Friends and relatives of the late rights activist Ariyo Dare-Atoye on Friday gathered for a service of songs/wake organised in his honour in Abuja.
The event was held at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), the Everlasting Arms Parish (TEAP), Garki, Abuja.
Dare-Atoye, who was the executive director of Adopt A Goal Initiative, died on October 27 in Abuja at the age of 41.
A tearful activist, Deji Adeyanju, described Dare-Atoye as a humble man who was considerate even in his death.
He also described Dare-Atoye as a dependable friend who stood by him for over two decades, even when he (Adeyanju) was arrested and put in prison.
“Dare-Atoye was always diplomatic and I am always the problematic one. I learned so many lessons from him. He was always the peacemaker. He was just amazing and always considerate.
“Even in death he was considerate. He didn’t want to stress anybody. He didn’t want to labour us. He was just an amazing soul,” Adeyanju said.
He said the biggest way to keep the legacies of the deceased was for political actors to play by the rules in the 2023 general elections.
Presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, described Dare-Atoye as a selfless, unassuming and very humble man who was dedicated to the development of democracy in Nigeria.
“He was one of the best mobilisers you have in the activist movements in Nigeria,” he said.
Sowore said it was as if Dare-Atoye knew he was going to die when he called for free and fair elections in 2023 in his tweet, urging all concerned authorities to honour him with the request in the next general elections.
On his part, the director, Abuja School of Social and Political Thoughts, Sam Amadi, said that Dare-Atoye impacted heavily on individuals, electoral reforms, democracy and the nation, more than his age.
Amadi, the former chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), said that Dare-Atoye’s activism was non-partisan.
Yusuf Olaniyonu, a special adviser to former Senate President Bukola Saraki, said that the role played by Dare-Atoye towards passing the 2022 Electoral Act by the National Assembly and towards signing of the bill into law would not be forgotten by Nigerians.
He advised the Federal Government to give Dare-Atoye a posthumous award.
“I think we should not wait for the Federal Government to do so. Every organisation interested in the development of our political process, and the maturity of our electoral process should honour Dare-Atoye for that singular act he stood for,” he said.
A memorial/evening of tribute for him is scheduled for Saturday at Unity Fountain, Abuja, while his body departs Abuja for Ekiti on Sunday, November 6, and burial in Ekiti on Monday November 7.