*Died a day to his 89th birthday
By Ola Ajayi, Olasunkanmi Akoni, Dapo Akinrefon, Gbenga Olarinoye, Gbenga Oke, Rotimi Ojomoyela, Daud Olatunji & Monsuru Olowoopejo
ADO-EKITI—EMINENT Nigerians across the country, yesterday, mourned the demise of former Military Governor of the defunct Western Region, General Olayinka Adebayo, who died in a Lagos hospital. General Adebayo, aged 89, who was military governor of the old Western Region between 1966 and 1971, also served as President of the Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE.
Among those who immediately reacted to the death of the prominent Yoruba leader and elder statesman were the Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose and the monarch of his home town, Oba John Ademola Ajakaiye, who extolled his virtues while commiserating with the family and Nigerians.
Other notable Nigerians and groups who mourned Adebayo’s death included the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Olabode George; former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope; pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere and a former secretary-general of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, Mr Ayo Opadokun.
He lived fulfilled life – Fayose
In a condolence message issued in Ado-Ekiti, Fayose described the late former Military Governor of the old Western State as someone who lived a fulfilled life and was truly an Ekiti man to the core. He said, “General Adeyinka Adebayo was truly an Ekiti man. He was not a bigot and never allowed political considerations to becloud his sense of fairness, honesty and boldness in the face of daunting obstacles. He would always call a spade a spade and would not mind whose ox is gored. Despite the political differences between me and his son, Otunba Niyi, he was forthright in commending our efforts at developing the state, even though we are among the least financially buoyant. He would not allow sentiments to sway his sense of judgement and was a true father to all.”
A devoted father, leader is gone, says Fayemi
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, described him as a devoted father, leader and administrator with uncommon love and commitment for the progress of his people. Fayemi, a former governor of Ekiti State, said the death of the foremost Yoruba leader has robbed the Yoruba race and indeed the country of a true patriot and a great leader.
He was a forthright leader—Bode George
Former Deputy National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George, described the late Adebayo as a forthright leader and statesman. He said, “General Adeyinka Adebayo was a nation builder, a nationalist, a pan-Nigerian unifier whose vision and total focus was the unity and the development of the Nigerian State.”
He was a pleasant character — Babatope
Former Minister of Transport, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, said General Adeyinka Adebayo was a forthright and pleasant character when he was alive. He said: “We do not belong to the same party but he was a pleasant personality, a man of dignity who respected himself. He was never controversial and preached for the unity and progress of Nigeria. He was never divisive, he is a great Nigerian and one of the Yoruba elders that earned himself so much respect while he was alive.”
A great iroko has fallen in Yorubaland—Afenifere
Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere said with Adebayo’s death, a great iroko has fallen in Yorubaland. Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said: “A great iroko has fallen in Yorubaland. He radiated smiles when I saw him in his house six days ago. I never knew it was the last time. He was a great man and with his exit,we have lost another worthy elder in Yorubaland. He will be sorely missed and may his gentle soul rest in peace. We deeply mourn him in Afenifere.”
He was a patriot, nationalist—Oba Ademola Ajakaiye
While commiserating with the family of the departed and extolling his virtues, Oba Ajakaiye, a retired justice, described the late Adebayo as a patriot, nationalist and great Nigerian who was one of the oldest surviving Generals of the Nigerian army.
Oluyin of Iyin, Oba Ajakaye reacts
According to the monarch, the late Adebayo’s tenure as Military Governor of the Old Western Region was instrumental to the rapid development of his state and the region. The monarch said,“Adebayo served as the Governor of Western Region in 1966. It was while he was governor of that region that he became instrumental to the provision of some essential infrastructure to Ekiti. To him goes the credit of splitting Ekiti into four divisions: South, Central, North and West. On account of this, Ekiti was able to develop rapidly all round, rather than merely developing as a division.”
National Chairman of Alliance for Democracy, Chief Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa, said, “he was a great General and lover of Nigeria and the Yoruba in particular. As a former Governor of the old Western Region, he was an amiable person, very effective and a great leader. I respected him”.
Dr. Kunle Olajide, a former Secretary General of the YCE said “his death came to me as a rude shock. It is the end of an era. He was one of the oldest Generals in the country. As a former governor of the old Western region, he played his role creditably well.”
Former Minister of Power and Steel, Elder Wole Oyelese, described him as gentle old man, noting,“during coups and counter-coups, he used his native intelligence to hold the West together in such a difficult time. We need to be grateful to him because he played his part well. He maintained a good relationship with the traditional rulers. The new generation has a lot to learn from him. As a former governor, he lived a humble life. He did not accumulate wealth”.
Ogun State former governor, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, said he was happy that the man witnessed the rebirth of democracy before he departed this world. The ex-governor argued that the deceased contributed to the democracy currently enjoyed by Nigerians today.
Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, lamented that the death of the ex-military governor was a loss to the country. He said, “he did a lot of good to this country.’