The Minister of Solid Minerals and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, on Tuesday said the All Progressives Congress (APC) would restore the legacies of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, in Ekiti.
He spoke in Ado-Ekiti at the 109th posthumous birthday of Awolowo organised by the Ekiti chapter of Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG).
Fayemi, the immediate past governor of the state, said his administration had delivered on the four cardinal programmes of the late sage.
He identified these as free education, free healthcare for children, pregnant women and the old and physically challenged as well as job creation and rural development.
Fayemi vowed that the legacies would be restored back in the state if the APC emerges victorious in the July 14 governorship election in the state.
” If we remember, for the past 11 years, we have been celebrating Awolowo’s birthday since 2017
” What is most important is that those of us behind who God has given the opportunity to lead must pay our dues and help our people in Yoruba land.
“ Awolowo has done a great deal and that is why we are celebrating him since he died in 1987. He is still being celebrated in Ikenne today like we are doing in Ekiti
” A prominent Yoruba leader, Pa Fasanmi, once told me that Awolowo wished he had been born in Ekiti because then, his largest followers were from Ekiti and he knew everyone in the state
” If he was alive today, he would have been in APC as his political party. This is because this party was founded on Awo’s political ideals. We are Awolowo’s descendants in Ekiti
” We know Awolowo for what we call four cardinal points.
“From the days of the Action Group and Unity Party, these are free education, free healthcare for children, pregnant, old and disabled, job creation and rural development.
” If you remember, all these points were what we ensued when we were in power in Ekiti, sadly they are no more in the state
” In conclusion, don’t let us lose hope, all these ideals of Awo, we will ensure we do all we could to return them to Ekiti.
“I appreciate the ARG for celebrating the late sage, Awolowo. In truth, all of us who are of Yoruba race, it is high time we took up our role as leaders. We are the leaders of the black race, ” he said.
Also extolling the virtues of the late Awolowo, Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State said: ” We are celebrating what Awolowo stood for which is the advancement of the Yoruba and African race. Ours is pureness of heart.
“Awolowo has played his part, it remains for us to play ours.
“ We cannot all forget the immense contribution of Awolowo, especially among the Yoruba race.
“ Afenifere song was composed by Awolowo. The song says that we the Yoruba are the light of the black race, may God not allow us to draw ourselves backwards.
” When Awolowo was incarcerated in those days, Hubert Ogunde counselled us to have a rethink in his popular song. Yoruba Ronu.’’
“ Celebrating Awo’s legacy would make us remember the great contributions of our great forbears. I urge all Yorubas to have a rethink and reunite. We must all work together for our progress
” We are in the quagmire in this country and God will not come down to help us. He would send someone.
“ Once we have seen the person, we will know with what he has done and what he would do. You know we are the same, I cannot deceive you, we have brought goodies for you in APC, ” he said.
Also speaking, Mr Ayo Afolabi, who represented the Chairman of ARG, Wale Osun, said “every society reveres it forbears. We all talk about Awolowo. His works shall not perish.
“We are here to celebrate Awolowo, so we won’t forget his legacies. APC is the party that we the Afenifere have embraced.
“ It is the party that can assist the Yoruba race to the promised land. We enjoin all people to vote for the party in Ekiti.”
The guest speaker at the occasion, Prof. Williams Fawole, lamented that many politicians seeking political office in the country lack germane ideas to lead.
In his speech entitled, “ Obafemi Awolowo and Transformative Politics: Sustaining The Worthy Legacy,’’ the don urged politicians to imitate Awolowo by being original.
“ What stands Awolowo out as a unique politician and better leader is his original ideas.
” Anyone who doesn’t have freshness of ideas cannot be seen as a true leader.
“ Awolowo’s legacies cannot perish, we urge our politicians today to follow his footsteps so their own contributions could be remembered,’’ he said.