Thursday, July 30, 2020 11:45 am
By Babafemi Ojudu
I woke up to the news of the passing of Papa Ayo Fasanmi this morning. It was not that a man of his age was not expected to die. It saddens because his tribe is getting extinct.
Like his leader Obafemi Awolowo, Papa was a great man of principle, one of the originals. He was steadfast , knowledgeable, committed to the welfare of the people. He never looked back or side ways. He always kept, his eyes on his goals never minding victory or defeat, comfort or discomfort. All through his life and struggle he kept faith with his ideals and commitment to welfarism.
He will be forever be remembered. I will miss his frequent calls and encouragement. Stay true to your beliefs , he always impressed on me . He never wavered . Ideologically he was as solid as the Olosunta rock. God bless your soul Papa as you journeyed to the world beyond.
We shall miss you.
Find below a short piece I wrote on him on his 93rd birthday
The Fighter For Justice At 92
I took time off this afternoon to call on Senator Ayo Fasanmi in his house in Osogbo. I promised him when I met him in company of President Buhari in Osogbo yesterday that I would be seeing him 12 noon today. On the dot of 12, I knocked on his door. He was so surprised. He said he could not believe I would keep my promise to see him not to talk of keeping to time. He said young people no longer value promises and keeping to time. We laughed it off and he was so thankful for my gesture.
A senator of the second republic. (that was from 1979 to 1983) .
Pa Fasanmi is an Awolowo associate who as a young man fought for the independence of Nigeria, and later in life, for its development. As a young man he was said to have stormed a court premises where the white colonialists were trying his compatriots for sedition, seized the evidence, freed the accused persons, and fled with them. He was declared wanted.
A trained pharmacist, Pa Fasanmi was born 93 years ago in Iye Ekiti, Ekiti State and settled in Osogbo where he conducted his business and from where he traveled across Yorubaland to play his politics.
Knowledgeable and fiery in his defence of what is just, right and equitable, Papa gave his life to the fight for the oppressed, the wretched of the earth, the deprived. At 93 he remains a delight to be with and to share ideas and thoughts with. His mind is as sharp as that of a 40 year old. When he gives interviews he recalls dates and events with ease and relish.
His was the generation that would have made Nigeria a first class nation but the military terminated their dream and got us into the mess we are trying to clear.
Family and friends will gather next Thursday to celebrate Senator Ayo Fasanmi’s 93rd birthday and in the tradition of his generation he whispered to me it shall be low keyed.