New Telegraph

Ayo Fasanmi: A titan is gone!

I received with shock, but submission to the will of God the news of the passage of Senator Ayorinde Fasanmi, which occurred on Thursday July 30, 2020. He was 94 years old.


The titan is gone! Pa Fasanmi was the ideal Nigerian and quintessential Yoruba Omoluabi. He trained and practiced as a pharmacist and rose to the pinnacle of the profession when he was elected the National President of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria in 1977.


But he emerged from the cocoon of the pharmaceutical industry into national limelight in 1979 when he was elected into the Nigerian House of Representatives and by 1983, he was in the Senate of the short-lived Second Republic.


He was also a delegate to the Constitutional Conference of 1994. Though a native of Iye-Ekiti in Ekiti State, he lived his adult life in Osogbo, where he took permanent residence  and was well regarded as a leader.


He would be counted among those instrumental for the creation of the State of Osun in 1991 and never ceased from working for its development till he died.


Pa Fasanmi was a progressive to the core and never deviated from the mission to enthrone a democratic, egalitarian, just, fair and prosperous order in our society. He was a close associate and disciple of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.


He drank from his fountain of knowledge, wisdom and conception of political power as an instrument of service to the public.


He lived and breathe this credo all his life. As a leader of Afenifere, he fought for the restoration of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Electoral Mandate of Chief Moshood Abiola and was visited with much retribution by the regimes of General Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha on account of this.


He bore it with stoicism and equanimity. His core was made of alloy, so to speak, making him unbending to the carrot or stick of dictators. His integrity was transparent and infectious. He had the uncommon grace to have witnessed first hand Nigeria’s political development – from the anti-colonial struggles, the First Republic, the first military interregnum and the civil war, the short-lived Second Republic, the second military era, the stillborn Third Republic, the third military rule and the break of the Fourth Republic in 1999 till date.


He was a living encyclopaedia of Nigeria government and politics and repository of events lasting nearly a century of his sojourn on the face of the earth. We have irretrievably lost a national asset. His death is very devastating and a personal loss to me. He was one of the Yoruba elders and leaders of our party I consulted and who encouraged me to contest the 2007 governorship election.


He was of great assistance to me in winning the election and stood by me through the nearly four years it took to retrieve my mandate and was a strong pillar of our eight-year administration in Osun.

His wise counsel, admonition, guidance and rebuke (when necessary), I found to be invaluable. My last physical encounter with him was in September last year when the State Government hosted me to a warm reception, following my appointment as minister.


He came to honour me with his presence and spoke well about me and his pleasure in my appointment and opportunity to serve at the national level. He lived a life of unalloyed service to humanity, Nigeria and the Yoruba race. He has left a gaping void difficult to fill. We will surely miss him.


On behalf of my wife and our other associates, I offer the deepest condolences to his family, the governments and people of Osun and Ekiti states, his friends and associates. May the almighty God repose his soul and give him comfort in his next station. Ameen.


• Ogbeni Aregbesola is the Minister of Interior

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