Some eminent Nigerians have commiserated with the family of late billionaire, Molade Alexander Okoya-Thomas, who died yesterday, aged 79.
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, described the death of Okoya as a huge blow to the community of Nigeria’s businessmen. In a press statement by his media office in Abuja, Atiku noted that the late Okoya-Thomas was a visionary and astute businessman whose contribution to Nigeria’s private sector economy will remain indelible.
“Although the late Molade Okoya-Thomas left the stage at a prime age of 79, his death nonetheless is a huge blow to the community of businessmen in Nigeria.
“He was a pioneer and a visionary. Okoya-Thomas belonged to a generation of private sector investors who saw opportunities in making investments in the economy when it was risky to do so.”
President Goodluck Jonathan, on his part, said he received with immense sadness, news of the death of the leading entrepreneur.
He extended sincere condolence to members of Chief Okoya-Thomas’s family, as well as his friends, associates, business partners within and outside Nigeria, and the people of Lagos where he held the traditional title of Asoju-Oba.
He urged members of the Okoya-Thomas family and all others who mourn the very successful businessman to be comforted by the knowledge that he “lived a very worthy and fulfilled life, and left a legacy of great entrepreneurial achievements for his successors to build on.”
The statement signed by the President Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Dr. Reuben Abati recalled that Chief Okoya-Thomas will also be long remembered and honoured as a very generous philanthropist and sports enthusiast who established the popular Asoju-Oba Table Tennis Championships.
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) described Okoya as an industrialist and philanthropist who “Contributed immensely to private sector development through his various investments.”
“Okoya Thomas was a bridge builder between the public and private sector s in Lagos state. His role in the development of sports is no less remarkable,” said Muda Yusuf, LCCI Director General.
Okoya-Thomas was born in Lagos on 8 June 1935. He studied at Princess School, Lagos, 1946; Balham and Tooting College of Commerce, London, 1956–1959; Columbia University, New York, US, 1981. He was appointed Director, Transcap Nigeria Limited; Director, Niger Motors Industries Limited; Chairman, Studio Press Nigeria Limited and has been the Chairman of CFAO Nigeria Limited since 1987.
Until his death, he was the Chancellor of Lagos State University, chairman of many organisations including CICA (Nigeria) Ltd., Transcap Nigeria Ltd., Oktom Investment Ltd., Itochu Nigeria Ltd., Chiyoda Nigeria Ltd. and Anchoria Investment & Securities Ltd. He also served as Director of NFI Insurance Company Plc and erstwhile Gateway Bank Plc.