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General News of Friday, 12 May 2023


State of the nation: Things getting worse in Nigeria - Fasoranti

Pa Reuben Fasoranti Pa Reuben Fasoranti

Former leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, yesterday, expressed worry that the current state of Nigeria is worrisome, lamenting that this is not the country he dreamt of.

Fasoranti, who clocked 97 yesterday, in a chat with newsmen at his country home, in Akure, said he feels fulfilled.

His words: “I feel fulfilled at 97. I have seen it all; I’ve seen the worse and the best. I lost my wife and my daughter; she was shot dead but, generally, I have to thank God for everything.

“This is not the Nigeria of my dream. Things are getting worse. We only hope those we are leaving behind will try and do their best, because what we are seeing now is not good for the country at all.

“My expectations from the incoming government are many, but I want the government to give priority to unemployment and insecurity.
“People are not gainfully employed and it is getting worse every day. I hope the incoming government will try and look into it, and the security of the land.

“The incoming government should also look into the restructuring of the country, and I hope the new President will do it.”

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, his predecessor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko and other Yoruba leaders described Fasoranti as a reference point for quality leadership.

Buhari hails Fasoranti at 97

President Buhari, who celebrated Pa Fasoranti on his 97th birthday, said he admired the courage, wisdom, resilience and visionary leadership that the nonagenarian continues to provide.

The President affirmed that Pa Fasoranti’s personal profile conveys the remarkable history of Nigeria from independence, with his participation in shaping political and economic developments in the first, second, third and fourth republic, and fearlessly advocating democratic rule under the military rule.

The President noted the overwhelming influence of the Afenifere leader in the South West, and across the country, preserving the legacies of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, after working side by side with him in building the Action Group, AG and Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, and serving as Commissioner of Finance in Ondo State, 1979-1983.

As a patriot that has walked the streets leading protests and worked as a Principal in many schools, the President said he believes Pa Fasoranti’s strength comes from a deep fear of God, which is the measure of a good Christian, and love for humanity.

Akeredolu, Mimiko, others eulogise Fasoranti

Governor Akeredolu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, said despite his old age, the Afenifere leader is still committed to the nation’s democratic development and gains.

The governor said: “Pa Fasoranti is a committed and patriotic Nigerian whose passion and dedication to nation-building and national development is indisputable.

“Pa Fasoranti is our pride in Yorubaland. He is a leader and father of our race. We embrace his tenets and steadfastness. His passion for the development and progress of the country is commendable.

“Despite old age, Pa Fasoranti has continued to contribute meaningfully to the progress of our land and the country. He is not just a Yoruba leader; his foresight, commitment, and unwavering faith in humanity are unrivalled.”

He’s an extraordinary personality —Mimiko

In his tribute, former Ondo State governor, Dr Mimiko described the elder statesman as an extraordinary personality.

Speaking with newsmen at Fasoranti’s country home, the former governor said: “Baba is a leader in the Akure community; he is a notable leader in his church, and everybody attests to that.

“Baba is someone who has taught us how to lead. He listens very well; he aggregates views and comes out with very enlightened opinions, and we all queue behind him, so we have a lot of respect for him.

“What else do you have to say other than thank God for his life? I pray to God that we will all be here to celebrate his centenary; we will all be looking forward to it, and I pray to God Almighty that, even in his lifetime, he will see progress in Nigeria.”

He’s a leader worth emulating—Ondo Afenifere

Similarly, the Egbe Afenifere in Ondo State described Fasoranti as an embodiment of sincerity, honesty, hard work and honour.

In a statement by its chairman and secretary, Chief Korede Duyile and Mr Eric Oluwole, the group recalled Fasooranti’s contributions to the development of his immediate community.

It stated: “He contributed immensely towards the liberation struggles that ushered in Nigeria’s independence from colonial rule.”

Fasoranti is a pride of Yoruba —Oyo Council of Obas, Chiefs

On its part, the Oyo State Council of Obas and Chiefs said Fasoranti remains a pride to the Yoruba race.

The council, in a statement by its Deputy Chairman, the Olugbon of Orile Igbon, Oba Francis Alao, said: “As the Yoruba leader, he invested himself in ideas and activities geared towards the progress and well-being of the Yoruba nation.

“He has proved, over the decades that true leadership is possible; and that true leaders are servants to those they lead because national and community interest is the priority in all considerations.”