Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi yesterday declared a seven-day mourning in honour of his deputy governor, Mrs Funmilayo Olayinka, who died in Lagos on Saturday after a long but spirited battle with cancer.
In a broadcast, Fayemi described as painful the exit of a loyal deputy. He directed that condolence registers be opened in his ofiice, that of the deputy, the House of Assembly, government offices and Ekiti State Liaison Offices in Abuja and Lagos.
Fayemi recounted how he wished Mrs Olayinka would survive the terminal disease to pair with him in taking the state to a loftier height.
He said: “In all of these challenges, I was of the belief that because of her courage and determination to live, she would pull through her health challenges. But man proposes and God disposes. She lost the battle.
“Fellow citizens of Ekiti State, I am pained by the exit of our Deputy Governor who was my ready partner in our collective quest to develop our dear state.
“As my dependable ally in the struggle to free Ekiti, she was a consistent bulwark of support, especially through the period of the judicial struggle to reclaim our mandate.
“I was never in doubt of her unalloyed loyalty, competence and integrity. I shall miss her greatly. In the course of our struggle, she also became my wife’s best friend.
“As my deputy, she was a hardworking, God fearing, reliable and trustworthy companion.”
Fayemi listed the Ekiti State Economic Management Team; Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs; Ekiti State Tenders Board; the State Pilgrims Welfare Board; and the Branding and Communications Strategy, among others as some of the areas where the late Mrs. Olayinka left her footprint.
The governor said: “She served our people meritoriously in various capacities, overseeing key units of government including her several achievements in office.
She would be particularly remembered for overseeing the birthing of a new brand identity for the state; restoring the dignity and honour of our people and bequeathing brand identity icons that have become unifying forces among our people, regardless of age, gender or socio-political leanings.
“Her unique legacy is that active participation and high achievement in politics and governance should not exclude women; this is particularly instructive in our society today as we pursue inclusion in every sector of national life.
“She was a virtuous family woman and devout Christian who served God practically and diligently, touching many lives in compassion and humility. Even as we mourn the dearly departed, we are consoled by the fact that she has gone to rest with the Lord and thus she is free from the burdens and worries of this earthly realm.
“In reflection of the mood of our state in this trying moment, a period of seven-day mourning shall commence from this moment during which all flags in the state will fly at half mast. During this period also, all state official ceremonies will be suspended.
“The state shall liaise with her family in preparation for a full state burial. I also use this opportunity to request that you remember the family she has left behind in your prayers.”