Fola-Alade: Obasanjo, Adeboye mourn designer of 1004 Estate, National Stadium, others

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other dignitaries paid glowing tributes to the late Chief Isaac Folayan Alade popularly known as Fola-Alade on Friday.

Funeral services for the internationally-acclaimed architect took place in Lagos and Ekiti States.

Fola-Alade, a native of Aramoko-Ekiti, passed away in June. He would have clocked 88 on November 24.

He designed 1004 Estate, Lagos; the defunct Federal Secretariat building, Ikoyi; National Stadium, Surulere; Remembrance Arcade in Tafawa Balewa Square.

Others include the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base, Ikeja; Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPOSS), Kuru; National Judicial institute (NJI), Abuja; Nigerian Embassy buildings in 11 countries.

Obasanjo described Fola-Alade as a great friend, architect, scholar, civil servant and colleague.

The former leader said the family did not know how close they were until the children found letters he wrote to Fola-Alade during incarceration.

Obasanjo disclosed how his late wife, Stella, hid Fola-Alade’s letters in her bag whenever she visited him in prison.

“Fola was one of those who gave me courage to survive in prison. I looked forward to his letters and also wrote back to make him know I received them.

“I acknowledged all he did for me. He made me develop an affinity for Ekiti and understand the dialect almost to the point of speaking it.

“Working with Fola was delightful and he became a permanent secretary because he was not orthodox. He achieved what he and I wanted for the country”, he said.

Pastor Enoch Adeboye, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) recollected he and Fola-Alade became friends since the first time they met.

“I thank God for the life of my departed friend. I look forward to meeting my friend again on resurrection morning”, Adeboye said.

Lt.-General Alani Akinrinade (rtd) revealed that Fola-Alade brilliantly executed the construction of nationwide accommodation for the military after the war.

“I told him that I wanted to leave the army because of the devastating consequences the first and second coup attempts had on the morale of the army. But he prevailed on me to stay put”, Akinrinade disclosed.

Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi advised the federal government to honour Fola-Alade posthumously.

The foremost pharmacist and legal practitioner said he lived a long, good life in service to the country and is “the kind of architect Nigeria ought to recognise in life and death”.

The deceased graduated from the Nigerian College of Arts & Sciences and Technology, Zaria (now Ahmadu Bello University) in 1961.

Fola-Alade was the first Architect to become a Federal Permanent Secretary in 1976, a post he held until his retirement in 1979.