Life and times of Kwara’s first military gov, Bamigboye


By Kayode Adeoti

Kwara State was at the weekend thrown into mourning after news of the passing of its first military governor, Brigadier (Gen) Femi David Lasisi Bamigboye broke on Friday.

Bamigboye who governed Kwara from 1967 – 1975, after it was created among first generation 11 states from the old defunct three regions of North, East and South of Nigeria, was said to have died in Lagos on Friday.

Younger brother to the deceased, retired Col. Theophilus Bamigboye, confirmed the death to newsmen on the telephone on Friday, saying the longest serving Kwara governor died during a brief illness at the age of 78. He however said the burial date for the elder statesman would be announced later.

Born on December 7, 1940, Bamigboye who is an Igbomina man from Omu Aran, was succeeded by late Ibrahim Taiwo as military governor of the state.

As governor during the military regime of General Yakubu Gowon, the elder Bamigboye was a visionary leader and a true patriot

In 1968, he created the Ministry of Education with a department to handle scholarships and bursary matters and in 1971, Bamigboye announced the decision to establish Kwara State Polytechnic, which came into being in 1972.

In December 1972, he opened the new premises of Ola-Olu Hospital with accommodation for 35 patients.

He was also credited with building the Government House, Ilorin, establishment of the Herald Newspapers, first Kwara Secretariat, Kwara Hotels, General Hospitals and health centres. In addition, Bamigboye as governor of the state, established Water Corporation, state Library and Kwara Furniture.

Build and sustained unity among Kwarans in various fields

He was a member of the pioneer intake of the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC Course 1), Circa Aprl, 1960.

In 1977, some of his property in Ilorin were reportedly seized, not to be returned until 26 years layer in May 2003.

As a community leader with sincere passion for unity and development, Bamigboye was bestowed the title of Esinkin- Omu of Omu Aran.

Speaking on the demise of Bamigboye, the new Olomu, Oba Abdulraheem Adeoti said, “He will surely be missed and remembered for his fatherly roles and advices.

“He is always keen on contributing his quota to the transformation of the community with many infrastructure landmarks to his credit.”

…Buhari, Saraki, Gov. Ahmed pay tributes

Torrents of tributes have come the way of the first military governor of Kwara State, Brigadier-General David Bamigboye, who died in Lagos during a brief illness at the weekend.

President Muhammadu Buhari in his condolence message is made available by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Friday, affirmed that Bamigboye, who was well respected for his versatility and leadership, would be long remembered for his service to the nation in a variety of roles.

Buhari paid tribute to his enduring commitment to the development of Kwara during his tenure as military governor.

He particularly acknowledged his far-reaching role in helping to lay the foundation for an effective education system and civil service in the State.

Similarly, the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, in a tweet at the weekend described the departed Bamigboye as a patriot who led Kwara through its formative years.

“Rtd Brigadier Gen Femi David Bamigboye, led Kwara State through its formative years as its first military governor. His great work and commitment to the development of our state cannot be over-emphasised.

As we commiserate with his family and loved ones, I join all Kwarans and indeed, all Nigerians in also celebrating the life and accomplishments of the late General Bamigboye,” Saraki tweeted.

Also, Kwara State Governor, Alh. Abdulfatah Ahmed in a message by his Chief Press Secretary, Abdulwahab Oba described the news of the death of Gen. (Rtd) Bamigboye as a rude shock and colossal loss to the entire state.

“The vacuum left by the demise of the former governor particularly at this transition period”, the governor said, “will be difficult to fill up, considering his advice and wisdom”.

The statement described the deceased as an embodiment of humility and fear of God, saying that the government and the entire Kwarans will miss him for his selfless service to the state.

It added that Late General Bamigboye will remain evergreen in the history of the state for his laudable achievements as the first Governor and for laying a solid foundation for the growth and development of the state.

On his part, the former minister of Sports and frontline gubernatorial aspirant of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, noted that the Late Bamigboye laid the foundation for the development of the modern Kwara, through his strides and vision as a military administrator.

He described the deceased as a Spartan, discipline and upright man who was fair to all and pursued his task as governor with a single-minded devotion and courage.

‘’He was a man who had a great vision for our state and worked very hard to make that dream a reality. As one of the longest-serving military administrators, you can still find his imprints in the state.”

Meanwhile, the Omu Aran community has called for adequate recognition of the departed former Kwara military governor.

The Olomu of Omu Aran, Oba Abdulraheem Adeoti, made the appeal while paying tribute to the late Bamigboye on Sunday.

Adeoti said, “In as much as we remained grateful to the state government for its love, assistance and support at all time. But regrettably, it is disheartening that not a single street or building has been named in recognition of our illustrious son, David Bamigboye.

“We are therefore, using this medium to appeal to the government and other relevant agencies to make it a point of duty and address this anomaly,” he said.

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