An elder in Ekiti State, Chief Oladeji Fasuan, has said the late Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka, was humble to a fault.
Fasuan, a retired permanent secretary in the old Ondo State, said: “The late Mrs. Olayinka is the most humble public servant I ever met. She was very sublime in conduct and committed to the development of the state.”
In his tribute to the deceased, he said: “It is very difficult to find a public servant more respectful and humble. I cannot talk about her efficiency, but Governor Kayode Fayemi has said it all by saying she was his co-pilot.
“This assertion is very significant in a political ambience, where the deputy governor is generally seen as a spare tyre. This is the first time a governor would describe a deputy as a co-pilot.
“Her death is a tragedy for us in Ekiti. Here was a woman literally in the trenches as a partner with Fayemi, trying to retrieve a stolen mandate. There was a lot of anxiety and, eventually, success.
“I have been close to the family for over 60 years. Her dad, Chief Famuagun, was my classmate in the elementary school now called primary school.
“We were also colleagues in Ibadan for over 15 years and, more importantly, we have been neighbours in this residential area for about 30 years. Only two houses separate us on this street.
“I knew the late deputy governor through her father when about 30 years ago, he brought her to me and said she had been nominated as a director of the Oodua Textile Mills, now defunct. I gave her some printed materials and some information. I was once the chairman of the organisation.
“On a more personal note, she related to me quite warmly. She participated actively in any family function that I had. In Ado-Ekiti here, she was a symbol, not only of womanhood, but also of integrity.
“I am not sure any section of this society has a negative thing against her. Hence, you have visitors and sympathisers of all categories rushing to the governor and the family house to express their condolences. She was not controversial at all.
“People saw her as decent and straightforward. Certainly, we will continue to miss her for a long time to come.”
By Sulaiman Salawudeen
This article was first published in The Nation
Last modified: April 28, 2013