Gbenga Aluko: His Life and Death

Gbenga Aluko: His Life and Death

Sunday, November 21, 2021 9:45 am

Gbenga Aluko,

Senator Daniel Olugbenga Aluko, son of the late Economic Professor, Sam Aluko, died of heart attack on Saturday, 20 November, 2021 in Abuja.
Aluko who was Senator from Ekiti South constituency between 1999 and 2003, slumped and died after he was rushed to the hospital.

Aluko was born on 20 July 1963, to Professor Sam Aluko, a native of Ode in Ekiti State of Nigeria. Olugbenga Aluko attended Federal Government College, Ilorin, and then was admitted to the University of Benin, graduating in 1982 with a degree in Geography and Regional Planning. He went on to the College of Energy and Petroleum Studies, Oxford, England for a Post Graduate Course in International Oil Trading and Pricing. Positions held between 1983 and 1999 included Managing Director/CEO of HYGYNIX, Executive Director of Baseline Petroleum and Chemicals and Executive Chairman of Independent Strategists. He was appointed Special Assistant to the Minister of Transport and Aviation and General Manager of Nigeria Shipper’s Council from 1993 to 1999.
After taking his seat in the Senate in June 1999 Aluko was appointed to committees on Selection, Senate Services (vice chairman), Aviation, Women Affairs, Finance and Appropriation, Social Development and Sports and Local and Foreign Debts. He was appointed Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate. Later he was appointed Vice Chairman of the Gas Committee and Chairman of the Petroleum Committee. Aluko was opposed to plans to privatize the Nigerian Mint. He was appointed Chairman of an ad hoc committee to investigate the controversial closure of Savannah Bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria. In September 2002, he seconded a motion to set up an ad hoc committee to investigate alleged constitutional and budgetary breaches committed by President Olusegun Obasanjo, which could be grounds for impeachment. In October 2002, Aluko replaced Oserheimen Osunbor as Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Independent National Electoral Commission.
After leaving the Senate, Aluko continued in private enterprise, holding a controlling interest in Alstegg and Midlands, a Civil Engineering Firm and serving as a Director of Crest Healthcare, Consultant to DFID on Parliamentary Matters and Director of Government Affairs with Chevron Nigeria.
Aluko is survived by his wife, Sileola and five children, including the footballers Eniola and Sone.

His family philosophy was provided by his late father in the following piece:

Value System: Day My Father Asked Where I Got New Car

By Sam Aluko

Shortly after I returned from Britain in 1959, with a PhD in Economics, I went home to visit my parents. My wife and I were driven to the village in our new car which we purchased with money provided by the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Ibadan, which was then my employer.’

Professor Sam Aluko

After being well received by my family and the entire village community and we retired into our bedroom, my father and my mother came quietly into the room, called me and inquired very calmly but firmly how, so soon after my arrival from England I was able to possess a car.’*

They were worried that I should not soil the family by possessing a vehicle beyond my financial capacity. When I told them that it was the FG that bought the car for me, to repay the cost over time, and that even my wife was also entitled to a similar facility so that we could have two cars, if we so desired, but for modesty we decided to have one, they were greatly relieved.’

They didn’t want any corruption allegations against me and against the family that gave me birth. And it was one of the smallest cars of that era. Now, in the same village, some of my family members pooh-pooh me for coming to the village in a Peugeot station wagon car when even junior public officers and minor political office holders ride the latest Jeeps, Mercedes Benz and other cars out of the ordinary.’

Few Nigerians today, bother about the source of wealth or affluence of fellow Nigerians. The honoured and the honourable are those with money and property. Honesty is no longer the best policy.’

*The Late Professor Sam Aluko on corruption and national development, the 2008 Bala Usman memorial lecture at CEDDERT. Zaria, 31, May 2008

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