Death has robbed Nigeria of a corporate communications expert in the person of Austin Edoja-Peters, former Head of Corporate Affairs at Access Bank and until his death Communications Adviser at Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
It was learnt that Edoja-Peters died in an Abuja hospital late on Friday night, January 23, barely hours after being admitted in connection with stomach pains.
A source at the NSIA head office in Abuja said: “He was in the office on Thursday but couldn’t come on Friday. He complained of stomach pains on Friday morning and was taken to the hospital. We were shocked to later hear that he had died around 11pm.” The source disclosed that the late corporate communications expert had a history of ulcer.
Aged 42 years, Austin Edoja-Peters graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and later attended Manchester Business School, England.
He left Access Bank in 2012 after seven years as Head of Corporate Affairs and joined GTBank as Relationship Manager. He was to leave GTBank for NSIA early last year.
Austin, who hailed from Delta State, described himself as a “banking and marketing communications professional with a strong socio-political proclivity” in his LinkedIn profile. He said about his mission: “To actively partake in the instigation of positive change; per ecosystem-per time.” As for his passion, he simply wrote: “The welfare of the people.”
Friends and colleagues have been paying tribute to Austin while lamenting his untimely death. Mourning his former boss, Segun Fafore of Access Bank’s Corporate Communications Department lamented: “Austin, announcement of your death was the very last thing I expected to hear about you. This came to me as a rude shock! I never imagined that you would quit this battlefield called Life just about this time.”
Segun described the late Austin as someone who had “the richness of life in him.” Paying tribute to him, he wrote:
“You struggled to surpass yourself even when your background posed enough barrier to the extent you could go. With sheer courage and naked determination, you suppressed those impediments to create a beautiful path for yourself, and redirected the destiny of those who are related to you.
“Through dedication, hard work and focus, you gradually began to lead your siblings to accomplishments and became for them, the harbinger of hope every family would desire. Fair of failure created in you an irritating level of intolerance which can only be untangled by those who are familiar with your story and aspirations.
“I stand, watching you lead the path, in glowing energy, bearing a flame of hope that would eventually succumb to the cyclone of life. For your refreshing perspectives and unusual empathy, friends and associates will miss you.
“Austin was that guy next door who shared our drinks and cracked jokes with everyone last night. Imagine him on the same pew with you with a copy of newspaper in his hands, heartily discussing Nigerian politics in his typical manner.
“Yes, he was that close.
“Austin, I know you loved your twins very dearly, and deeply too. Oghenekaro and Oghenekome were enough reasons for you to live. Your love for your youthful wife, Awele and the value you placed on your ties with your siblings and other family members could have deafened your ears to the great call.”
Fafore prayed that God “should show abundant mercy and kindness on your household and family by raising for them a greater beacon of hope who will assuage the pain of your exit,” concluding: “Augustine Onaiwu Edoja-Peters, goodnight!”