Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi yesterday in Ado-Ekiti, conferred the prestigious Ekiti ‘Oni Uyi’ Awards on 36 indigenes and residents, who have distinguished themselves in areas of endeavours and contributed to the development of the state.
This, he said, was in line with the provisions of Ekiti State Honours Roll Law, No 41 of 2019 and part of the move by the state government to promote the ethos and values associated with Ekiti people.
The honours award, which is the second edition, kick-started activities marking the 26th anniversary of the creation of the state as well as the valedictory and inauguration ceremonies for the outgoing and incoming administrations.
At the glamorous event, Dr. Fayemi conferred the highest honour, Ekiti Exceptional Achievers (EEA), on seven former deputy governors, (four of whom served under Ayodele Fayose), as “Builders of Ekiti State”. Five prominent leaders, who were in the vanguard of the struggle for the creation of the state, were also awarded the EEA honour in recognition of their roles as “Architects of the State”.
The former deputy governors are: Dr. Sikiru Tae Lawal, Prof Modupe Adelabu, Abiodun Aluko, a surveyor; Senator Abiodun Olujimi, Chief Adebisi Omoyeni, Prof Kolapo Olusola-Eleka and the late Mrs. Funmilayo Adunni Olayinka, who was honoured post humously.
The prominent leaders, who received the EEA award are: the Eye Sorun of Ado- Ekiti, Olori Abosede Adejugbe; an educationist, Chief J. A. A. Alibaloye; a former sole administrator of Ekiti Central Local Government, Mr. Jonathan Adeyemi; the late Chief George Adefemi; and Prince Alonge Gabriel.
Member of Ekiti Exceptional Achievers (MEEA) award was also conferred on legal luminary and former secretary general, Nigeria Bar Association, Dele Adesina, SAN; and Bishop of Ekiti Catholic Diocese, Rev Felix Ajakaiye, while six former heads of service were also awarded Members of Ekiti Meritorious Service (MEMS).
Former heads of service in the state, Elder Olusegun Bankole; Mr. Olufemi Adewumi; Sir Olubunmi Famosaya; Dr. Olugbenga Faseluka; Mr. Ayodeji Ajayi and Mrs. Peju Babafemi received Members of Ekiti Meritorious Service (MEMS) award.
Others who were honoured include international table tennis superstar, Miss Tosin Oribamise; foremost Juju musician, “King” Femi Ariyo; President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief official photographer, Bayo Omoboriowo; a former tutor-general, Mrs. Rhoda Ojo; a bronze medallist of National Royal Mathematics competition (2021) Ikeoluwa Okunola; a medical doctor- turned-agriculture entrepreneur, Dr. Temitope Aroge and a popular yam farmer, Awe Thomas Odunayo.
According to Governor Fayemi, the legal backing given to the honours award was part of the legacy his administration was bequeathing to succeeding administrations to ensure its sustainability.
He said those honoured were chosen from socio-economic sectors of the state without bias to encourage the virtues of diligence, hard work, honesty and integrity.
The governor added that every Ekiti indigene and friends of the state, who had distinguished themselves in their endeavours, were entitled to be selected and considered for the award.
“It is no longer news that our mantra for this second term in office is restoring those values which make us unique as Ekiti people and in the pursuant of this we resuscitated the honours roll and awards. To this end the Ekiti State honours roll law No 41 of 2020 was enacted to give legal backing to the award and to institutionalise it permanently for subsequent administration.
“The awards are non-partisan and every Ekiti indigene and friends of Ekiti who have distinguished themselves in field of endeavours are qualified to be so honoured,” he said.
Responding on behalf of the awardees, a former head of service, Mr. Olufemi Adewumi, hailed Governor Fayemi and the government for considering the recipients for the awards, in recognition of their service to humanity and the state.
A major highlight of the event was a panel discussion on the progress of the state with four of the awardees: Olori Abosede Adejugbe, former head of service, Elder Samuel Bankole, former deputy governor, Prof Modupe Adelabu and Dr. Temitope Aroge as discussants.