By Rotimi Ojomoyela – Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has extolled the virtues of the late former Special Adviser to the President on Education and National Ethics, Chief Samuel Kolawole Babalola, describing his life as worthy of emulation.
Fayemi who spoke at a funeral service held in honour of Babalola at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Ipoti Ekiti in Ijero Local Government Area, said the late presidential aide played politics without bitterness in his lifetime.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, the Governor also described Babalola as a “selfless and honest public servant who served with integrity” saying the late politician’s humility, simplicity, patriotism, and kindheartedness will be sorely missed.
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According to a statement by the Special Assistant (Media) to the Deputy Governor, Odunayo Ogunmola, the late Babalola, who died on July 31 at the age of 89, served as Presidential Adviser on Education and National Ethics between 1999 and 2003 during the tenure of the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
Fayemi noted that Babalola had an exemplary career as “a thoroughbred teacher, iconic educator, and one of the founding fathers of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) where his pioneering role remains indelible.
Describing the death of Babalola as a ” monumental loss to Ipoti Ekiti in particular and Ekiti in general,” Fayemi said the government and people of the state are consoled that the octogenarian lived an eventful life.
He said: “Right from his time in the Western Region Government where he served as Commissioner of Education under Gen Adeyinka Adebayo, Commissioner of Health Health under Brig. Oluwole Rotimi, later as Commissioner of Education in old Ondo State, under Chief Adekunle Ajasin and Special Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief S.K. Babalola distinguished himself as an exemplary leader.
The Governor further hailed Babalola’s contribution to God’s vineyard where he served in various capacities culminating in his role as the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Baptist Convention (NBC).
Fayemi congratulated the family of the deceased on surviving their patriarch urging them to take solace in the fact that Babalola left a good name and lived a good life.
Former Ekiti State Governor, Chief Segun Oni, described himself as one of Babalola’s “political students” saying the deceased mentored many leaders in his lifetime and served diligently in positions he occupied.
Oni said Babalola used politics to serve his people, his home state, and his country and commanded respect of all and sundry.
Delivering the sermon for the funeral service, a Baptist cleric, Reverend Olajide Amos, urged the attendees and other Nigerians to always be prepared for death by living their lives in the service of God their Creator and humanity.
Amos who stressed the need to always fear God said no individual no matter how powerful, rich, famous, and influential in life can take anything away when he dies.
Amos said: “One day you will leave all what you have for another person so it is better to help people in your life with what you have because you don’t know the time, the day, and where you will die.”
He urged privileged Nigerians to always use their wealth, resources, and position to help the poor and assist the less privileged which he noted would serve as a legacy they would be remembered for.
The funeral service also featured bible reading, special prayers for the children of the deceased, and thanksgiving.
The deceased who was a school principal and General Secretary of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) entered partisan politics after his retirement from service.
Babalola, a chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was a member and Chief Whip of the old Ondo State House of Assembly and Chairman of Ekiti State Teaching Service Commission.