Dr Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti State Governor paid glowing tributes to distinguished citizens who fought tooth and nail to ensure the creation of the state on Tuesday, October 1, 1996.
Speaking during a state-wide broadcast to mark the 25th anniversary of the creation of Ekiti State on Friday, October 1, the Governor restated the commitment of his administration to the dreams of the founding fathers of the state.
He also paid tributes to military administrators, past elected civilian governors and leaders who held the reins at emergency periods for their contributions to the growth, development and stability of the State.
Dr Fayemi explained that heading the government “at this historic moment” has imposed a responsibility to strive and ensure that the wellbeing of Ekiti people remains the only reason for the policies and programmes of his administration.
The Governor showered encomiums on traditional rulers for leading the state creation diplomacy, traversing the corridors of power and doing everything humanly possible to make the state creation dream a reality.
He also hailed the Committee for the Creation of Ekiti State under the chairmanship of Chief Oladeji Fasuan for using their contacts and resources for the actualisation of the state.
The Governor equally commended the pioneer civil servants “for their doggedness, sacrifice and dedication in spite of the obvious challenges they faced” adding that “many of them sat under trees, some used their cars as offices while many simply operated wherever they could find a space to stand.”
Dr Fayemi used the occasion to pay tribute to all his predecessors including, the late Col Inua Bawa, Navy Capt. Yusuf Atanda, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Mr Peter Fayose and Chief Segun Oni, acknowledging their sacrifices and contributions to the Ekiti project which have seen the state rise to prominence in the Nigerian federation.
He said: “Let me also pay tribute to the founding leadership of the State who gave the leadership that ensured that the State was founded on solid rock. A special tribute to the late Colonel Inuwa Bawa, the pioneer military administrator whose task was to start a new state without a previous experience of how to start a new state.
“We remember with profound gratitude the role of Navy Captain Atanda Yusuf who midwife the State through the transition to democratic order. Immense thanks to Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, CON the first democratically elected Governor of the state, for his service to the State. We acknowledge his historic role as a pathfinder and pioneer of many of the enduring state institutions of today. We thank Mr Peter Ayodele Fayose for his contributions to various aspects of Ekiti growth and development.
“I also pay tribute to Chief Olusegun Oni for his service to our state as Governor. Our State is also grateful to the memory of Late Major General Adetunji Idowu Olurin for his stabilising role at a moment of political uncertainty in the state.
“We acknowledge other leaders who have led the State at various times such as Late Chief Friday Aderemi, Rt. Hon. Tope Ademiluyi and Rt. Hon. Idowu Odeyemi. May God continue to water the seed of service that you all planted in our dear State.”
Dr Fayemi disclosed that his administration has chosen October 30 to celebrate those he referred to as “heroes and heroines of the State Creation movement” through the Ekiti Honours Rolls (Oni Uyi Award) crediting them with paying more than enough price “to have this beautiful state of ours.”
He spoke further: “When we look back now, we have every reason to thank God and the founding fathers who, in spite of the gruelling difficulty, refused to be daunted in their single-minded determination to see that Ekiti was created in the pursuit of rapid socio-economic development of a people who had fought different battles, including the Kiriji War.
“Our progress has shown that the vision which drove the movement for the creation of Ekiti State was not a misplaced one. An eloquent testimony to this is the fact that even though, Ekiti is one of the smallest states in terms of size, income and population, it remains one of the frontline states in terms of human and social development indices.
“It is one of the States with the biggest stock of human capital, social amenities, social investments and steady development paradigms. It is a thing of pride for us to look back at our humble beginnings 25 years ago and to see how far we have come across the various sectors of human development.”
As the nation marks the 61st anniversary of her independence, Governor Fayemi described Nigeria ad “an unfinished business which each generation will continue to work at.”
He said: “As we pay tribute to their service to fatherland, we are to renew our commitment to the task of nation-building and to begin to set objectives that will usher in a new direction on the journey of national development.”
Shortly after the broadcast, Governor Fayemi, joined by top government functionaries commissioned the Deji Fasuan Model College, Ado Ekiti in commemoration of the 90th birthday of Chief Deji Fasuan, who chaired the Ekiti State Creation Committee. The elder statesman clocked 90 on October 1, coinciding with the state’s 25th anniversary.