Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio Our Correspondentsâ€¨
The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio, Tuesday condoled the government and the people of Ekiti State on the death of the state Deputy Governor, Mrs Funmilayo Olayinka.
Olayinka, who died last Saturday, after battling with cancer of the breast, was aged 52.
Akpabio in a statement described the late deputy governor as one of the great champions of gender equality and women empowerment in Nigeria and noted that she led an exemplary life worthy of emulation.
He described her as an iconic stateswoman broke ceilings for women in her lifetime, not only with her political travails but also with her self-discipline, integrity and patriotism.
Reacting also, Akpabio’s counterpart from Cross River State, Senator liyel Imoke, expressed shock and sadness at the passing away of Olayinka.
In a condolence statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Christian Ita, Imoke said although words seem inadequate to express the sorrow felt by her loss, “we must try to see beyond her demise and focus on the memories of her good works and life long achievements.”
The governor, however, said: “The thoughts and prayers of the people of cross River State are with her family and people of Ekiti state during this difficult time.”
Similarly, a former Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, described Olayinka, as a great asset to the state.
Kalu, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Oyekunle Ouewumi, said by Olayinka’s death, Ekiti State had lost a great champion of development, accountability and fighter for justice and equity.
Kalu said he was particularly pleased with the role Olayinka played in the Fayemi-led government in the state before her death.
Following the demise of Olayinka, the management of the state university (EKSU), Ado-Ekiti, announced the suspension of the university’s lecture scheduled to be delivered by Prof S.B. Adeyemo of the Faculty of Engineering in honour of the late deputy governor.
The 36th Inaugural Lecture, which was supposed to be delivered Tuesday was postponed to April 15.
A statement by EKSU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Oladipo Aina, said the postponement of the lecture was in tandem with the seven days of mourning declared by the state government.
Also, the Vice-President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), B Zone, Mr. Dele Atunbi, described Olayinka’s demise as shocking, saying it was ‘like the eclipse that darkens the day.’
Atunbi in a statement, commiserated with the state government, urging it to immortalise the deceased by striving hard to make Ekiti the cynosure of all eyes in terms of infrastructural development and good governance.
The Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Dr Patrick Adegun, in a condolence letter said Olayinka would be sorely missed for her political and administrative astuteness and uncommon relation she forged with the downtrodden masses while alive.
Similarly, the South-east, South-south Professionals of Nigeria (SESSPN) expressed shock over the death of the deputy governor.
The group in a statement by its President, Mr. Emeka Ugwu-Oju, stated that: “It is noteworthy that the late deputy governor, popularly known by the sobriquet, Amazon, robustly bonded with her boss, the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in such a manner that spoke volumes for the virtue and value of teamwork, which team spirit led to the rapid growth of the state, revving up its public profile in so such a time.”
Meanwhile, the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB) has expressed sadness over the death of Olayinka.
The late Olayinka was a former first Vice-President of the association having worked with First Bank, Access Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) and later Ecobank, as Group Head, Corporate Communications at different times before going into politics.
A statement by the association added: “The association also consoles Mr. Olanrewaju Olayinka on the death of his beloved wife, adding that the Lord grant him the fortitude to bear the loss. Olayinka was an exemplary mother who played her role as the deputy governor of Ekiti State to the admiration of many. The association would remember her for her exemplary dedication to duty. During her service in ACAMB, she helped nurture an effective association well known beyond the shores of Nigeria. ACAMB urged Nigerians to keep her legacy by investing in women’s economic empowerment.”