Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Former Acting National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the immediate past governor of Oyo State, 70, is dead after battling with COVID-19 related symptoms for about four weeks.
A family source said the remains of the ex-governor would be buried in Ibadan today (Friday). He stated further that the family would make official announcement and that message has been sent to Oyo State Government under the leadership of Governor Seyi Makinde, on the development.
Senator Abiola Ajimobi was born December 16, 1949.
He was said to have been hospitalised at First Cardiologist and Cardiovascular Hospital in Lagos on June 2, 2020, where he was said to have undergone two surgeries.
He was said to have collapsed four days to the end of this year’s Ramadan for Islamic faithful and he was rushed to the hospital.
Ajimobi, who hailed from the family of a former member of House of Assembly in the Old Western Region, Pa Ganiyu Ajimobi of Oja-Iba, Ibadan, was in the news on June 5, 2020, when it was widely reported on various social media platforms that hewas hospitalised in Lagos after testing positive for COVID-19, did two different surgeries, and was placed on ventilator, before he went into coma for more than one week, but reportedly came out of it.
In the evening of Thursday June 18, 2020, there was an anxiety over his health status, as social media reported that he had breathed his last. But his spokesman, Mr. Bolaji Tunji, said Ajimobi was still alive and Nigerians should disregard the fake news. The Publicity Secretary of APC in Oyo State, Dr. Abdul-Azeez Olatunde, also dismissed the then rumoured death, saying some power politicians in Abuja were behind what he described as fake news based on the leadership crisis that rocked the ruling party.
But a visit to the residence of the Ajimobis at Oluyole Estate, Ibadan, last night showed heavy presence of security agents. Some of those that served as local government chairmen during Ajimobi’s tenure were also sighted in front of the house. Some people were also seeing shed tears. Also, former Commissioner for Land and Housing in the state, who worked with Ajimobi, Isaac Omodewu, was at the residence of Ajimobi on Thursday evening.
One of the things that defined the tenure of Ajimobi between 2011 and 2019, especially during his second term in office, was the controversial review of Olubadan Chieftaincy Declaration, which led to installation of 21 new kings in Ibadan in one day at the Map Hall Archade on Sunday August 27, 2017.
He would not also be forgotten on how he earned a nicknamed: ‘Mr. Constituted Authority’ when students of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, staged a peaceful protest to the state secretariat at Agodi, Ibadan in January 2017. But he raised the bar of governance in the state, which made many people in his party and administration to refer to him as the ‘Father of modern Oyo State.”
The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has described the death as a national tragedy.
The party said this in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja.
Ologbondiyan said the death of the immediate former Acting National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was a huge loss not just to the APC but the entire nation.
He said the deceased was an exceptionally brilliant administrator, outstanding legislator and a man of peace, who made immense contributions and sacrifices towards the unity, political stability and development of the nation.
“Indeed, our party is still in shock and deeply saddened over the news of the death of Ajimobi, especially at this time, when our nation needed his wealth of experience and statesmanship the most.”
Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, described his death as a personal loss to him, and a huge loss to the people of Oyo State in particular and Nigeria in general.
“We have lost a star’ said Fayemi who added that Ajimobi’s death was a painful one not only to the family but to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on which platform the deceased had a remarkable tenure as Governor of Oyo State.
Fayemi described Senator Ajimobi as an accomplished professional, a respected politician and astute administrator, who reached the pinnacle of his professional and political careers by dint of hard work, courage and brilliance.
Describing Ajimobi as a “man of history,” Fayemi said the deceased etched his name in the annals of Oyo politics by being the first governor to be re-elected to office in the Pacesetter State.
In his tribute, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu said: “Ajimobi’s death hurts. Yet, we must all find strength in the good way he lived his life and in the fine and good ideals for which he fought. We must carry on with the important task ahead because that is what my dear friend and brother would expect of us.”
In his reaction, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, former Minister of Transportation, described Ajimobi as a consumate politician, saying he had some personal connection with the former governor.
“The news of Ajimobi’s death came to me as rude shock; I am saddened by his demise.
“I know Ajimobi well. His father was a member of the UPN led by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and I was a strong member of that party.
“So, Ajimobi was just like a brother, even though I am a PDP man. I am sad he is gone. He was such a nice man. His death is painful,” he said.