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Tribute to Hon. Kehinde Ayoola, Oyo State Former Commissioner for Environment | By Rahaman Onike

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The news of sudden death of Honourable Kehinde Olatunji Ayoola came to the entire cabinet of the Oyo State Government and the good people of the state with rude shock early hours of Thursday, May 14. 

I wept profusely like a baby when family source broke this sad news to me. It was so shocking that I could not control my emotion to have suddenly lost an highly cerebral, versatile and patriotic citizen at his prime age.

Given his pedigree and current position as the Commissioner for Environment and Natural Resources, the office occupied by him since 18th September 2019, his death remains a colossal loss and inescapable reality to family, friends and the good people of Oyo State. Out of the entire cabinet members of Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Hon. Kehinde Ayoola, was not just cynosure of all eyes, but he was uniquely a major engine that drives the administration’s policy directives, programmes and strategic plans.

Hon. Kehinde Ayoola was not a political upstart, he has been into political activism since 1980s before he joined active politics in 1999 when he contested and won election into membership of Oyo State House of Assembly. When the House was inaugurated, Hon. Ayoola served as the first speaker of the Oyo State House of Assembly during that political dispensation.

Our path crossed for the first time when we both served on the think tank committee when Alhaji Yunus Akintunde, the former Commissioner for Works and Transport was contesting for Chairmsnship elction under Zero party system in 1993.

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We became intimate friends since he joined on our political group, Action 99, the platform on which he rode to secure ticket under the then Alliance  for Democracy (AD) when he was contesting for membership of the Oyo State House of Assembly. It is not an over statement that late Kehinde Ayoola was a rare gem.

Right from his secondary school days at the Olivet Baptist High School, (1977-1982), Great Zuma, as he was fondly called by mates in secondary school was a genius based on any definition of the word genius apart from his rare oratory skill. His Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde confirmed in his tribute that “Kehinde Ayoola was a loyal friend with a dedication to duty that cannot be questioned.

In his own exact words, Engr. Seyi Makinde declared that the deceased will call sorely missed for his great oratory skills and his love for the people of Oyo town and Oyo state”.

For whoever is familiar with his academic records when he was in the secondary school would not be surprised with his excellent rethorical communication skills.Throughout his days in the Secondary school, he received the best performance prizes in English Language and Literature in English despite the fact that he was in science class.

For the purpose of insight, Hon. Kehinde Ayoola was born at Apaara Compound, Oyo East Local Government Area of Oyo State on January 14,1965.He attended University of Nigeria, Nsukka(15th October 1983-17th November, 1984). He left Nsukka for Obafemi Awolowo
University, Ile Ife, where he studied Animal Science (1984-1989) and graduated with second class honors.

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He also pursued his master’s degree in Obafemi Awolowo University,Ile Ife, and specialized in Environmental Control and Management at the University’s Institute of Ecology and Environmental Studies.

Before he got the state appointment, Hon. Ayoola has been a great entrepreneur. He was the former Chief Executive Officer, Aurum National Resources Ltd Ibadan and he was the Managing Director, Friendsphere Agro -Environmental Ltd.

When he was in the University, he was an athlete and commander of the Man ‘O War. His antecedent as a political strategist and tactician was attested to by Governor Seyi Makinde in his tribute where-in it was stated that Kehinde Ayoola got connected to him in 2002 when they both served as members of the Fortune Group for the election of Senator Rasheed Ladoja.

He also served as the Director General for his 2015 campaign and Deputy Director for his 2019 campaign. Of course, he was once served as the National Financial Secretary, Social Democratic Party(SDP) before he defected to his current party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

One aspect of Ayoola’s life is that he was a prolific writer and this has really contributed to his large following on the social media particularly facebook. If not for his sudden death, he was planning to complete and do public presentation of the two books, he was working on. One is more or less a story book and in writing the book, he tilts towards a genre called ‘faction'(a mixture of facts and fiction). The other manuscript he was working on which his sudden death could not allow him to complete is semi autobiography as described by him.

