Ado-Ekiti, the Ekti State capital was a mecca of sorts on Sunday when political heavyweights and crème la de crème from different parts of the country stormed the city to felicitate with Governor John Kayode Fayemi simply called JKF on the occasion of his 55th birthday anniversary.
Dignitaries who graced the event include Governors Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia, Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, and Godwin Obaseki of Edo.
Also in attendance were former Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko; former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore; Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, among others.
Leaders of groups including Yoruba leaders, traditional leaders, the academics and clergy were also fully on ground to celebrate with Fayemi.
However, one man ensured that the heavyweight politicians did not leave the state without taking home a message.
The Bishop of Oyo Diocese, Most Revd. Emmanuel Badejo, used the opportunity of the occasion to call on political leaders in the country to put the people above party and personal interests in order to create a prosperous nation.
He made the call at the thanksgiving mass organized for the birthday celebration.
According to Badejo, God is calling on leaders to put people above party and their personal interests, warning that those who fail to do so would “become liabilities and be thrown into the dustbin of history”.
The clergyman also urged Nigerians to roll up their sleeves in support of leaders who were ready to create a better society, noting that the country has been “wounded by injustice” and, therefore, needs leaders who would be lights to displace the darkness surrounding the nation.
“We must roll up our sleeves to support leaders and those who want to create a better society. The light of honesty is disappearing; the light is not going round enough. God is calling on leaders to put people above party, to put people above personal interests because the people come first and they are God’s greatest legacy. Those who fail to do so will become liabilities and will be thrown into the dustbin of history”, Badejo was quoted in a press release signed by Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Olayinka Oyebode, in Ado-Ekiti on Sunday.
The cleric congratulated Fayemi for spearheading various people-oriented programmes in the different capacities he had served the people.
According to the release, Badejo also commended the governor and other Southwest governors for coming up with the Western Nigeria Security Network popularly called Amotekun, saying the governors have “demonstrated a superior understanding of what it means to prioritise the sanctity of human life”.
The Catholic Bishop also said with great optimism that Ekiti might be a small state but it had all it takes to lead Nigeria in the near future.
He prayed God to give Fayemi “good collaborators and trustworthy allies as he continues to serve the people selflessly.”
In his remarks, Governor Fayemi reiterated his promise to dedicate the rest of his life to the service of God and humanity, stressing that “a life without service to God and humanity is not a life worth living.”
Other highlights of the birthday celebration included a panel discussion and public presentation of a book that interrogated his first term in office.
In his goodwill message, Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal described Fayemi as “a governor who is not partisan and has proven himself to be pan-Nigeria and had a relationship with everyone regardless of political affiliation”.
Tambuwal added that Fayemi was doing incredibly well as a “very accommodating and patriotic Nigerian leader.”
Other clerics in attendance were the Archbishop of Ondo Anglican Diocese, Bishop Christopher Omotunde and Bishop of Ekiti Catholic Diocese, Bishop Felix Ajakaiye.
Kayode Fayemi, a native of Isan-Ekiti in Oye Local Government Area of Ekiti State, Nigeria, was born in Ibadan, Oyo State on 9 February 1965.