Ekiti and Ondo State Governments will jointly give the late former Governor of the old Ondo State, Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua, a befitting burial deserving of a man who rendered selfless service to the people of the states.
The Ekiti Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, announced this on Friday in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Olayinka Oyebode and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Ado Ekiti.
Mr Olumilua, who died on Thursday at the age of 80, was the governor of the old Ondo State now Ekiti and Ondo States respectively.
According to him, the two governments of Ekiti and Ondo States are already working out a modality to achieve the plan.
Mr Fayemi paid a condolence visit to the two wives and children of the deceased in his country home in Ikere Ekiti.
The governor said he and his Ondo State counterpart, Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, had commenced discussion on how best to honour the late elder statesman.
He, however, noted that both states would ensure that a befitting burial was given to the late former governor while observing all the best COVID-19 protocols.
He said the governments of the two states would further discuss with the family of the late former governor and agree on the burial arrangements.
Mr Fayemi noted that the late Olumilua was a man of many parts who was governor of Ondo and Ekiti states between 1992 and 1993.
According to Mr Fayemi, Evangelist Olumilua spent 80 glorious years full of sacrificial services and commitment to his country and the globe before he breathed his last.
He described the former governor as a man who demonstrated strength of character, purposeful leadership, peaceful living among people and was dedicated to the service of his community and God to the best of his ability.
Commenting on the political life of the politician, Mr Fayemi said, “Evangelist Olumilua was integrity personified, compassion personified, a man of reputable character who reflected and represented the best of Ekiti in the numerous capacities that he served the state, the nation and the globe.”
He said late Olumilua’s death was not a loss to Ondo and Ekiti States alone but “a loss to Nigeria and the whole world, because he was a man of international standard.”
Mr Fayemi said the Olumilua lived a good and fulfilled life, saying the transition of the former governor should be celebrated and not mourned.
He said: “I am not here to mourn. Ekiti people are here to celebrate and I can see Ekiti elders who are here as well, to celebrate with the family.
“Not that we shall not miss him, of course we will miss him.
“Baba has done well for us and we owe him immeasurably. Ekiti people would find most appropriate way to honour him; of course in conjunction with our brothers and sisters in Ondo State.
“But much more importantly, we like him for who he was; for the services he rendered, for his commitment to his people and we thanked God that he lived up to 80 and these were 80 glorious years.
Mr Fayemi recalled that the former governor during his lifetime, served as Chairman of the National Pilgrims Commission, Chancellor of the Ekiti State University, served under the United Nations as a diplomat as well as in the Organisation of African Unity, OAU, in Addis Ababa.
Mr Fayemi later wrote in the condolence register: “A father in a million you were. You served well and we pray your soul rests in perfect peace.
“On behalf of my wife, Bisi, the government and good people of Ekiti State, we pray to God Almighty to take you into His bosom and also for your family to have the courage and fortitude to bear this irreplaceable departure. Adieu Daddy, Adieu!”
The governor was received by deceased’s eldest son, Olumuyiwa Olumilua, a serving Commissioner for Information and Values Orientation in Ekiti, along with family members.
Earlier, Mr Muyiwa, who spoke on behalf of the family, said his father lived a good and fulfilled life that called for celebration rather than mourning.
He thanked the governor for his condolence visit to the family.