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Late Ayoola was a full member of several professional bodies and affliate member, Association of Environmental Impact Assessment of Nigeria (AEIAN).

In terms of social life, Hon. Ayoola was a lifelong supporter of 3CE Football Club of Ibadan and was equally an ardent fan of Arsenal Football Club of England. Apart from his attribute of intellection, he was a pastor at the New Covenant Church, Apata, Ibadan.

He got married to Olukemi an Associate Professor of Agronomy at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Ayoola on the September 21,1996 and the family is blessed with two children . May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace.

By Rahaman Onike
Public Affairs Analyst writes from Oyo town, Oyo State

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Oyo: Makinde Mother’s Burial Holds December

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Body of Chief   (Mrs.) Abigail Makinde, the mother of Oyo state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde will be interred  in the first week of December.

Governor Makinde disclosed this yesterday while playing host to a delegation from the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi Ogunlade Odundun II, which was in Ibadan, the state capital to commiserate with him on the death of his mother.

The governor said he was very delighted with the visit, urging Akure people, the kingdom where his mother was born, to actively participate in her funeral.

Makinde, who  described them as one of the most upright, bold  and honest  people in Yoruba land and the nation at large, also added that his late mother was a role model whose dedication to work, uprightness, boldness and honesty were the traits of Akure people.

A statement by Mr. Taiwo Adisa, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde,  quoted the governor as saying “when you see an average Akure man or woman, you see courage and see people who are true to their words.”

While delivering the condolence message from the Deji of Akure, the leader of the delegation, who is the Asae of Akure Kingdom, Senior High Chief Sola Adegbonmire, described the governor’s mother as a worthy daughter of Akure Kingdom.

He stressed that the Omoregie family, where Madam Abigail Omojolagbe Makinde hailed from, is a family of exceptional and wonderful people in Akureland.

Oba Aladetoyinbo further described the death of Madam Makinde as a painful loss not only to the Makinde family but also to the entire Akure Kingdom.

He then prayed that God would grant the family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

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‘My mother was an epitome of love, humility’ – Gov. Makinde mourns

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The Oyo  state governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, has described his late mother, Chief (Mrs.) Abigail Omojolagbe Makinde, as an epitome of love and humility, despite being a disciplinarian.

The governor stated this on Friday while receiving the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by the National Chairman, Prince Uche Sencondus, on a condolence visit to his house at Ikolaba GRA, Ibadan.

According to a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, the governor expressed gratitude to the PDP NWC, noting that the fact that the leadership of the party made it to Ibadan barely 24 hours after Mama’s demise showed the love they have for him.

The statement also noted that apart from the PDP NWC entourage, the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Edo, and Delta States, Alhaji Daud Akinola, Chief Imam of Ibadanland, Sheikh AbdulGaniyy Abubakri Agbotomokekere, the Grand Mufti of Ibadanland, Sheikh Abdul Fatai Alaga, and other Muslim leaders also paid condolence visits to the governor.

Similarly, the Oyo State Judiciary led by the Chief Justice of the state, Justice Muntar Abimbola, and the General Officer Commanding, 2 Div, Nigerian Army, Ibadan, Major General Anthony Omozoje, were also at the Makinde residence to condole with the governor.

Speaking while receiving the PDP entourage, which included the National Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu (retd); Deputy National Secretary; National Financial Secretary, Alhaji Abdullahi MaiBasira; National Woman Leader, Hajia Mariya Waziri; National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, as well a leader of the PDP from Osun State, Hon. Soji Adagunodo, Governor Makinde said the family remains grateful to God for the life Mama lived.

He said: “I want to thank you most sincerely for this condolence visit. I want to say, on behalf of myself, my wife, immediate family, and extended family, we are very grateful and appreciative of this visit. This happened yesterday morning and you are here this morning. It shows that you truly love me. So, I want to say thank you.

