The Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, on Saturday, described his father, Pa Ezekiel Oyebanji, as a man who places great value on honesty, integrity, humility, hardwork and self-discipline, which, according to him, helped in shaping his own personality.
The Governor also stated that those who have been speculating over possible political crisis between him and the Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele will be grossly #disappointed, adding that the cord of their relationship stands strong and unbreakable.
Oyebanji spoke on Saturday during a thanksgiving service held at the First Baptist Church, Ikogosi Ekiti, marking the 90th birthday celebration of his father, who is a retired school principal.
Shedding light on his simplicity and humble approach to life, Oyebanji stated that his father contributed immensely to his spiritual growth, which had buoyed his faith in God, as the only one with the capacity to provide solutions to all life’s challenges.
Giving reasons for the decision of the family to have a low key celebration devoid of any formal invitation to anyone, Governor Oyebanji said it was in line with the family’s modest manner of doing things, coupled with the fact he, as the Governor of the state, has to live by example.
The Governor said: “I would have loved to make the birthday elaborate, but I have to make it low-key for the fact that Ekiti people are currently my employer, so I have to behave responsibly. I have to be cautious and circumspect in whatever I do.
“If I wasn’t a governor, I would have celebrated him more than this. We deliberately did not send out invitation cards to anyone so that Baba can have a modest celebration with his friends and family members. But somehow people heard and turned up to honour our father”.
Speaking regarding his father’s virtuous life, Oyebanji stated: “Those who are saying I am humble should blame my father for it. He is the one who taught me to be humble. I have no apologies about that. If I have misbehaved as a Governor, my father would have called to caution me. He is such a disciplinarian and would waste no time in correcting me even as a sitting Governor”.
Speaking regarding his political future, Oyeabanji said he has no enemy to fight and that those postulating that he and Senator Bamidele would soon clash would be disappointed.
“The two of us are first and foremost friends and brothers, we believe in God as the sole determinant of the future and we are also highly experienced politicians who have committed our political future in the hands of God. So, stop speculating about any war between us.
“God is the Alpha and Omega of human beings. He does things at his own will. God is the decider of our fate. I want to tell you clearly that nothing can separate me from Senator Bamidele. We have built a strong relationship over the years, so politics can’t separate us,” he said.
In his remarks, the celebrant, Pa Oyebanji, said his strong belief in scholarship as a weapon to overcome poverty, propelled him to acquire western education through hard work and resoluteness.
Pa Oyebanji appreciated God for being alive to celebrate 90, and still standing tall in good health to contribute to the growth of education in his community, state and the country at large.
“When I finished primary six, my father loved all his children, but he didn’t have money to send us to school. I was farming with him, but I loved education and I was determined to acquire it at all costs, which I later did.
“What I know is that whoever is not focused and hardworking can’t succeed in life. It was these principles that led me to study for my GCE as a private candidate. It was this that gave me admission into the university. Our youths must know that those who made it to the top struggled in life to get there. So, they must work hard to rise and succeed,” he advised.
In his remarks, Senator Bamidele said the good deeds Pa Oyebanji inculcated in his children reflect in Governor Oyebanji’s remarkable performance as Governor of the state, a development he said had raised his political rating and would make him spend eight years as a governor.
“As God liveth, Baba will still live longer to reap the fruits of his labour. I appreciate the Governor for standing by me to be Senate Leader. His support was strong and solid. He did this because he had imbibed the culture of Omoluabi and love for Ekiti from his father.
“I will make sure that I join Governor Oyebanji to improve the wellbeing of Ekiti in terms of road construction and facilitating federal projects to Ekiti. This is what we owe Ekiti and we shall achieve it,” he said.
In his sermon titled: ‘Teach us How to count our days’, the Pastor in charge of Gateway Baptist Church, Ado Ekiti, Reverend Michael Otun, dismissed the insinuation that birthday celebration is a signal of imminent death as being thought in some quarters.
Instead, he said the birthday celebration is an opportunity to think more about heaven.