Ministers of Health, Isaac Adewole, Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Mines and Steel, Kayode Fayemi, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, Diplomats and staff of United Nations, UN, were among those who paid tributes to late Babatunde Osotimehin in Abuja on Friday.
This was at the celebration of life, organised by the United Nations, UN, system in Nigeria in memorial for Babatunde Osotimehin, who died on 4 June, 2017.
Minister of Health, said “Osotimehin was a mentor and a boss. As we grief with the family, we will also take solace on the legacy the man left behind. He started his career as a young advocate and defender of young people, women, girls, and the children.
He also advocated for demographic dividends and why Nigeria must use a more aggressive approach. We are proud of this man and his outstanding achievement and legacies and we believe his legacies will live forever”.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, in his tribute said “We are here not to mourn but to celebrate a great Nigerian life. A former Minister of Health, who dedicated his life not only to our father land but to humanity. Any nation on earth would be proud to have him as one of their own. It was not surprising that international communities appointed him as Executive Director of United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA,.
“Since his passing on the 4th of June, the narrative about his contribution to global health has been wonderful and even this morning people are talking about his humility.
“I want to place it on record our immerse gratitude to the international community for giving him the opportunity to serve the world in the capacity as Executive Director and Under Secretary of UN.
“As Minister of Health, he mobilized all the ministries of the 36 states of the federation to built and developed Health plan that focuses on Primary Healthcare and ensure that medical institutions in Nigeria treat gun shots and accident victims before any other thing.
He was an advocate of reproductive health and reproductive rights”.
The UN Resident Coordinator’s, Edward Kalllon, in his tribute said “Babatunde never saw human suffering as a challenge. He saw in our suffering the opportunity to serve. No wonder he was so committed to ending maternal mortality.
“He saw himself as a child in a mother’s womb who needs the mother for nurturing care and support at birth. That is why he committed himself to ensuring that no woman should die while giving life or discriminated against for just being a woman”.
Funke Osotimehin, the wife of the deceased, said since his passing ,the tributes had helped the family to bear the loss. And thanked everyone for the tributes.