LEADERS on Monday honoured Second Republic Senator Ayorinde Fasanmi during the first leg off his funeral programme in Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
It was at a commendation service held at the All Saints Cathedral, Agoro, Osogbo.
The Funeral service and burial will take place today in his home town Iye-Ekiti.
In attendance at Monday’s service were Osun State Governor Gboyega Oyetola, his deputy Benedict Alabi, House of Assembly Speaker Timothy Owoeye and elder statesman Chief Bisi Akande were among eminent Nigerians.
Fasanmipassed on last week. He was 94. The Ekiti-State-born politician lived and worked in Osogbo.
Also at the service were former Army chief Gen. Alani Akinrinade; Governor Oyetola’s wife Kafayat; former Lagos deputy governor Prince Abiodun Ogunleye; who represented All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; Senator Olabiyi Durojaye; Senator Ajibola Bashiru; Chief of Staff Dr. Charles Diji Akinola; Commissioner for Information Civic Orientation Mrs. Funke Egbemode; Chairman, Amotekun Corps’ Governing Board, Brig.-Gen. Isa Ademola; and Osun APC Chairman Gboyega Famodun, among others..
The Ataoja of Osogbo, Oba Jimoh Olanipekun Oyetunji was represented by Chief Jimoh Buraimoh.
The service, which was conducted in strict observance of COVID-19 protocols, was officiated by the Dean of the Cathedral, Ven. Olugbenro Fabuluje.
The priests urged Oyetola to immortalise the former Afenifere leader because of his contributions to the scio-economic and political development of the State.
Oyetola, in a tribute, described the late Yoruba leader as an undiluted progressive whose “life, times and legacy typify the Omoluabi ethos that the State of Osun holds dear.”
He said the deceased served Nigeria with passion without expecting any benefits in return, adding, he was one of God’s generous donations to humanity.
The governor said Fasanmi was one of the few patriarchs who stood to be counted in a nation in search of politics of ideology and principle and described him as “a great leader of monumental significance”.
Oyetola added: “Pa Ayo Fasanmi conscientiously promoted, projected and lived for the principles and legacies of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo till he breathed his last. Throughout his forays into politics, he was consistent as a progressive.
“Despite losing to a colleague, Pa Adekunle Ajasin, in the Unity Party of Nigeria’s (UPN) governorship primary in 1978, he remained a committed party man and worked for the success of the party’s candidate.
“Pa Fasanmi was a distinguished son of Ekiti who found home in the State of Osun and worked tirelessly for the progress of the Yoruba race as an Afenifere leader. Every 30 minutes at Pa Fasanmi’s feet was worth more than reading scores of books on politics.
“Pa Fasanmi was a passionate believer in a better Nigeria. He was ever seeking to enrich and expand the frontiers of socio-political knowledge, encourage mass political participation and to offer selfless service to build a successor generation.
“Pa Fasanmi was a beacon of hope for a new Nigeria and an encouragement to the younger generation of politicians and public administrators.”
Ven. Fabuluje recalled the contritions of Fasanmi to the growth of the Church and Osogbo, where he lived for decades.
He said: “Baba introduced anti-corruption war. He was an honest man. He shunned corruption. He was a nationalist. He fought for democracy when other people were running away. All these were considered before we made him Chief Mayegun of our church. Baba always helped the church.
“I want to plead with Governor Adegboyega Oyetola, to do all that is within his capacity to immortalise this man. He is not an indigene of this state yet he behaved as one. The Osogbo community should know that they need to do something in respect of this man so that his name will not be erased from Osogbo.
“I admonish believers to work before God. Let us shun pen robbery. It was one of the things that Pa Fasanmi fought against in his lifetime. The most dangerous thing that is working against our comfort as a nation is pen robbery. Where thousand is changed to billions of naira and we bleed the nation to death, let us all rise and fight against corruption. That is when God will be happy with us and it shall be well with us.”
The President of Yoruba World Congress (YWC) Prof Banji Akintoye said Fasanmi was among patriots who assisted the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo to actualise his policies as the premier of the defunct Western Nigeria.
Akintoye, in a statement in Ado-Ekiti, said the team sacrificed and worked assiduously in ensuring the masses enjoyed dividends of democracy.
The Second Republic Senator said Fasanmi’s death was as a personal loss to him and a huge loss to the people of Southwest in particular and Nigeria in general.
“He championed the fight against corruption during the golden era when we both served as senators representing Ekiti division of the old Ondo state in the second Republic National Assembly of 1979 to 1983.”