By Victor Ogunje
The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has expressed condolences on the death of former Administrator of the State, Brig.-Gen. Adetunji Idowu Olurin (rtd.), who passed on Saturday morning, aged 76 years.
Fayemi, also mourned the death of Pa Olajide Olabode, who once drove the late sage and first Premier of the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Olurin, a former Military Governor of the old Oyo State, served as Sole Administrator of Ekiti State for six months between October 19, 2006 and April 27, 2007 during the state of emergency imposed by the Olusegun Obasanjo Administration in the wake of political crisis that engulfed the state at the time.
Fayemi, in separate statements, by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, on Saturday, described Olurin’s death as a great loss to Nigeria, Ogun State, his home state and Ekiti, which he helped stabilised during the six-month emergency rule.
The governor pointed out that the deceased discharged his duties as the Sole Administrator of Ekiti State with a great measure of fairness and firmness and left some legacies he would be remembered.
Fayemi said although the late Gen. Olurin was a soldier, he was a man of the people who was very much concerned about their welfare and ever ready to solve problems brought to his attention.
The Governor noted that Gen. Olurin brought his humane nature and professionalism to bear during his tenure as the Military Governor of the old Oyo State and while on peace- keeping assignment as the Field Commander of ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) in Liberia.
According to him, the history of how a lasting peace was achieved in the then war- torn Liberia would not be complete without a worthy mention and glowing chapters written on the sterling contributions of the late General Olurin.
He expressed sadness that Gen. Olurin’s demise came just few weeks after the death of a distinguished daughter of Ekiti, Mrs. Abike Sonoiki, who served during the emergency rule as Secretary to the State Government (SSG).
The Governor prayed God to grant the family and associates of the deceased the fortitude to bear the loss, urging them to be consoled by the legacies of service, selflessness and excellence he left behind.
“On behalf of the Government and good people of Ekiti State, I commiserate with the immediate family and associates of our amiable General Olurin. Our prayer is that God will grant the deceased eternal rest and grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.” the governor said.
In another condolence message, Fayemi mourned the death of Pa Olajide Olabode, driver of the first Premier of the Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo
The Ado-Ekiti-born Pa Olabode died on Friday at the age of 89.
Fayemi said Pa Olabode’s demise was painful even though he had lived a long, fulfilling and inspiring life.
The governor who noted that the late Olabode’s life was an inspiring story for many young people who have lost hope of actualizing their dreams, said the deceased had the resilient spirit of excellence which Ekiti people are known for.
He added that though the deceased’s parents could not afford to send him to secondary school having finished Standard five, he was determined to be a successful man and found the right way to make his life count.
Governor Fayemi stressed that Olabode’s story was a fulfillment of the holy writ that “the gift of a man will pave way for him and will make him stand before great men”; adding that the deceased had the opportunity of ‘riding with presidents’ and great leaders which he ordinarily would not have been able to do if had chosen another route to actualize his dream.
Fayemi who asserted that the visit of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and himself to Pa Olabode’s residence in 2019 was a testament that Olabode served the late Awolowo with integrity; saying that Ekiti people, regardless of their status and age are people of integrity.
The governor said the late Olabode would continue to be celebrated as an icon of resilience, excellence and hard work as well as a source of inspiration for everyone who is confronted with challenges at the point of actualizing their dreams.
He prayed God to give the deceased’s family the fortitude to bear the loss.
“Pa Olabode’s death is a great loss to us in Ekiti State. He was a perfect example of the resilient spirit that Ekiti people have whenever they intend to achieve great tasks. He defied his family background and chose the hard way to become a great man like his contemporaries. He was a driver who earned the trust of his bosses. His integrity must have endeared him to Chief J.E. Babatola who introduced him to Chief Awolowo and ended up driving African presidents such as Kwame Nkrumah, Sylvanus Olympio, Julius Nyerere and the great Zik among others”.
“We will never forget how he, in his little way, was able to prove to the world that Ekiti people are hardworking, trustworthy and can do great things. On behalf of the government and people of Ekiti State, I commiserate with Pa Olabode’s family, and pray that the good Lord will console them and give them the fortitude to bear the loss”, the governor said.