Lieutenant Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi was the first military Governor of the western region. He was known as a good man, a disciplined soldier, and an incorruptible officer. He was a great hero who died for his boss and his country.
Adekunle Fajuyi Early Life
Adekunle Fajuyi was born on June 26, 1926, in Ado-Ekiti State. he was educated at St. George’s Catholic School, Ado Ekiti, where His friends gave him the nickname “Theobroma Cacao”. He also did basic military training in Zaria, from which he proceeded to the Army Clerks Training School Yaba.
Adekunle Fajuyi Military Career.
Fajuyi joined the army on November 16, 1943, in Ilorin. He was later posted to Zaria for basic military training. In 1945, he attended the army clerks training college Yaba. While in the army, he was promoted to a Sergeant in the Nigeria Signal Squadron, Royal West African Frontier Force.
From July 1954 to November 1954, he trained at the Eaton Hall Officer Cadet School, United Kingdom. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant.
Fajuyi’s military training was not confined to Nigeria. Shortly after joining the army, he attended the command training school in Teshi, Ghana (former Gold coast). Fajuyi served as a soldier both home and abroad. He served as a private soldier, lance corporal, corporal, sergeant, staff sergeant, signal officer, lieutenant colonel, and military Governor.
In 1945, he was promoted to Lance corporal, as the corporal in 1946, and sergeant in 1947. In 1952 he attained the ranks of SQMS and went to Accra for a potential officers training course in 1953, after which he was commissioned as a lieutenant in 1954.
In 1955, after returning to Nigeria from Germany, where he served as the 60th rifle, he was sent to the 3rd battalion regiment as a platoon commander.
In 1957, Fajuyi attended the Platoon Commander’s course in England, and. in 1959, he attended the 3” mortar course in Netharawon. In 1964, He was sent to attend a senior officers tactics course in Pakistan
On July 13, 1957, he was made a captain. On November 5, 1960, he was promoted to major. On January 15, 1963, he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel.
Adekunle Fajuyi was known as a diligent and devoted officer, he served in various units as he rose through the Army ranks. He was the Military Adviser at the ONUC Headquarters in Congo from August 1961 to December 1961.
Between April and October 1962, he was the second in command for the 3rd Battalion Army in Kaduna. In October that same year, he was promoted to the Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion Army in Enugu.
In 1965, he was made the Commander at the Abeokuta Garrison, a position he held until January 1966, when he was appointed as the Military Governor of the Western Region of Nigeria.
On July 29, 1966, he was killed in a bloody coup alongside the head of state, Aguiyi Ironsi.
Adekunle Fajuyi as military Governor
Adekunle Fajuyi became the Governor of the Western Region on January 18, 1966. While he served, he was still the dynamic soldier everyone knows. He was humble and still possessed those great qualities that distinguished him from other soldiers. In a speech he delivered, Adekunle Fajuyi said:
“Quite honestly, I don’t feel like a Governor, I feel more like a soldier – a soldier of peace. Essentially, I am a soldier. This is merely an extra–regimental duty as far as I am concerned. I would be happier in the barracks with my soldiers than in this palatial Government House”
How Adekunle Fajuyi was Killed
Adekunle Fajuyi was murdered on July 29, 1966, in a counter-coup by some northern soldiers seeking revenge over the death of Tafawa Balewa and some other northern rulers. General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi, the Head of State, had visited Ibadan to address a conference of traditional rulers of the Western Region.
Around dawn on that fateful day, soldiers led by Theophilus Garba and Joe Garba drove into the Government House to capture and kill the Head of State. Adekunle Fajuyi tried to stop them from their mission by pleading with the soldiers, but they wouldn’t budge. When Adekunle Fajuyi wouldn’t back down, he was shot dead.
Awards received by Adekunle Fajuyi
Adekunle Fajuyi was the first Nigerian officer to receive an award, and the award was presented formally at the State House in Lagos state.
Subsequently, he received other military awards as follows:
● War Medal-1950
● BEM (King’s Birthday)-1951
● Nigerian Independence Medal-1960
He was also appointed as a Military Assistant to General McEcon, the Supreme Commander of the United Nations Forces in the Congo. He earned this position due to his outstanding performance during operations in Congo.
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