Funmilayo Olayinka: Exit Of A Delightful Amazon

May 14, 2013

Late Mrs. Funmilayo Adunni Olayinka, the deceased Deputy Governor of Ekiti state will continue to live in the hearts of many for obvious reasons. For someone who left a footprint on the sands of time, she cannot be easily forgotten. The encomiums that were showered on her and the befitting burial given to her were well deserved. For her unassuming nature even in spite of her beauty and having lived a life that provided inspiration for many, she deserved nothing less.

An epitome of beauty and character, the late Funmilayo, fondly called ‘Moremi Ekiti’ by the people of Ekiti state whom she served with ultimate loyalty, was no doubt a woman of virtue. A woman that made womenfolk proud by living exemplary life of courage, tenacity and loyalty. In the face of the vicissitude of life, she exhibited exemplary courage – the type that is rare to find among her contemporaries.

We recall her role in the struggle to reclaim the mandate given to Dr. Kayode Fayemi and herself by the people of Ekiti. Any other woman would have backed out in the face of the protracted persecution by the vote bandits in power then, but Olayinka remained steadfast. She showed enough courage and absolute loyalty to her boss, Dr. Fayemi and the popular mandate. In the annals of this country we had seen men that had traded off people’s mandate for filthy lucre but Funmi Olayinka refused to be swayed by whatever overture the electoral bandits could offer. She remained focused and tenacious throughout the trying period until light finally appeared at the end of the tunnel late 2010.

As the Deputy Governor, late Funmilayo Adunni performed her role well to the admiration of her principal – the Governor – and the good people of Ekiti as she brought competence and efficiency to bear in governance. Very hardworking and focused, she also took the Ekiti project with passion like the Governor and she adequately represented the Governor; the reason why Governor Fayemi said of her; “my deputy was not a spare tyre”. Even as she was battling with a terminal disease, she never loathed to carry out her official duties.

One thing that marvelled people about Funmilayo is; in spite of her striking beauty, she never allowed the beauty to get into her head. She was disciplinedl – as beautiful in character as her physiology. What could be more apt than the way a sympathiser described her; “She was beautiful inside out”. Even as the Deputy Governor she was humility personified; unassuming, delightful and ever smiling. Her Aides who had the privilege of working closely with her said she was kind, humane, and generous. What better adjectives to qualify a personage who would not allow power to corrupt her in the least?

Late ‘Moremi Ekiti’ was a quintessential ‘Omoluabi’ who loathed arrogance, laziness, dishonesty and other things that demean humans. She served the people of Ekiti diligently and contributed her best to the development of Ekiti. It’s really a pity that death would not allow her to carry on her good work in the on-going transformation of Ekiti. But even as death wouldn’t allow her to witness a transformed Ekiti as envisioned by Fayemi/Funmilayo joint ticket, one thing is sure; by the time the history of the transformed Ekiti will be written, her name will occupy a special place.

The untimely death of Olayinka – that we lost her to cancer – further says much about our poor health care system. Of course sane humanities have developed to the stage that they are able to deal easily with diseases like this that which cut short the lives of our best and brightest. And like the national leader of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu rightly advised, we like to call on the Nigerian government to urgently establish a national cancer centre of international repute, and with proper funding where cancer patients can be safely treated. And just like every other sector that needs complete overhaul, our health sector is not an exception, and this must be done with utmost urgency.

Finally, much encomiums have been poured on Funmilayo Adunni Olayinka though, I believe enough encomiums cannot be passed on this departed illustrious daughter of Yoruba land.  But beyond passing encomiums, what I feel is important is for the rest of us to imbibe those virtuous conducts that this lady of character personified while she was alive. I pray to God to grant her peaceful rest – Amen.

By Kola Odepeju  

This article was first published

Last modified: May 14, 2013

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