Friday, November 2, 2018
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Abuja, Nigeria

Kwara David Lasisi Bamigboye with General Yakubu Gowon

wara State has lost one of its illustrious leaders; an indefatigable, accommodating, pleasant legend, who laid concrete foundation for Kwara State through a plucky civil service, Brigadier General David Lasisi Bamigboye. He was born in Omu-Aran, December 7, 1940; and departed this sinful world, at Saint Nicholas Hospital, Lagos, Friday, September 21, 2018 at the age of 78 years.

He became the first and longest serving Governor of Kwara State, at the age of 27 years, a challenge to the current age bracket in Nigeria today (2018); which covered current Kogi, part of Niger and Benue States; of nine years from May 28, 1967, till July 1975 through a Military Coup that overthrew General Yakubu Gowon Military regime.

Bamigboye was born to a Muslim parents, and was the third in order of birth in a family of five. He attended the Sudan Interior Mission at Igbaja, a strictly run Christian Mission school, and Ilorin Middle School. Between 1954 and 1959, he went to Government College, Zaria, for secondary education. He enrolled into the Nigerian Military Training College, Kaduna, in April 1960, and was commissioned a Military Officer in March 1961. Bamigboye first served with the 3rd Battalion, served with the UN Peace Keeping Force in Congo (Zaire), and later transferred to 2nd Brigade Headquarters, Apapa, Lagos.

In April 1967, he was deployed to a newly created Area Command at Ibadan as Staff Officer, Grade I, from where he got his appointment as Military Governor of the newly created Central West State, carved from the old Northern Region, later changed to Kwara State.

As a governor, he was confronted with managing the poorest of all the twelve Nigeria's states created then; with virtually no export crops or mineral resources for exploitation. He worked tirelessly, travelled across the State, from end to end, to address economic disparities and engender economic development which helped him tackled the diverse development problems.

He earnestly stretched State revenues to meet the public demand for social services, better communications, better health and education facilities. He was basically modern in his approach to meet the demands of some areas, upgraded the power of the Traditional Rulers, and he was the first northern governor to promise votes to women at the elections.

Bamigboye, as a Military Officer, laid the foundation for the growth and development of the State which was for the succeeding Governors to emulate.

He built and sustained unity amongst all indigenes of the State then, from Eyenkorin to Baruten, across Okenne, Kogi, Dekina, to Ankpa 'Kwara Overseas' as we called them then. In other words, he ensured that other Nigerians living in the State were not discriminated against and promoted peaceful coexistence. That atmosphere catalyzed development in the State which manifested in the springing up lots of developments, hotels and Gas (petrol) stations in town.

Since he left the office he maintained a very loving gentleman, without any Khaki behavior of a typical military man who worked to the tank of a Brigadier General in the Army. He respected Authority and refused to dabble with 'Nigerianized' politics of new order.

Bamigboye and Major Muhammadu Buhari during civil war, 1969

My personal encounter with him was noteworthy with great learning curve, as it reflects in my life. Kwara State Association of Nigeria, KSANG, (initiated by my humble self), was inaugurated, we invited him to Washington DC, which he graciously attended. During this occasion, he was asked why he remained quiet since his retirement, in his smoothing feminine fascinating voice, he said "I have to respect the younger ones assuming the positions of authority, and advise them WHEN approached. When this Governor, {late Governor Lawal} invited me, I came to Washington D.C. As "Baba Oloye" {Pa Saraki} is there, I don't want anyone to mess with my age and my foundation". He was a very cheerful, chubby-faced, with skin like burnished ebony personality.

Some of the pictures taken with him and COO in Washington D.C.

I still treasure that discussion, which encouraged me to visit him in his Lagos office when I travelled to Lagos from the States then. He gave me very warm and remarkable reception not expected from a humble long serving Kwara State Governor of nine years. In his departing message that day, with very high humility; he said "Bami ki Iyawo re dada o", meaning 'Greetings to your wife for me please.'

General Bamigboye tenure as Governor of Kwara State witnessed monumental transformation and economic development with such Industries like Tate & Lyle Sugar Company, MATCHCO, Kwara Furniture Company; Kwara Water Corporation; Kanji Lake; Kwara Hotel (where I had my Wedding reception); Herald Newspaper; Kwara State first Secretariat; Kwara State Government House, Philip Morris tobacco company in Ilorin, which turned Ilorin into a glitzy City. Remember the enviable Midland Super Store Ilorin, (more excited than the ShopRite across Nigeria today), very close to the Railway Station, on Emir's Road, beside Gaskiya Bookshop. Other notable excitement of his term were the Patigi Regatta with Takai Dancers.

In Educational expansion and intellectual development of the state, Bamigboye created the Kwara State Ministry of Education in 1968, with a department to handle Bursary matters. In 1971, he announced a decision to establish the Kwara Technology College, which came into existence in 1972 (now Kwara State Polytechnic).

His administration provided scholarships for Kwara Indigenes in higher institutions and many Government Secondary Schools. He established Government Secondary Schools, General Hospitals and Rural Health Centers, across Kwara State spread across modern Benue, Kogi and Niger States.

In December 1972, he opened the premises of Ola-Olu Hospital with accommodation for thirty-five beds.

In his quest for leadership, he built and sustained unity of Kwara State and produced many outstanding leaders, scholars, civil servants, jurists, professionals, entrepreneurs and many great Kwarans in various fields. He had a great vision for Kwara State through a robust civil service.

He inculcated integrity in his team as demonstrated by his former Finance Commissioner of nine years without the Commissioner owning an exotic car, living flamboyant life style, and possessing luxurious houses. He used his Volkswagen Beetle (Ijapa) for the nine years as Kwara State Finance Commissioner, which could still be in his bungalow today (October 2018). He went back to his legal practice after when the Military terminated Nigeria Democracy in 1975, Peter Olorunnisola (SAN), an Igbomina pride from Igbaja Town.

VW Beetle Used by Peter Olorunnisola (SAN) as Finance Commissioner for nine Years

Bamigboye should be celebrated for given Kwara State the strong foundation needed to grow as a State, even after carving away some areas to be part of modern Kogi, Benue, Niger States.

Bamigboye's legacy should be the barometer to measure the qualities of any leadership selection in Kwara State, especially the selection through direct primaries for the people's choice to demonstrate to incumbents Governor that power resides with the people in a democracy.

Bamigboye exit is a closure of a leader with a vision who laid the foundation for many enduring legacies in Kwara State.


May God give loving Kwarans, especially his family fortitude to bear the loss!

Funeral arrangements are as follows: *Program of burial of Brig-Gen Bamigboye as follows: Wednesday, October 31, 2018, Arrival of corpse; November 1, 2018, Service of song in Ilorin; Friday November 2, 2018, Wake keep in Omu Aran; Saturday, November 3, 2018, Church service, interment and entertainment.*

He deserves a proper State Burial.

Esikin of Omu-Aran!

Sun Re o!!!