Nigeria-born US medical practitioner, Dr. Marindoti Oludare, who joins other eminent Nigerians in congratulating elder statesman and Afenifere leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti on his 97th birthday, has described the nonagenarian as not just a builder of men but also of the nation.
Thirty-four-year old Oludare, who is Convener/National Coordinator of Social Rehabilitation Gruppe (SRG) in a statement titled, “A Prose to a Sage”, issued from Texas, USA, described Akure, Ondo State-born Fashoranti as a leader who could have easily become governor or aspired to be president, but opted to retreat to the background and help in shaping policies that all are today hailing as fantastic.
Recall that Pa Fashoranti who turns 97 on Thursday, was an acolyte of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and later became Finance Commissioner under the Second Republic administration of Governor Adekunle Ajasin in Ondo State.
The story was told of how he, in 1998, turned down an offer by the leadership of Alliance for Democracy (AD) to come bear the governorship flag of the party in Ondo State, on the grounds that he was a widower and needed to attend to his children.
Oludare applauded Fasoranti thus: “No great nations without great leaders. It’s been said that nations don’t make men, men make nations. Some of the founding fathers of the United States became presidents-men like George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Others never aspired to become one-men like Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and Benjamin Franklin. It is among the great men like Benjamin Franklin of the United States that we can classify Pa Reuben Famuyide Fasonranti, succinctly put: A Great Mind.
“Baba Fasonranti is not just a builder of men but a builder of a nation. Long before Nigeria became a sovereign nation, Baba had started working indefatigably to build it through his work as an erudite teacher. Baba’s impact as an educator spanned several generations. He taught many of our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers.
“When the military Juntas got in his way, Baba stood tall, fought against them. When they tried to soil the standard of education, as a man who will never subsidise his values or standards, he started the first private primary school in Akure, a great pride of the city which still stands tall till today.”
He also gave him eulogies for standing firm with Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, now President-elect, when Afenifere took a stand that power should shift to the South this time round.
“A paragon of integrity, an epitome of grace. Even greater than his lectures in the classes, are the examples that he passes down to us all. Baba has eternally been on the right side of history, from the days of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, to the days of Ajasin, down to his endorsement of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
“Baba always stood up to those trying to mislead us and shone the light on the right path for us his children to follow. Baba showed us the way, and gave us the impetus to trot down the path to our liberation and elevation. Centuries from now, generations yet unborn will still be reaping the sweet fruits of the seeds that Baba sowed.”
Oludare added, saying, “Like the saying goes, “It is not just about the years in your life, but about the life in your years”, Baba Fasoranti has lived many years in this life and had an abundant life in his many years. We the people of Ondo State are so lucky to call Baba our own, we couldn’t have asked for something better from God.
“He is the gift that keeps on giving, the blessed that keeps on blessing and the light that keeps on shinning. We love you, we thank you and we pray that the good Lord grant you many more years in good health and sound mind.
“As we celebrate you on your 97th year on earth, we shall sing your praise, and wish you a Happy Birthday.”