“Actually, we were preparing for my mummy’s 81st birthday, which would have been on the November 7, exactly three weeks from yesterday. But who are we to question God?

“We are grateful to God for the life she lived. To us, she was an epitome of love, humility. She was tough. If you see that trait in some of us, it came from her. And we also thank God that it was not like we were carrying her from one hospital to the other. She died peacefully in her sleep. So, we thank God for what He has done.”

Governor Makinde, who also took the opportunity to appreciate the PDP NWC for the confidence it had in him to lead the Ondo State governorship campaign, said what the outcome of the election meant was that the party would have to go back to the drawing board, adding that the campaign council will submit a report as soon as practicable.

“I will also like to use this opportunity to thank the National Working Committee of our great party for the opportunity you gave to us to lead the campaign in Ondo State. We can’t question God for the outcome of that election. What it means is that we have to go back to the drawing board. We will be submitting a report of those areas where we fell short, to the NWC as soon as practicable.

“I really want to use this opportunity to thank all of you who were there in Akure for the love of our party and for the support that you gave to our candidate in Ondo State.

“Once again, my Chairman, I am appreciative of this visit and I thank you and all the members of the NWC of our party.”

Earlier, the PDP national chairman said that the visit was to condole with the governor and the family for the loss of their mother.

He said: “A time like this is the time you know those who care and those who are with you. Unfortunately, we have two situations on our hands. We lost the chairman of the party in Zamfara. Obviously, we divided ourselves; the Deputy National Chairman of the party left for Zamfara yesterday morning for the burial of our late chairman of the party. And I and the rest of us in the National Working Committee leadership decided yesterday to come to Ibadan today.

“We are here by the grace of God to console you and the rest of the members of your family. We have no other way to do it than to join you in prayers.

“It is a very painful experience that you have to go through, sometimes alone. I know what it is because I have experienced it. It is only God that can fill the vacuum in your heart because the care of a mother is quite different from that of a father.

“So, on behalf of the leadership of our party, we are here to console you on this condolence visit. The Lord will strengthen you. And because you are one of our best and doing good works for the people of Oyo State and at this time that you are giving out your best, suddenly, God who gives has taken your beloved mother.

“We are here to share the pain and sorrow with you and to let you know we will continue in prayers during this period, even as we prepare for the funeral. After the funeral, we will continue to pray for you, your immediate and larger family. It is important for us to do so, having worked with you and having seen you as a man who is compassionate and cares for others.

“Today, we are here with you and we pray that God will energise you at this period and stretch His right hand of righteousness to touch every one of the members of the family to bear this great loss.

“Therefore, as members of the National Working Committee, we pray that God will keep you now and thereafter to make you continue to do the good work for the people of Oyo State

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Nigeria: Group drums support for #ENDSARS

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Benchmark Group of Nigeria on Friday declared its support for the ongoing peaceful #EndSARS protests, as Nigerians  speak up against police brutality.

Akanbi Bukola, founder of the group in a chat with Mega Icon Magazine said it is imperative to identify with Nigerians as protests continue around the country to end police brutality and the abuse of power by the institution established to protect its citizenry.

She noted that aside corruption and oppression from the hands of some elements of the Nigeria Police Force, “this time around, Nigerians, irrespective of faith, ethnic or political biases,  must come together to eradicate police brutality once and for all in the society”.

According to her, for many Nigerians, the police has failed to fulfill its mandate of providing public security as enshrined in the constitution, adding that officers are now viewed more as predators than protectors.

Akanbi lamented further that Nigerians struggling to make ends meet are accosted on a daily basis by these officers who demand bribes and commit abuses against them as a means of extorting money.

“Those who fail to pay are usually threatened with arrest and physical harm, by those expected to protect them”, she said.

Akanbi, however called for the overall reform of the country’s police force.

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