By Asiwaju Bola Tinubu
I commiserate with the family, associates and progressives throughout our country, the South-west and Ekiti State in particular over the passing of eminent politician, elder statesman and beloved leader of Afenifere, Senator Ayo Fasanmi. With his passing, we have lost someone special and excellent in every way.
Papa’s long sojourn on earth was for the good of all. He walked at the vanguard of all democrats, freedom fighters and believers in true federalism. To have lived to the age of 94 was God’s gift not only to him and his family, but to this nation he loved so deeply.
A colourful personality, Papa was principled, courageous and honest. He was a loyal and dependable ally of the indomitable Chief Obafemi Awolowo. For all his life, Pa Fasanmi practiced and advanced the virtues he learned at the feet of his leader. He never betrayed those values.
Like American civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis, who was buried today (Thursday, July 30), Papa Fasanmi remained faithful to the truth for which he suffered greatly. Yet, no matter the cost, he never strayed from his principles. A brave man, he never flinched at the prospect of speaking truth to power.
I had a close relationship with Paba Fasanmi, dating back many years. He was a mentor and role model to me and many others who believe in progressive politics as a means to uplift our society and its people. When Papa was recently admitted to the hospital for age-related sickness, I spoke to him and followed up with his close aide to monitor his situation.
As Afenifere leader, he was a true believer in the importance of fiscal federalism as essential for the growth of Nigeria. His vision for our nation was a coherent and correct one.
I share in the grief of this moment with his political soulmates, Pa Fasoranti, Chief Bisi Akande, and others. I also commiserate with Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi.
Papa Fasoranti devoted himself toward progressive development and democratic advancement. This fine job has not been completed. The Nigeria of our dreams is still a work in progress. Papa Fasanmi struggled for that dream and supported those patriots, like President Muhammadu Buhari, who also toiled for the same goal. Let us all learn from Papa Fasanmi’s example and join hands to move Nigeria towards the safe harbour of peace and prosperity.
We pray that Almighty God grant the soul of Pa Fasanmi eternal rest. May God also guide and comfort his family that they may have the strength and perseverance to continue after him through living by his example. God bless Nigeria.