Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
The Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, has commended the late former Governor of the old Ondo State, Evang. Bamidele Olumilua for his heroic fight that enlisted Ondo as an oil producing State during his tenure.
Fayemi said the outstanding political will and courageous action taken by Olumilua while presiding as a governor of the Old Ondo State between 1992-1993, led to revenue breakthrough engendering infrastructural face-lifting for the neighbouring state today.
Fayemi spoke during a commendation service held for the Old Ondo State Governor, Evangelist Bamidele Ishola Olumilua in Ado- Ekiti, on Wednesday.
The elder statesman, Olumilua, an indigene of Ikere Ekiti, who was the governor of the old Ondo State between 1992 and 1993, died on June 4, 2020, at the age of 80 .
The old Ondo comprised the present Ondo and Ekiti States before the latter was carved out by the military regime of Gen. Sanni Abacha in 1996.
In his tribute at the service held at the Adetiloye Hall in Ado-Ekiti, Fayemi said: “one important legacy of the administration of Evangelist Olumilua as a governor was the eventual enlistment of Ondo State as an oil producing state.
“He worked relentlessly to actualise this. He also facilitated the establishment of the Oil Minerals Producing and Development Commission(OMPADEC) in 1992.
“He had a star-studded team and in fact, his then Attorney-General, Chief Wole Olanipekun(SAN) practically drafted the bill that established the commission. He worked hard to get the commission which has now been replaced by the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC) established.
“When the first tranch of N250m accrued to the state as an oil producing state, Evang Olumilua insisted the money must be put in a dedicated account to pursue his dream of modern urbanisation project of some select towns in the then Ondo State.
“His thought was for the state to be economically competitive, because some towns needed to be deliberately transformed into modern cities where people could work, stay and enjoy their lives.
“This was commendable and I had seen the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) commended this lofty achievement of Pa Olumilua, which I believed would lead to more revenue inflow to the state.”
Fayemi said Olumilua was a detrabilised leader, saying not even agitation for the creation of Ekiti by his kinsmen could sway him as a sitting governor, which he said some misinterpreted to mean an act of betrayal of trust.
“As the incumbent Governor with a mandate to govern the whole state where Ekiti was a subset, he frequently ran into disagreement with some of his Ekiti compatriots who genuinely wanted Ekiti to be created of Ondo State.
“What we are doing today is a celebration of life and importance of Pa Olumilua in Ekiti State and Nigeria, because he had left an intimidating legacy and he will continue to live in the minds of the people.
“Bamidele Olumilua belonged among great men during his lifetime. He was cerebral and had high oratorical prowess. His time was not only eventful, but his legacies were superb and efforts must be made to sustain them.”
In his short sermon, a man of God, Pastor Ola Omoseebi, said Olumilua had taught a lesson of how our leaders can shun materialism, arrogance and corruption that had been the bane of leadership in this country with his spartan and disciplined nature.
“Pa Olumilua was not materialistic ,neither was he arrogant. He was close to the rich and poor and never discriminated against anyone. He was modest in lifestyle and that was a good legacy for all of us.
“As the Chairman of the National Christain’s Pilgrimage Board under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, he resigned before the expiration of his tenure, that was a sign of contentment which many of our leaders lacked today.”
Dignitaries at the event were: Governor Fayemi, family of the deceased, led by the Commissioner for Information, Aare Muyiwa Olumilua, Deputy Governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, the first lady, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, and the Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon. Funminiyi Afuye.
Others included: Secretary, Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr Kunle Olajide, members of the State executive Council, All Progressives Congress(APC) leaders, Corporate organisations and businessmen.