Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has stated that his administration will re-introduce the State Merit Award in honour of Ekiti indigenes who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The last edition of the annual Ekiti State Merit Award took place in 2013 during Fayemi’s first term in office.
Speaking in Lagos at the funeral service for the late Lady Deborah Jibowu, first Nigerian female University graduate in the Sciences, Dr Fayemi said the re-introduction of the awards will not only encourage the younger generation to aspire for excellence but also provide them with models of excellence who they can emulate.
The Governor described the late Lady Jibowu as an “exceptional Ekiti daughter” who dedicated her life to serving and impacting the younger generation. He added that the deceased also bore "a giant shoulder upon which many young men and women stood to find their paths."
Fayemi said Lady Jibowu’s appointment into different commissions, boards and councils bore eloquent testimony to her high level of integrity., adding that her death was a colossal loss to Ekiti State and Nigeria.
He recalled Lady Jibowu’s investments in the education of the girl-child as well as women empowerment; saying she would be remembered as a woman who used her privileged background to provide succour for many.
“Whereas the death of this exceptional daughter of Ekiti, an extraordinary Nigerian and global icon at this time is painful, we cannot but be grateful to God for an exemplary life she lived. Brilliance and distinction dotted everything she did, either as a student, mother, teacher, public servant, administrator, civil society and gender advocate, woman of faith, community leader and stateswoman. She was a paragon of excellence in all her endeavours”, the governor said.
Earlier in his sermon, the retired Provost of the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina, Lagos, Venerable (Dr) Oluyinka Omololu, charged the people to make always strive ro make positive impact wherever they find themselves as they would be remembered for this after their demise.
Omololu whose sermon was from Matthew 25 verse 34 and titled ‘Making a positive impact in the lives of others”, said humans should not only focus their attention on their relationship with God but also on fellow human beings.
The clergyman said the late Jibowu lived for others and made positive impact.
“When we show kindness to others, it is as if we are doing it for Christ. Judgement will be premised on two things: our relationship with God and what we do for others. Ministry is not for self but for others. Every day is an opportunity to make positive impact in the lives of others”, he said.
The late Lady Jibowu who hailed from Ido Ile in Ekiti State was the first Nigerian female Science graduate, having graduated from the University of Manchester, United kingdom in 1947.