From Rasaq Ibrahim, Ado-Ekiti
Second Republic Senator Ayorinde Fasanmi departed on Tuesday, showered with eulogies by leaders in the Southwest, the region where he operated as one of the politicians of the progressive hue.
Fsanmi died last week at 94 in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
His remains were interred at his home town Iye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, inside the double decker tomb where his wife was buried, in line with his wish.
There was a commendation service for him organised by the Osun State Government in Osogbo, on Monday. On Tuesday, the Osun State Government handed over his remains to the Ekiti State Government at Itawure, a border town between the two states.
At the short ceremony, Osun State government was represented by the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs Funke Egbemode; Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr Adebisi Obawale; Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Health, Dr Siji Olamiju; and Special Adviser to the Governor on General Administration, Mr Niyi Idowu.
The Ekiti State Government was represented by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Moji Yaya-Kolade; Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Fafure Mojisola; Chairman, Local Government Service Commission, Chief Samuel Abejide; All Progressive Congress (APC) Chairman Paul Omotosho; and Ekiti State APC Welfare Secretary, Otunba Omotayo Kolawole.
From Itawure, the entourage drove in a convoy with Fasanmi’s body conveyed in a white Jeep motorcade to Saint John’s Anglican Church, Iye Ekiti where a church service held.
Fasanmi remains arrived Iye-Ekiti around 11:55am and interred around 1.15pm.
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Ondo State Governor Oluwarotim Akeredolu attended the service and spoke on behalf of the southwest governors.
Governors Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun State), Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), and All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu who each spoke glowingly of the late leader of Afenifere, were represented.
The funeral service which held at the St. Jude Anglican Church, Iye-Ekiti was officiated by the Ekiti Anglican Diocese Bishop, Rt. Rev. Peter Olubowale.
In his sermon, Rev. Olubowale, said Fasanmi was not a noise maker and trouble maker during his time, adding that his transition on earth corroborated that “life is not important, except it has impact on others”.
He urged the people to continually do good to humanity , the way Fasanmi did to his family, political associates and friends by making himself available at the most critical and challenging times.
“We need to be available to ourselves and be committed to God and set goals. Nigeria is in the position it is today, not because we don’t have material and human resources, but we lack commitment to ourselves, set goals, and the welfare of the people.
Urging politicians to promote public welfare, the cleric added: “The suffering in town is much. Use the position you are occupying very well to develop humanity. This is the only way you can gain eternity, the most important reward for all of us, because materialism will lead you to hell fire”.
Ekiti State Deputy Governor Bisi Egbeyemi represented Fayemi while Osun State Deputy Governor Benedict Alabi, stood in for Oyetola. Lagos APC Chairman Tunde Balogun, Senator Olorunnibe Farukanmi, former Ekiti APC chairman Chief Jide Awe and Mr. Ade Ajayi also attended.
Akeredolu said: “Baba living long for 94 years was not what we are celebrating, but we are celebrating how many lives he had impacted. He lived an impactful life.
“He was not petty but he spoke truth to power. He lived a remarkable life and he was one politician who became Senator and came home to rest later. Let politicians of today learn how to be contented and allow this remarkable conduct to guide us”.
Asiwaju Tinubu urged Nigerians to learn from the late politician, who lived a modest and spartan lifestyle Represented by ex- Lagos State Deputy Governor Abiodun Ogunleye, he described Fasanmi as a rare breed, who exemplified selflessness and compassion, adding that his civility and character were worthy of emulation.
The APC stalwart, who described the elder statesman as a mentor and role model, said Fasanmi devoted himself toward progressive development and democratic advancement of the people.
Tinubu, said Fasanmi’s death is a personal loss to him and colossal loss to the progressive family. “Baba died at a critical period when his wealth of experience, knowledge and wisdom was most needed in Nigeria”.
The former Lagos State governor recounted memorable moments he shared with the late elder statesman, saying: “Baba jealously lived for the principles and legacies of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo till he breathed his last. Throughout his forays into politics, he was a consistent progressive”.
Oyetola described Fasanmi’s death as a huge loss to the country and humanity, praying that God should grant his immediate family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
He described the late Yoruba leader as an undiluted progressive whose “life, times and legacy typified the Omoluabi ethos that the State of Osun holds dear.”
He said Fasanmi was one of the few patriarchs who stood to be counted in a nation in search of politics of ideology and principle, adding that he was “a great leader of monumental significance”.
Fayemi described the deceased as one of the country’s unsung heroes, saying his demise had robbed them of a “godfather and counselor”.
He lauded Fasanmi’s contributions to the pro-democracy struggle spearheaded by the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO).
Fayemi said his government was constructing a secondary school to immortalise the deceased for his contributions to Ekiti: “My only regret is that he has now left us before the school will be officially inaugurated for academic activities when schools finally reopen”.
Fayemi in his speech entitled: ‘Tribute to a Man of Integrity’ stressed: “His death has, therefore, robbed me of a godfather, counselor, an advocate and a father. A good man has left us. We will sorely miss him but we are consoled that Baba’s entire adult life was dedicated to selfless service”.
“One legacy for which Baba would be fondly remembered was his credential of incorruptibility. He was a man of tall integrity and honesty. It would be recalled that he was the first to start the Anti-Bribery and Corruption Committee in 1973 under Brig.-Gen. Oluwole Rotimi of the Western Region.
“He would go round roads and highways to arrest police and other enforcement agencies who were collecting bribes on the roads, in his determined commitment to stamp out corruption in Nigeria”.
“Chief Ayo Fasanmi has come, he has seen and conquered. He conquered human cravings, vanity of power, ostentation, greed and malice”.
Sanwo-Olu, represented by his Special Adviser on Civic Engagements, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, said Fasanmi’s influence became more pronounced due to his incorruptible nature.
He said Fasanmi died at a time when the country was desirous of men of good conscience to offer wise counsel in the nation’s drive towards socio-political and economic development.
Fasanmi’s son, Justice Obafemi Fasanmi, who is a judge of the Ekiti State High Court, described his father as a principled man.
He described him as God’s precious gift to Ekiti, Southwest, Nigeria and humanity, adding that his simple life of openness, selflessness, patriotism and diligence made him an outstanding personality worthy of emulation.
He said: “Baba has left enduring legacy. He thought us not to promise what we cannot fulfill. We shall continue to abide by it.
The jurist called on the politicians to emulate his father’s virtues of honesty, openness, contentment, diligence and selflessness, urging them to stop seeing politics as wealth-making enterprise, but an avenue for service to humanity.