By Ejiofor Alike
Two former Nigerian leaders, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd), have described former Osun State governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola as a dependable ally who performed his duties to the nation and to friendship with utmost diligence and loyalty.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has also congratulated former military administrator of the state, Oyinlola, on his 70 years birthday celebration
Also, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar has described the military and political service of Oyinlola as glorious and deserving of commendation.
Obasanjo and Babangida gave their verdicts in their separate goodwill messages sent to Oyinlola on his 70th birthday coming up to today, February 3.
While Obasanjo said he was placing on record his “personal appreciation” to Oyinlola “for being a very dependable and loyal comrade with integrity,” Babangida said he was thanking Oyinlola for being over the years, a man who could “take bullets” on his behalf.
Obasanjo said: “l also place on record my personal appreciation to you for the intimate rapport you have established with me and members of my family. I have found comfort, delight and satisfaction in sharing with you my vision and mission for our dear country and the challenges of lifting the nation up to greater heights. You have been a very dependable and loyal comrade with integrity in whom I have considerable confidence. In the traditional Nigerian sense, you have become a member of my family and one of my own.
“Indeed, your life has been a practical demonstration of patriotism, professionalism, commitment and diligence in public service. You will be recorded by history as a Nigerian who embodies almost all the high points of our national achievements, and one of the very rare breed of citizens wo have combined total dedication, commitment and excellence in all national endeavours they have engaged in,” Obasanjo explained
Babangida, in his own goodwill message, eulogised Oyinlola who was his student at the Nigeria Defence Academy, Kaduna between 1971 and 1972, describing him as a bold, courageous and loyal officer.
The former military president said: “It is a rare opportunity to say thank you for being there for me. It is a privilege to be associated with a man like you who is not only reliable, dependable but who can take bullets on my behalf. Those wonderful moments we shared, in our commitment to make Nigeria a better place, remain evergreen in my heart of hearts”.
On his part, Sanwo-Olu in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, described Oyinlola as an elder statesman worth celebrating for his life of consistent commitment to public service in different capacities as military officer, administrator and politician.
The governor said Oyinlola remains one of the few Nigerian leaders who have contributed immensely to the growth and development of several states and the country at large as a military officer, politician and elder statesman.
Meanwhile, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar has also described the military and political service of Oyinlola as glorious and deserving of commendation.
In his congratulatory message to the former governor of Osun State, the monarch recalled his years in military service with Oyinlola and described that period as glorious.
While giving Oyinlola the assurance of continued support of the sultanate going forward, the Sultan said the celebrant’s military and political service were worthy of commendation.
“Birthdays are reminders to offer special gratitude to the Almighty God for His blessing especially when most of those glorious years were fervently spent on selfless service to humanity.
“We equally recall with nostalgia our days in the Nigerian Army while serving our great fatherland and your efforts during your military service and current political dispensation are worthy of note and highly commendable; which attest to your firm commitment
and dedication to the promotion of peace, religious harmony, development, stability, unity and peaceful co-existence in our great country.
“We assure you of our support and association in your efforts to assist humanity, for the remaining years of our lives,” the Sultan said.