bakenne, in his funeral sermon, consoled Lanre's wife, his children, aged parents and colleagues, saying, "death must knock at everybody's door when the time comes."
Sorunke joined The Sun titles about two years ago and was posted to Ekiti State as Senior Correspondent.


Commenting on Opaleye’s death, Badejo said the state government did everything humanly possible to save his life. "We have been very close. He has been a personal friend for 25 years and professional colleague for 26 years. We have been very close.

"You will recall that the state government rendered necessary assistance by flowing him abroad. And when he came back and the illness relapsed, he had to be taken to the Eko Hospital where he died."
He expressed the hope that the late broadcaster's family would allow the State government to be part of the burial arrangements.

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