By Kolawole Olayinka, Abeokuta
The governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun has described the late Maj. Gen. Ekundayo Opaleye (rtd.), as a patriot, who epitomised courage, integrity, leadership, and commitment not just to the Nigerian Army but to the country at large.
Abiodun, who made this known on Friday during the burial ceremony of the late revered elder statesman, at the Green Legacy Resorts Hall, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, noted that his departure would leave a vacuum not only in the lives of his immediate family but also the state.
Represented by his Deputy, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, the governor noted that the late Maj. Gen. Opaleye played notable roles while in active service of the Nigerian Army, among which were Military Administrator of old Ondo State, Commander, Nigerian Army Corps of Engineers, Commander of the Organisation of African Union’s neutral military observer Corps in Rwanda, as well as his role in the country’s peace agreement.
He noted that at retirement, the deceased continued to live a life of impact by playing a pivotal role in Owu Kingdom, where he was Balogun, alongside serving as a cabinet member of the Olowu in Council, pointing out that since he resumed office as governor, General Opaleye remained supportive of his administration by giving wise counsel where and when necessary.
The number one citizen in the state expressed heartfelt condolences of the government and the people of the state to his widows, children, grandchildren and the extended family he left behind, praying that God grants them fortitude to bear the irreparable loss and eternal rest to the departed.
In his remarks, the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olayide Adelami, who said the late military administrator introduced due process which the state still follows, described him as a committed Christian, father, diligent, urging the children and family members to emulate him.
Acknowledging the deceased’s humility, fear of God and contributions to the church’s development despite his position in the society, Most Superior Evangelist Olusegun Olarinde, in his sermon, noted that death is a debt, imploring people to be diligent and extend hand of fellowship to other people.
Also speaking, the only daughter of the deceased, Navy Cdr. Abiola Oluwole-Smith, described her father as loving, caring, discipline, passionate, calm, a rare gem, and the only one who shares her woes and successes, adding that the deceased was an embodiment of genuine love, honesty, humility and family man, who would be greatly missed.