By  Hon Adeoye Aribasoye

On October 19, 2022, something happened that quaked the Ekiti State political firmament. In a traumatic fashion, we heard about the demise of the Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Hon. Funminiyi Afuye.

Putting it succinctly, it was one death that caught all of us unawares. It happened at the most unexpected time. Hon. Afuye was bubbling with life and living a normal life, when the incident happened . It was like a thunderbolt to some of us.

Up to now, the assembly , and Afuye’s admirers across party lines are yet to recover from the shock of his death. The whole strata of the state were rattled. Even his town, Ikere Ekiti, is still singing the dirge in deep mourning, for losing such an illustrious political Colossus, Lawyer and Human Rights Activist.

Dissecting Afuye’s 66 years of sojourn depicted that of outstanding passage and contributions. He was outstanding as a student’s leader at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University. He was impressive as a practising lawyer and human rights activist, and positively impactful as a politician, representing his Ikere Ekiti people at the Hallowed Chambers of the Ekiti State House of Assembly.

I met Hon Funminiyi Afuye in 2007 during the struggle for the reclamation of Dr Kayode Fayemi’s stolen mandate, which occurred during the highly rigged 2007 election. Despite the electoral malfeasance that pockmarked the poll, Afuye was one of the few Action Congress Assembly candidates that won to represent the opposition.

When others were betraying and playing politics of indecency, Afuye stood for the opposition like a rock of gilbratar. He neither wavered nor quivered. He was resolute , dependable and steely in his loyalty to his party and Ekiti people. He never acted treacherously. Little wonder, the party till death perceived Afuye as a dyed-in-the-wool progressive.

As the leader of Opposition between 2007 and 2011 in the Ekiti Assembly, his contributions were regaling, interesting and epochal. He left an history and records of performance that will be difficult to match and surpass.

His contributions on the floor of the House portrayed that of someone with deep knowledge of lawmaking, and personality with penchant for good governance for his people. Hon Afuye was not the ilk that played to the gallery. He was blunt and fearless.

Most astounding was his readiness to willingly support the then Governor, Engr Segun Oni on any issue that will bring radical development to Ekiti. He never primed political affiliation above corporate benefits. This was an Hallmark of a good leader, and Afuye was indisputably one.

Flowing from these, the entire All Progressive Congress political structures threw their weight behind him to secure the ticket to represent Ikere constituency 1 in 2019. They didn’t stop at that, they also worked assiduously to ensure that he emerged the Speaker as a payback for his loyalty.

Luckily for me, I also won election in my constituency, which gave me the ample and rare opportunity to work closely with him. The three and half years of my interactions with the late Speaker was eventful. It was like drinking from the fountain of knowledge of a man, who had a full grasp of lawmaking rudiments and leadership in general.

Hon Afuye demonstrated leadership with his boisterous and radical nature. He was humble and ready to bow to superior arguments. He didnt manifest imposing mien or abuse the garvel to subjugate any voice, no matter how feeble at the plenary.

While presiding on the floor of the House, he remained one personality under whom you could seek refuge. He was balanced emotionally and fair to all the 25 other members.

Despite the fact that the House was unipolar, with all the 26 members being from APC, Hon Afuye didn’t make the House a rubber-stamp enclave. We argued issues and displayed dissenting views , even against the interest of the executive in some cases, just for Ekiti to be governed in the most dignifying fashion.

Under Afuye’s momentous reign, the Assembly passed a total of 81 bills with several motions passed. These happened within a spate of three and half years when we have had some state Assemblies celebrating passage of 40 bills in four years, flaunting such as a good scorecard.

He had indisputably left a big vacuum in the political leadership of this state . His passing into glory at this time was agonising and excruciating to some of us, who knew his value and how neckdeep he was to make Ekiti great.

I commiserate with his wife, children, friends, political admirers, APC political family,Ikere Ekiti and the Ogoga of Ikere, Oba Adejimi Adu and Ekiti State in general,under the leadership of Hon Biodun Oyebanji on the untimely demise of this priceless Ekiti indigene.

To me personally, I was pained that you have to leave this time. But you have left a trailblazing record of accomplishments that gave us solace. You had etched your name in gold, and you will be difficult to forget.

May your soul continues to rest in the bosom of your creator.

Sunre o Ore Mi, Egbon mi, Baba Mi. Ka Pade Lojo Ajinde.

Aribasoye represents Ikole Constituency 2 in Ekiti State House of Assembly

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