Deji Elumoye, Omololu Ogunmade, Udora Orizu in Abuja, James Sowole in Akure, Segun James in Lagos, Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti and Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo
President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan; Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, and National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, have joined governors and the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organisation, Afenifere, to mourn a chieftain of the organisation, Senator Ayo Fasanmi. Fasanmi, who was at various times a member of the House of Representatives and Senate died on Wednesday night at Osogbo, the Osun State capital.
The deceased senator, who hailed from Iye-Ekiti, in Ilejemeje Local Government Area, Ekiti State, was 94 years old.
The Osun State Government broke the news of his passage yesterday in a statement by the Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mrs. Funke Egbemode.
She said the elder statesman’s passage was confirmed by his first son, Justice Obafemi Fasanmi, on behalf of the family.
“Pa Fasanmi was an epitome of humility, selflessness and integrity.
“He made enviable and remarkable contributions to his profession, to the socio-political development of Yoruba land, and to the nation at large,” she said.
In his condolences, Buhari described Fasanmi’s death as a big loss to the nation.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the president condoled with the people and governments of Osun and Ekiti States, family members, friends and associates of the elder statesman.
Buhari said Fasanmi’s wise counsel, borne out of humility, deep reflection, diligent studies and experience would be sorely missed by governments at different levels.
According to him, the deceased regularly and willingly listened to leaders and always offered good advice on the way forward.
He said: “As an ardent follower and prodigy of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the president believes the fearless and consistent leader of the Yoruba socio-cultural and political organisation lived to serve his people and the nation, and the progressive ideals that he projected impacted greatly and provided a road map on development at state and federal levels.”
Lawan said Nigeria would miss the forthrightness of Fasanmi.
In a condolence message yesterday by his media aide, Mr. Ola Awoniyi, he stated that Nigerians would miss the deceased’s forthrightness, consistency, wise counsel and wealth of experience.
He commiserated with the government and people of Ekiti State and the Yoruba people over the demise of a leader who, he said, throughout his life was committed to the cause of his people a
Gbajabiamila expressed sadness over the demise of Fasanmi, saying the progressives have lost a worthy comrade.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Lanre Lasisi, the speaker said though the demise of Fasanmi would be felt by the nation, the progressives and his family, solace would, however, be taken in the fact that his footprints had been firmly entrenched in the polity.
He said: “As a federal lawmaker at the national level, first as a member of the House of Representatives and later a senator, Pa Fasanmi came across as a symbol of humility, selflessness and integrity. These attributes have continued to inspire lawmakers across the country. It is my prayer that his soul rests in perfect peace, and may God give those he left behind the fortitude to bear the loss.”
Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Ondo State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu; Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki; Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Osun State Governor, Mr. Gboyega Oyetola; and the APC also mourned the elder statesman.
Fayemi described the late Afenifere leader as one of the heroes of democracy being enjoyed in the country today.
Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, described Fasanmi as a steadfast Awoist and a committed progressive who was a torchbearer for younger progressives in his lifetime.
He noted that Fasanmi was a politician who was consistent with the progressive ideology as demonstrated in his membership of the Action Group, Unity Party of Nigeria, Social Democratic Party, Alliance for Democracy, Action Congress, Action Congress of Nigerian and the APC.
Obaseki, in mourning Fasanmi, described him as a grounded leader and thoroughbred politician, who was committed to the welfare of his people and the development of the country.
According to him, “I received the sad news of the passing of Senator Ayo Fasanmi with a heavy heart. He was one of the finest politicians around who prioritised the needs of the people above all else.
“He made indelible marks in the political development of the country that would not be forgotten in a hurry. His wise counsel would be greatly missed.”
Afenifere also described the deceased as a principled fighter for the cause of its leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, in the days of siege.
Afenifere, in a tribute titled: “Farewell to Senator Fasanmi,” issued by its Leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, commiserated with the bereaved family and the government and people of Ekiti State on his death.
Akeredolu also yesterday described the late Afenifere leader as a patriot whose positive exploits would not be forgotten in a hurry.
In a statement by the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Donald Ojogo, the Ondo State governor described Fasanmi as “on
e of the few men standing, personified integrity and exemplified altruism.”
“Baba lives on because of his positive exploits and demonstrated capacity to lead a people. He bequeathed courage, planted love and displayed an insatiable quest for a just, equitable and egalitarian Nigeria,” he added.
Sanwo-Olu also expressed sadness over the death of the elder statesman whom he described as “a great nationalist, passionate leader and humility personified.”
The Lagos State governor, in a condolence message by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, said the death of the nonagenarian came at a critical period when his wealth of experience, knowledge and wisdom were most needed.
Sanwo-Olu, who also described the late Fasanmi as a complete gentleman and a selfless leader said he contributed immensely to the development of the South-west region in particular, and the nation in general.
Oyetola described the death of the elder statesman as a big loss to not only the Yoruba race but also Nigeria.
He said the late senator would be greatly missed and remembered for his love for and service to Nigeria and its people.
Tinubu commiserated with the family, associates and the progressives throughout the country, over the passage of the eminent politician.
He said: “With his passing, we have lost someone special and excellent in every way. Papa’s long sojourn on earth was for the good of all. He walked at the vanguard of all democrats, freedom fighters and believers in true federalism.
“To have lived to the age of 94 was God’s gift not only to him and his family but to this nation he loved so deeply. A colourful personality, Papa was principled, courageous and honest. He was a loyal and dependable ally of the indomitable Chief Obafemi Awolowo. For all his life, Pa Fasanmi practised and advanced the virtues he learned at the feet of his leader.”
On its part, the APC, in a statement by its Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yekini Nabena, said the Yoruba and the nation at large had lost a father in the death of Fasanmi.
The party said he was a frontline politician whose indelible strides would be forever remembered.