The Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, again, on Sunday, called on the Federal Government to immortalise a former Military Governor of the old Western Nigeria, late Lieutenant Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi, for his exceptional courageous and selfless act and for paying the supreme sacrifice for the unity of the country.
He made the call at Muson Centre, Lagos on Sunday during a stage play: “Fajuyi for Nigeria,” re-enacting his heroic deeds.
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 the heroic deed of the late Fajuyi is an enduring legacy of patriotism, heroism and sacrifice that should be celebrated by all Nigerians.
Oyebanji said a Federal Government honour and recognition for the late hero would serve as a symbol of unity to inspire the future generations, adding that Colonel Fajuyi’s 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, Major- General Aguiyi-Ironsi, at the cost of his own life.
He opined that the history of the late Fajuyi would continue to inspire and encourage Nigerians to do what is right always no matter the situation, to be men and women of integrity, imbibe moral values of consistent commitment to their place of birth and exhibit the highest level of patriotism to the country.
Oyebanji, however said the Government of Ekiti State 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 Col 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, 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. Francis Adekule 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 Francis Adekunle Fajuyi’s sacrifice.
“On behalf of the people of Ekiti and the entire people of Nigeria Francis Adekunle 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 General Aguiyi Ironsi family members was when the first sons of the slain military officers were invited to the stage for the proverbial handshake across the Niger.
A pall of silence descended on capacity filled Agip Recital Hall, Muson Centre, venue of the performance the moment the two men shook hands and embraced each other.
Also at the command performance were, Senate Majority Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele; two former First Ladies of Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi and Erelu Angela Adebayo; former Minister of Health, Prince Julius Adelusi Adeluyi; Gbenga Oyebode; Pastor Ituah Igodalo of the Trinity Church and Managing director of Premium Trust Bank, Emmanuel Emeigienum.
Some members of Ekiti State Executive Council were also in attendance at the stage play which was written and directed by their colleague, Prof Rasaki Ojo Bakare, Ekiti State Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Creative Economy.