Governor Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti State has reiterated his appeal to the Federal Government to honour the late Lt Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, the former military governor of the old Western Nigeria, by immortalising him. This call was made at the MUSON Centre in Lagos during a stage play depicting Fajuyi’s valiant death. Oyebanji highlighted Fajuyi’s selfless act during the 1966 Nigerian counter-coup, where he chose to die protecting the then Head of State, Major-General Aguiyi-Ironsi, thus symbolising national unity.
The governor’s speech emphasised the importance of recognising Fajuyi’s patriotism and sacrifice, suggesting that such an honour would serve as a beacon of inspiration for future generations. He proposed that a national monument be named after Fajuyi and a posthumous national award be conferred upon him, with his family receiving annual financial support from the Nigerian Army.
The event, which also served as a poignant moment of reconciliation, saw the first sons of Fajuyi and General Aguyi Ironsi engage in a symbolic handshake. The gesture, witnessed by a host of dignitaries, including Senate Majority Leader Senator Opeyemi Bamidele and members of the Ekiti State Executive Council, underscored a collective remembrance and a call for national unity.
The call to immortalise Lt Col. Adekunle Fajuyi is a clarion call for Nigeria to acknowledge its heroes and the values they stood for. As we reflect on Fajuyi’s ultimate sacrifice, we are reminded of the essence of true leadership and patriotism. Immortalising such a figure goes beyond mere symbolism; it is an educational imperative, instilling in future generations the ethos of selflessness and courage.
We stand with Governor Oyebanji’s proposition as it resonates with the need for a nation to recognise and celebrate its heroes. Such acts of remembrance play a crucial role in nation-building, serving as moral compasses for the youth and leaders alike. The Federal Government’s response to this call will not only honour Fajuyi’s memory but also reinforce the values of unity and sacrifice that are so needed in today’s political climate.
The handshake between the sons of Fajuyi and Ironsi at the MUSON Centre was more than a symbolic act; it was a powerful message of reconciliation and unity. The government and citizens alike must draw from this well of history to forge a path of unity and collective purpose.
In the spirit of Fajuyi’s legacy, we must all strive to embody the values he represented. The government’s recognition of his sacrifice would be a step towards acknowledging the past and inspiring a unified future. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the heroes of our nation are not forgotten and that their legacies continue to inspire and guide us.
Did You Know?
- Lt Col. Adekunle Fajuyi was the first military governor of the Western Region of Nigeria during the First Republic.
- The 1966 Nigerian counter-coup, which led to Fajuyi’s death, was a pivotal event in Nigeria’s history, leading to subsequent military rule.
- Fajuyi is celebrated for his unwavering loyalty, as he chose to die alongside Aguiyi-Ironsi rather than abandon his guest and commander.
- The MUSON Centre in Lagos, where the call for Fajuyi’s immortalisation was made, is one of Nigeria’s foremost venues for promoting arts and culture.
- The symbolic handshake at the MUSON Centre represents the ‘Handshake across the Niger’, a term that signifies the reconciliation and unity between the Igbo and Yoruba ethnic groups in Nigeria.