Party: Cancer battle began in 2009
Those blaming the death of Ekiti State Deputy Governor Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka on her perceived enemies were yesterday told to perish the thought.
Her father, Pa Festus Famuagun, said his daughter “died a natural death”.
Pa Famuagun spoke yesterday in his Isato home in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, while receiving members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, led by the Speaker, Dr. Adewale Omirin.
His clarification came on a day the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) said the late Mrs Olayinka had been battling cancer since 2009.
Party chairman Chief Jide Awe told reporters in Ado-Ekiti that those close to the late deputy knew of the ailment.
Pa Famuagun was reacting to insinuations that his daughter might have been killed through diabolical means by people angling to take her position.
He said: “That one person killed another through witchcraft is all lies. God, who creates, is the only one that can take life.”
Urging the lawmakers to be close to the family, he said: “What will make us forget the pain of her passage is seeing you regularly. You are the jewels of Ekiti. Let people stop making unnecessary guesses.
“We hear stories that you people are very close. This you have proved since she died and through your performance. You have done well in your tenure.
“Please thank the governor for me: He has done very well. My entire family is impressed with the love he has continued to show us. If I was asked to nominate any of my children for politics when I was younger, I would not have considered Mrs. Olayinka, as she used to be very reserved.”
The 26 members of the Assembly were present.
The first son of the late Col. Adekunle Fajuyi, Donald, and his wife, Lanre, also visited the Famuaguns.
Awe said: “That was when those of us who were close to her knew she had the ailment. She has been in and out of the country for one medical treatment or the other.
“One unique thing about her is that you would never know of her condition unless you were very close to her. There were times when she returned from her medical treatment and came straight to Ekiti, and the next assignment would be on the rostrum to campaign to the people. She was always with us, and from 2009 to 2010 when we retrieved our mandate, she was very strong.
“What she went through was enough to terminate her life. As a liberator, she became a force among Ekiti women and she was always at the forefront.
“She battled cancer and finally succumbed to it. She would be greatly missed for her stabilising role.”
Describing Mrs. Olayinka as a committed party member, Awe said the late number two citizen demonstrated uncommon loyalty to her boss and worked assiduously to ensure the success of the administration.
He noted that Olayinka contributed immensely to the transformation being witnessed in the state, adding that she will be sorely missed by party members and the people of the state in general.
He said: “We don’t want our people to start reading meanings to the death of our dear deputy governor. I am aware that she was diagnosed of cancer in 2009 and I also know that between then until she breathed her last on Saturday, she got the best of medical treatment both within and outside the country.”
“We in the party have submitted to the will of God on this sad incident.”
“We all know that when issues like this happen in Africa, people will continue to read meanings into it. They will say evil people have done their worst, that is, somebody somewhere must have killed her.
“Death is a necessary end we all believe it will come at one time or the other in one’s life. She was a strong woman who had been in and out of hospital several times, but her spirit was never broken.
“Her travail with sickness started to manifest in 2009 even when we were in the trenches and ever since, she had been in and out of the country to seek medical attention. We believe that it is the will of God.
“Mrs. Olayinka was a dogged fighter and liberator, she was at the forefront for the fight for women emancipation and participation in politics.”
He pledged the readiness of the party to liaise with the state government and the family of the late deputy governor to give her a befitting burial.
Awe had earlier held a meeting with party members at the Jibowu Hall of the Government House to explain the circumstances surrounding the death of the late deputy governor to ACN faithful.
The meeting was attended by leaders of the party from across the 16 local government areas. Former governor of the Old Ondo State, Evangelist Bamidele Olomilua, was at the meeting.
The late Mrs Olayinkna first suspected that all was not well with her health late 2008, a source said yesterday.
She was in London for biopsy in January 2009 when the symptom persisted. The doctors said she had cancer of the breast.
In August 2009, she was again in London for a follow up test, which also confirmed the disease. She was diagnosed for stage three breast cancer
She went back to the hospital for mastectomy in September. The doctors then placed her on chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
The late Mrs Olayinka has been travelling to London every six months for review and chemotherapy.
By 2011, the cancer had entered stage four, which is the final stage. It had spread to the other parts of the body.
“Those managing her health condition since 2009 told her in February this year that the condition had become irredeemable, the source said, adding: “Her case was handled by world renowned oncologists within and outside the country, including an indigene of the state.”
By Sulaiman Salawudeen
This article was first published in The Nation
Last modified: April 9, 2013