Gbenga Sodeinde in Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji has again called on the federal government to immortalise a former military Governor of old Western Nigeria, the late Lt-Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, for what he described as his exceptional, courageous and selfless act and for paying the supreme sacrifice for the unity of the country.
Oyebanji made the call at the Muson Centre, Lagos during a command performance of “Fajuyi for Nigeria”, a stage play re-enacting the heroic deed of the late military governor.
The governor who had earlier made the call during a similar performance of the play in Ado-Ekiti last month as part of activities marking his first year in office, said Fajuyi had an enduring legacy of patriotism, heroism and sacrifice that should be celebrated by all Nigerians.
Oyebanji said a federal government recognition for the late hero would serve as a symbol of unity to inspire the future generations, adding that his name deserves to be etched in the annals of Nigerian history.
The governor said the late Fajuyi, a native of Ado Ekiti, was best known for his act of selflessness during the Nigerian counter-coup of 1966 when he chose to protect the then Head of State, Maj- Gen. Aguiyi-Ironsi, at the cost of his own life.
He opined that the story of Fajuyi would continue to inspire and encourage Nigerians to do what is right always, no matter the situation.
However, the governor said Ekiti would continue to celebrate the late hero and support the family, adding that the state government would rebuild his burial place at Fajuyi Park, Ado Ekiti and elevate it to the status of a national monument.
He called on the federal government to immediately consider naming a national monument after Fajuyi to honour him perpetually and further preserve his memory.
“This evening we have once again seen history, taught by history, educated by history, encouraged by history, warned by history, encouraged to do what is right always no matter what the situation.
“It has taught us to be men and women of integrity, have moral values of consistent commitment to our place of birth, the highest level of patriotism for our nation.
“Lt. Col. Fajuyi offered himself as a lamb our nation needed to preserve unity and oneness of this country. This is why I strongly feel that Nigeria has not celebrated this hero enough, this is why we also feel that the country has not shown appreciation that is commensurate to the level of his sacrifice.
“On behalf of the people of Ekiti and the entire people of Nigeria that Fajuyi died for and as your governor, I hereby demand that one, national monument should be immediately named after him to honour him perpetually and further preserve his memory.
“ Two, a posthumous national award be conferred on him and his family should benefit some annual financial assistance from the Nigeria Army,” the governor asserted.
A major highlight of the command performance witnessed by members of the Fajuyi and Ironsi families was when the first sons of the slain military officers were invited to the stage for the proverbial handshake across the Niger.