Residents of Ekiti State gathered at the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Ado-Ekiti, on Friday to celebrate the late former Military Governor of the Old Western Region, Gen. Adeyinka Adebayo (retd.).
His corpse arrived for the lying-in-state at around 1:40 pm, accompanied by Governor Ayodele Fayose and the son of the deceased, former Governor Niyi Adebayo.
Residents were clad in green ‘ankara’ with the portrait of the deceased.
In his tribute, the representative of the Alumni of Christ School, Ado-Ekiti, Mr. Jadesola Babatola, said Adebayo transformed the nooks and crannies of the western region, especially Ekiti, with his legacies.
A former secretary of the Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr. Kunle Olajide, said Adebayo achieved greatness because of his diligence, hard work, honesty and commitment to whatever cause he believed in.
He said, “He was recognised in the army for his sterling qualities. He was appointed the military governor at the most difficult time in Nigeria, when the political tension was high.
“He identified with the highly and lowly people in the society and rejoiced with those in joy and identified with those in sorrow.
“It was due to his commitment to serve his people that he was appointed as the leader of the Yoruba Council of Elders. He maintained neutrality in politics. ‘Oga’ Adebayo, well you have come, you have seen and you have conquered.”
His friend of many years and the Odoba of Ado-Ekiti, Chief Alex Olu Ajayi, said Adebayo was loved by his country and people.
In his address, Fayose urged the people to continue to pray for the family.
He described Adebayo as a true face of Yoruba nation and Nigeria, who genuinely fought for the unity of the country during the civil war that nearly ripped the country apart between 1967 and 1970.
“This is the time to stay together to sustain the ideals of the general. He remains a symbol of hope for governors yet to be and yet to be born. He was a great timekeeper,” Fayose said.
The highlight of the event was when the governor asked hunters to make 21-gun salute to the deceased.
He beat the talking drum to the admiration of the crowd and also danced to the sound.
Before the end of the event, the governor handed over the state flag to the son of the deceased, Adebayo, in honour of the late general.
Responding, Adebayo said the family would treasure the flag and always remember the honour done to his father.
Earlier, in his sermon, the Special Assistant on Religious Matters to Fayose, Pastor Seyi Olusola, urged the people to learn from Adebayo’s death.