By Funmilayo Okunade
Ipoti Ekiti (Ekiti State), Aug. 21, 2020 (NAN) Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti has extolled the virtues of the late Chief Samuel Babalola, a Special Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Fayemi, at a funeral service held in honour of Babalola at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Ipoti Ekiti, on Friday described the life of the late presidential aide as worthy of emulation.
The governor, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, also described Babalola as a “selfless and honest public servant who served with integrity and played politics without bitterness in his life time.’’
According to him, the late politician’s humility, simplicity, patriotism and kindheartedness will be sorely missed.
He said the Babalola, who died on July 31 at the age of 89, served as Special Adviser on Education and National Ethics between 1999 and 2003 in the Obasanjo administration.
Fayemi noted that Babalola had an exemplary career as “a thoroughbred teacher, iconic educator and one of the founding fathers of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) where his pioneering role remains indelible.”
Describing the death of Babalola as a ” monumental loss to Ipoti Ekiti in particular and Ekiti in general,” Fayemi said the government and people of the state were consoled that the octogenarian lived an eventful life.
“Right from his time in the Western Region Government where he served as Commissioner of Education under Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo, Commissioner of Health under Brig. Oluwole Rotimi, later as Commissioner of Education in old Ondo State under Chief Adekunle Ajasin, Babalola distinguished himself as an exemplary leader, ” Fayemi said.
The governor further commended Babalola’s contribution in God’s vineyard where he served in various capacities culminating in his role as the Secretary General of the Nigeria Baptist Convention (NBC).
Fayemi congratulated the family of the deceased on surviving their patriarch, urging it to take solace in the fact that Babalola left a good name and lived a good life.
Also speaking, a former governor of Ekiti, Chief Segun Oni, described himself as one of Babalola’s “political students,” saying the deceased mentored many leaders in his lifetime and served diligently in the positions he occupied.
Oni said Babalola used politics to serve his people, his home state and his country and commanded the respect of all and sundry.
Delivering the sermon at the funeral service, Rev. Olajide Amos, urged the congregation and Nigerians to always be prepared for death by living their lives in the service of God and humanity.
Amos, who stressed the need to always fear God, said no individual no matter how powerful, rich, famous and influential in life, would take anything away after dying.
“One day, you will leave all what you have for another person; so it is better to help people in your lifetime with what you have because you don’t know the time, the day and where you will die,” he said.
He urged privileged Nigerians to always use their wealth, resources and position to help the poor, saying this would serve as a legacy they would be remembered for.
The funeral service also featured bible reading, special prayers for the children of the deceased and thanksgiving.
The deceased, who was a school principal and General Secretary of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), entered partisan politics after his retirement from service.
Babalola, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was a Chief Whip of the old Ondo State House of Assembly and Chairman of Ekiti State Teaching Service Commission.