The Oyo State Government has been lauded for its initiative to immortalise late General Aguiyi Ironsi and Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi with a Memorial Park and Garden at Lalupon area of the state.
The Nigerian Army, Ironsi family, Fajuyi Foundation, Oyo State House of Assembly and the Lalupon community praised the government for its efforts which they described as one that will not only sustain the heritage but encourage patriotism among the people.
The commendation was given during the working visit and post-site clearing inspection of the proposed Ironsi – Fajuyi Memorial Park and Garden, which is going to serve as a tourist centre.
They noted that developing the assassination site of the two martyrs killed on July 29, 1966 during Nigeria’s first military coup is a way of immortalising them and promoting gallantry, loyalty, trust and unity amongst Nigerians.
The Nigerian Army, represented by the Engineer Brigade Command, Mokola Barracks, Gabriel Ochigagno, lauded the Oyo State Government for recognising and celebrating the tenets of the military, and promised that the Military will not stop to uphold the ideals of the martyrs.
Speaking on behalf of the State House of Assembly, the House Committee Chairman on Information and Culture, Honourable Joshua Oyebamiji, who was supported by the House Committee Chairman on Tourism, Honourable Niyi Adeoye and House Committee Chairman on Solid Minerals, Honourable Jimoh Akintunde, pledged support of the lawmakers to the project with relevant legislations whenever the need arises.
Honourable Oyebamiji described the development as historical, stressing that the project would bring developmental projects to the community.
Representing the Ironsi family, the son of the late Aguiyi Ironsi and former Minister of State for Defence, Ambassador Thomas Agunyi-Ironsi, thanked the State Government for recognising the gallant strides of the late administrators to the country.
He also pledged that the Aguyi-Ironsi family will support the laudable project to promote inter-tribal unity in the country, while recalling the events which led to his father’s assassination alongside his host, Fajuyi.
“I was with my father that fateful day when he was forcefully taken away. I was a 13-year-old boy then. Today’s event is historic for so many reasons. But above all, the two of them were gallant heroes who laid down their lives for the unity of this nation,” the former Minister said.
He lauded Governor Abiola Ajimobi and the Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Toye Arulogun, for their ingenuity to situate a tourist attraction site at the spot where the gallant soldiers were killed.
He said the project is not only important for the present generation, but for the coming generation, which will lend to the historical treasure of the nation.
Secretary of the Fajuyi Foundation, Agbaakin Lekan Alabi, on his part, commended the State Government for bringing Lalupon community to limelight.
In his earlier remarks, Mr Arulogun said government will leave no stone unturned to ensure the immortalisation of the two heroes.
He explained that the State Government initiated the process because of peculiar circumstances which led to their death.
“We are here today to celebrate the unity of Nigeria where a Yoruba man laid his life for an Ibo man. We are here to celebrate bravery in the military and beam the search light on Lalupon and its people, because we know Lalupon deserves recognition in Nigeria,” Arulogun noted.
Speaking on behalf of Lalupo Community, the Chairman, Community Development Association, Prince Oribayo Okeyode, assured the State government that the indigenes of the community would lend their unalloyed support to ensure the realisation of the project.