Tunji Adebiyi, A Tribute
THE Rev. Tunji Adebiyi was a beacon of the light of God in this perverse world. He was a great man of faith that understood that the apostolic calling of the Church was not limited to the four walls of any denomination’s place of gathering, but to the whole world. He demonstrated just like others before him, that in times like these, according to the leading of God, ordained ministers sometimes need to extend the frontiers of their ministry to the realms of politics and public governance. He was as much a man of faith, as he was an agitator and demonstrator for the causes of justice and democracy. He also did not shy away from the opportunity to serve. He served loyally and conscientiously, earning the trust of visionary leaders in Yorubaland through the years and handling sensitive assignments.
Adebiyi has been a consistent figure in the pro-democracy movement as well as the movement for the advancement of Yorubaland. As early as the eighties, he served as the Assistant Secretary General of the Egbe Ilosiwaju Yoruba. Since then, he has been boldly and frontally supporting the movement, working closely with icons of the struggle such as Bashorun M.K.O. Abiola as political assistant, and later as assistant to Chief Anthony Enahoro and personal assistant to Pa Abraham Adesanya. He also meritoriously served the Government of Lagos State as Special Adviser on Regional Integration under the administrations of former Governor Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola.
In that capacity, he worked very closely with me and other patriots in the formation of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria. In the activities of the DAWN Commission, he assisted the Honourable Commissioner for Establishment, Mrs. Oguntuase as the Lagos Focal Point. For him, acknowledging the prime place of Yorubaland was not tantamount to denying the importance of a united Nigeria. He defended both conscientiously; he served both loyally. He loved Nigeria and Nigerians and he was amongst those who sacrificed a great deal to secure the freedoms we now enjoy. He also did not relent in his efforts to protect our hard earned liberties, which is why he was at the forefront of efforts aimed at the integration of the Southwest region, in order to re-enact the economic prosperity, educational advancement and peaceful co-existence that our country experienced under the regional governments of old, before the current pseudo-federal system was imposed on us.
It is with a profound sense of loss that I conclude this tribute in honour of one of our comrades in the struggle for a progressive and egalitarian society, Rev. Tunji Adebiyi. Nonetheless, in recognition that it is the Lord who gives and takes as He wills, I thank God for the accomplished life of faith that the dear departed lived. I charge us all to celebrate the legacy of Rev. Adebiyi by upholding the ideals by which he lived his life, so that his vision for our land may become reality someday soon.
May his soul rest in peace and may his memory remain blessed.
.Fayemi, former governor of Ekiti State, writes from Lagos.