The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said the late ex-governor of the old Ondo State, Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua, will be remembered for fighting for the enlistment of Ondo as an oil-producing state while superintending over its affairs.
Fayemi said the outstanding political will and courageous action was taken by Olumilua while presiding as a governor of the Old Ondo State between 1992-1993, led to revenue breakthrough engendering infrastructural face-lifting for the neighbouring state today.
Fayemi spoke during a commendation service held for the Old Ondo State Governor in Ado Ekiti, the state capital on Wednesday.
The elder statesman, Olumilua, an indigene of Ikere-Ekiti, who was the governor of the old Ondo State between 1992 and 1993, died on June 4, 2020, at the age of 80.
The old Ondo comprised the present Ondo and Ekiti States before the latter was carved out by the military regime of Gen. Sanni Abacha in 1996.
In his tribute at the service, Fayemi said, ” One important legacy of the administration of Evangelist Olumilua as a governor was the eventual enlistment of 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 He worked hard to get the commission which has now been replaced by the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC) established.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 tranch of N250m accrued to the state as an oil-producing state, Evang Olumilua insisted the money must be put in a dedicated account to pursue his dream of modern urbanisation project of some select 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 Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN commended this lofty achievement of Pa Olumilua, which I believed would lead to more revenue inflow to the state.”
Fayemi said Olumilua was a destabilised leader, saying not even agitation for the creation of Ekiti by his kinsmen could sway him as a sitting governor, which he said some misinterpreted to mean an act of betrayal of trust.
“As the incumbent Governor with a mandate to govern the whole state where Ekiti was a subset, he frequently ran into a disagreement with some of his Ekiti compatriots who genuinely wanted Ekiti to be created of Ondo State.
“What we are doing today is a celebration of life and importance of Pa Olumilua in Ekiti State and Nigeria, because he had left an intimidating legacy and he will continue to live in the minds of the people.
In his short sermon, Pastor Ola Omoseebi said Olumilua had taught a lesson of how our leaders can shun materialism, arrogance and corruption that had been the bane of leadership in this country with his spartan and disciplined nature.
Dignitaries at the event were: Governor Fayemi, the family of the deceased, led by the Commissioner for Information, Mr Muyiwa Olumilua, Deputy Governor, Bisi Egbeyemi, the first lady, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, and the Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon. Funminiyi Afuye.
Others included: Secretary-General, Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr Kunle Olajide, members of the State Executive Council, All Progressives Congress(APC) leaders, Corporate organisations and businessmen.