The late Afenifere leader, Senator Ayo Fasanmi, has been described as one of the country’s heroes who lived exemplary life worthy of emulations by all and sundry especially in the Nigeria Political terrain.
This was the submission of clerics and Political leaders on Tuesday at the internment ceremony of the Late Pa Ayo Fasanmi, a second republic senator who died July 29, at the age of 94.
The Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi said Fasanmi’s contributions to the development of democracy cannot be quantified, highlighting his role in the formation and operation of the defunct National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) that fought against military imperialism in the country.
Fayemi stated that his government is at present constructing a secondary school to honour the deceased for his contributions to Ekiti, saying: “my only regret was that he has now left us before the school will be officially inaugurated for academic activities when schools finally reopen.”
The remains of the highly revered Afenifere leader was buried in his country home, Iye-Ekiti in Ilejemeje Local Government Area of Ekiti State amidst heavy downpour of tributes.
The casket carrying Fasanmi’s corpse was conveyed in a white Jeep motorcade belonging to six Feet (6FT) Event Planning Company to the church procession held at Saint John’s Anglican Church, Iye-Ekiti.
Fayemi in his speech entitled : ‘Tribute to a Man of Integrity’, said what actually admired him to the deceased was his integrity, which bore eloquent testimony to immaterialistic life and added more respect to his incorruptible nature.
“His death has, therefore, robbed me of a godfather, counsellor, 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.”
Fayemi added that Baba belonged in the class of the youths of the 1950s when the nationalist movement was at its feverish peak, and got indoctrinated into nationalism struggle through the forceful writings of Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe and his contemporaries who used the instrumentality of the media to etch an indelible impression on the minds of the young students of that era.
“He proved his political mettle in 1964 when he was elected as a member of the Federal House of Representatives before the military struck in 1966 and he got imprisoned in Agodi Prison before he was later released.
“By the time democracy returned in 1979, he was a major participant in the politics of that time in the old Ondo State. He offered to serve as governor of the old Ondo state in 1978 and slugged it out with Chief Michael Adekunle Ajasin who defeated him in the primary.
“He eventually went to the Senate along with other iconic Ekiti bests such as Prof. David Oke and Prof Banji Akintoye where they distinguished themselves and became exemplars.
“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 Col. 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”, he said.
In his sermon, the Bishop of Ekiti Oke, Anglican Communion, Reverend Peter 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 impacts on others.”
The man of God urged the people to continually do good to humanity, the way Fasanmi did to his family, political associates, friends and companions, 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.
“Nigerians are number one people in the world that are easy to govern. They have patience, zeal and elastic in endurance. When you think they will fall, they will just stand and be looking and I think our political leaders will not play too much on this.
“Many of us no longer have trust in this nation. No trust in ourselves, no trust in our leaders. Baba has told us that all these monies you are spending and the one you are keeping inside bullion vans and the ones being stashed in banks accounts, all is vanity.
“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.”
The All Progressives Congress National leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was represented by former Lagos Deputy Governor, Prince Abiodun Ogunleye, said Nigerians should learn from the late politician, who lived a modest and spartan lifestyle.
Tinubu described Fasanmi as a civilian revolutionist and a politician of outstanding quality, civility and character, who is worthy of emulation.
Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by Special Adviser on Civic Engagements, Princess Aderemi Adebowale, said Fasanmi’s influence became more pronounced by his incorruptible nature.
Speaking on behalf of the Southwest Governors, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, said the news of the passage of the Icon was a loss to Yoruba race and Nigeria at large.
“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.”
Present at the church procession were: former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Governors of Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu, Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Ekiti Deputy Governor, Bisi Egbeyemi and his Osun State counterpart, Mr Benedict Alabi.
Others include: APC Chairman in Lagos, Tunde Balogun, Senator Olorunnibe Farukanmi, Chief Jide Awe, Hon Ade Ajayi, among others.