Pa Fasanmi, a great nationalist, an icon, passionate leader ― Sanwo-Olu

• Sympathises with deceased's family, Ekiti, Ondo govts

Lagos State governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday, expressed sadness over the death of an elder statesman and leader of Yoruba socio-cultural group Afenifere, Senator Ayo Fasanmi, describing him as a great nationalist, passionate leader and humility personified.

Pa Fasanmi, also the leader of Egbe Ilosiwaju Yoruba, died in the early hours of Thursday, after a brief illness, aged 94.

Governor Sanwo-Olu, in a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr Gboyega Akosile, also described the late elder statesman as a complete gentleman and selfless leader, saying he contributed immensely to the development of South-West region in particular and the nation in general.

The governor, in his condolence message, said the death of the nonagenarian came at a critical period when his wealth of experience, knowledge and wisdom was most needed in Nigeria.

“Pa Fasanmi was an exemplary leader who spent the greater part of his life in the service of humanity, particularly the Yoruba course where he contributed to the development of the region,” he said.

Governor Sanwo-Olu recalled that Pa Fasanmi served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Old Western Nigeria Housing Corporation and was National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria in 1977, and got elected into the Senate in 1979, while he also served as a member of the House of Representatives in 1983.

He further described the elder statesman, who equally served as a member of the National Constitutional Conference Commission in 1994, as an icon who would never be forgotten in the history of Nigeria and the Yoruba race, declaring that he would surely be missed.

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“In the old Western Nigeria, Pa Fasanmi served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Old Western Nigeria Housing Corporation.

“He was National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria in 1977, elected into the Senate in 1979, and became a member of the House of Representatives in 1983.

He also served as a member of the National Constitutional Conference Commission in 1994.

“Pa Fasanmi was indeed an icon who will never be forgotten in the history of Nigeria and the Yoruba race. He will surely be missed,” the governor said.

Speaking further, Sanwo-Olu said that late Pa Fasanmi, who was an “Awoist” to the core, would be remembered for his words of wisdom in keeping Nigeria as one united entity, adding that the late elder statesman had always been advocating Yoruba leaders to forget their differences and close ranks for the good of the Yoruba race and Nigeria as a whole.

“The late Pa Fasanmi made the call in Lagos in his remark at the public presentation of the book: ‘Yoruba Elites and Ethnic Politics in Nigeria: Obafemi Awolowo and Corporate Agency,” written by Professor Wale Adebanwi, an Associate Professor in African American and African Studies, University of California-Davis,” the governor recalled.

“According to the frontline politician and the Second Republic senator, this is (then) the time for political differences that have existed among the Awoists and the entire Afenifere clan to be cleared.

“At this auspicious time in our country, it is good we are having an occasion like this which brings many of us (Awolowo Associates) together. The event of today suggests to me that we need to forget our differences,” the governor further recalled.

Sanwo-Olu stated that the above statements among other great virtues were what the late Fasanmi stood for, even as he expressed sincere and heartfelt condolences, on behalf of his family, the Lagos State government and people of the state, to the immediate family members of the deceased; the government and people of Ekiti and Ondo states over what he described as an irreparable loss.

The governor, while bidding Pa Fasanmi farewell, prayed God to give the departed soul eternal rest and the family he left behind the fortitude to bear the loss.

“On behalf of my family, the Lagos State Government and people of the state, I want to express my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the immediate family members of the deceased; the government and people of Ekiti and Ondo states over the irreparable loss.

“May God give the departed soul eternal rest and the family the fortitude to bear the loss. Adieu Pa Fasanmi,” he stated.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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