Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Rauf Olaniyan, was, yesterday denied access into the Oluyole Estate house of the late governor Abiola Ajimobi, for the eighth day prayer.
The deputy governor had led a delegation of Oyo State Government that included Commissioner for Lands, Abdurahman Abduraheem, to attend the ceremony in honour of Ajimobi.
Olaniyan also received a verbal attack from the deceased’s widow, Florence, last Sunday, during a condolence visit by a delegation of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, led by Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.
Regardless, as soon as the deputy governor alighted from his vehicle, yesterday, and approached the gate of the house, policemen attached to the Ajimobi’s house barricaded the entrance and told him they had been directed not to allow anyone to enter the premises until the prayer was over.
Olaniyan, who did not give up on time, made enquiries and some contacts so that he could be allowed to go inside. But the moves did not yield positive result. He left the place after standing for about 10 minutes at the gate.
Media Aide to the deputy governor, Omolere Omoetan, also told journalists: “The security men at the gate told the security men in our convoy that, that was the order from madam. The deputy governor, who led a delegation of Oyo State government to the residence of the Ajimobis, was at the gate of the house for more than 10 minutes, and he had to leave when he was prevented from gaining entrance to the house.”
Apart from the deputy governor, many other dignitaries were also said to have been denied access to the house, including Mutiat Ladoja, wife of former governor Rashidi Ladoja.
Meanwhile, Special Adviser on Communication and Strategy to the late governor, Bolaji Tunji, has conveyed the apology of family of Ajimobi, to the deputy governor, saying the family did not know he would come, saying: “There is the need to clarify the believed presence of Deputy Governor Olaniyan at the eighth day prayer of former governor Ajimobi
“The deputy governor arrived after the prayer had started. The event was strictly a family affair. There was a need to comply with the COVID-19 protocol as established by NCDC- social distancing, not more than 30 people in a place and seats arranged, accordingly. After which the gate was shut.
“No one was aware that the deputy governor was coming as neither the advance team nor the protocol informed us. By the time we got to the gate to usher him into the sitting room, he had left. Everything happened within a spate of 10 minutes.
“Through a serving senator and a former attorney general, we tried to get in touch with him that it was not to slight him and he could sit in a private sitting room provided by the family. Unfortunately, he had left. We, however, apologise to his excellency.”
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state has also reacted to the development in a statement by the party’s Publicity Secretary, Akeem Olatunji, saying: “To the unsuspecting public, kindly disregard APC media team statement in its entirety, it was not a private family affair because former governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, and many others were there and the family were well informed in advance that the deputy governor would be leading the government delegation to the event.”