Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has lauded late former Governor of the old Ondo State, Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua, for his efforts to enlist Ondo as an oil producing state, during his time as governor.
Fayemi said the outstanding political will and courageous action taken by Olumilua as the governor of the old Ondo State between 1992 and 1993 led to revenue breakthrough engendering infrastructural face-lifting for the neighbouring state today.
The governor stated this during a commendation service held for Olumilua in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, yesterday.
The elder statesman, Olumilua, an indigene of Ikere Ekiti, died on June 4, 2020, at the age of 80.
The old Ondo State comprised the present Ondo and Ekiti States before the latter was carved out by the military regime of General Sanni Abacha in 1996.
In his tribute at the service held at the palatial Adetiloye Hall in Ado Ekiti, Fayemi said: “One important legacy of the administration of Evangelist Olumilua as a governor was the eventual enlistment of old Ondo State as an oil producing state.
“He worked relentlessly to actualise this. He also facilitated the establishment of the Oil Minerals Producing and Development Commission (OMPADEC) in 1992.
“He had a star-studded team, and in fact, his then Attorney General, Chief Wole Olanipekun(SAN), practically drafted the bill that established the commission. He worked hard to get the commission, which has now been replaced by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), established.”
“When the first tranche of N250million accrued to the state as an oil producing state, Olumilua insisted that the money must be put in a dedicated account to pursue his dream of modern urbanisation project of some selected towns in the then Ondo State.
“His thought was for the state to be economically competitive, because some towns needed to be deliberately transformed into modern cities where people could work, stay and enjoy their lives.
“This was commendable, and I had seen the present Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), commended this lofty achievement of Olumilua, which I believed would lead to more revenue inflow to the state.”
Fayemi added that Olumilua was a detribalised leader, saying not even agitation for the creation of Ekiti State by his kinsmen could sway him as a sitting governor, which he said some misinterpreted to mean an act of betrayal of trust.