The late former Military Governor of the old Western Region, Lt.-Col. Francis Adekunle Fajuyi, died a poor man owing to his selfless service, even when he had the opportunity to acquire wealth, his son Donald Femi Fajuyi said yesterday.
Speaking on the 50th remembrance of the death of the hero, the junior Fajuyi said the late governor never had a personal house of his own until he was killed in a military coup on July 29, 1966.
The 67-year-old lawyer said although his father was not rich at the time he killed, he died as a fulfilled man, whose name is on the positive side of history and a contributor to the country’s unity.
He expressed his gratitude to the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other progressive politicians for building a befitting house for the Fajuyi’s widow, the late Madam Eunice Ayodele Fajuyi.
He said: “When Fajuyi became governor of old Western Region in January, 1966, he had sent words to Ekiti to stop the building of his house, which was at foundation level on Textile Road in a place called Onimosoyin in Ado-Ekiti. That was the house I had inherited. I was 17 years old then; so I remember.
“He did so because the ethics of public service demands that you do not acquire anything during service. You see, I’m always surprised at the way our public office holders now behave.
“I am surprised at how our political office holders acquire properties greedily. Within six months in office, they become multi-billionaires. This is all wrong. Public office is not for self-aggrandisement.
“So, I am so grateful to God that President Muhammadu Buhari has come and he’s taking us back to the days of Fajuyi when public office holders upheld morality and were not corrupt. Since Fajuyi died, the morale of the country has been on the decline, the government has abandoned us and many others affected.”
“He saved for us and all his entitlements were given to us by the then government, even his life insurance, because he insured his life. All of them were gathered to sponsor our education up to university level. And I thank God, after graduating in 1977, I have been in law practice since then. I’m not rich, but I have been managing.
“My younger brother, Dayo, died in 2013 at the age of 61. I am the only male now and there are other female children, who are happily married and doing well in their husbands’ homes.
“I had always have interest in politics but the way politics is being run in Nigeria is something I don’t really like. My father in his lifetime had never said anything so good about Nigerian politicians. So, I am not so excited about politics, “ the junior Fajuyi said.
Donald said the late Fajuyi was remembered everyday by his immediate family as he was cut short in his prime at the age of 40.
He said he was inspired by the adventurous life of his father, who served the country diligently without asking for anything in return.
He said: “I’m 67 years old now. My father died when he was just 40 years old. But I can tell you that he lived a better life than I have lived. He lived a more exciting, adventurous and fulfilling life.
“As a little child, I have always admired him. And when I grew up, the admiration became more profound. For somebody to have joined the army, go to Korea, be in the Congo wars, rise through the ranks in the army as a very young man, the trainings he went through both in Africa and abroad, the U.S, Asia and England, it must have been a very exciting life.
“I remember all the adventure stories he used to tell us; those days of the wars in the Congo. He won the Military Cross for his services in the Congo and that cross is not won by an ordinary soldier, except for the one who has displayed exceptional bravery and commitment in the battle.
“My mother Mrs. Fajuyi is no longer with us. She also died in 2013 after mourning her late husband for 35 years. We thank God for those of us left behind.
“The family of course remembers him every day and every year we have always marked his heroic passage. All the good people of this country, those who call him Omoluabi in Yoruba, those who recognise his patriotism, his heroism and courage, are marking it.
“I’m aware that the Afenifere have met and would be remembering him on July 29th in Ibadan at the Premier Hotel and I am going to be part of that event. The event has been organised by the Afenifere Renewal to which our great former Governor Kayode Fayemi and current Minister of Solid Minerals and Development, Senator Babafemi Ojudu and our great Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu belong. These eminent Nigerians have also been very helpful to our family.
“You would recall it was Asiwaju, who collaborated with former Governor Kayode Fayemi to rebuild our family house and for this, we remain eternally grateful to Tinubu. He and Fayemi have continued to extol the patriotic virtues, which should be emulated by our leaders and people. Such virtues include true love for fellow human beings among others.”
On other programmes to mark the anniversary, he said: “There is another group that wants to garland him on that day. The group has created what they call the Adekunle Fajuyi Shield of Honour. They would be giving the late Fajuyi the first edition of the award as a post-humous honour on the July 29 at the LPP Hall in Ikeja, Lagos.”
“They said they would continue to give the award in the subsequent years to worthy, prominent and deserving Nigerians every year. As an honour to our family, they have chosen me to be a member of the nomination committee for the group.
“On the part of the family, we have already set up an Adekunle Family Foundation for Peace and Social Justice. It was founded in 2010. But some of the brains behind it, like the late Sultan of Sokoto, have all died. But in a very short time, we are resuscitating it.”
“The goings-on currently in the country economically are not encouraging. But very soon, we will revive it. We are currently collecting names of prominent Nigerians who would serve on its board of trustees and as directors.
“Apart from the remembrance event in Ibadan on July 29th, the family will also hold a Thanksgiving service in honour of him at the Catholic Cathedral here in Ado-Ekiti and also host a reception after the service on the July 31st, which is the Sunday after the 50th anniversary.”