Ajimobi dies at 70
• Buhari, Makinde, Tinubu, Akala, other govs, ministers, PDP mourn • Oyo to fly flag at half-mast • Burial today in Ibadan
The remains of former Oyo state governor, Abiola Ajimobi will be laid to rest in Ibadan, today, at 10 am.
Ajimobi died on Thursday, at 3.45 pm, aged 70 years, after failing to recover from a surgery done on his heart and lungs last week.
After the surgery, Ajimobi’s suffered a relapse leading to a collapse of his organs.
He subsequently went into an induced coma after his health condition was reportedly worsened by COVID-19.
Like last week when the news of the death of Ajimobi was first announced and declared untrue, Thursday’s announcement of the death of Ajimobi was initially greeted with pessimism until it was confirmed true by multiple sources.
While official statement was still awaited from the family or media aide of the late governor, Mr Bolaji Tunji, supporters, political associates, and close family members thronged the Ibadan residence of Ajimobi to wail the loss of the former governor.
Several who wailed in front of Ajimobi’s residence, on Thursday evening, lamented the loss of a benefactor, great leader of Oyo state and notable Ibadan indigene.
Ajimobi who was governor from 2011-2019, was named the Acting National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) last week but never resumed.
On hearing the news of Ajimobi’s demise, current and former political office holders continued to pour in tributes in honour of the former governor, speaking glowingly of his life and times.
Leading the avalanche of condolence messages, President Muhammadu Buhari said Ajimobi’s contributions to the development of Oyo state, and nation, will always be remembered.
A statement issued by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) in Abuja on Thursday said the president commiserated with the family of the former governor, who served the country as a Senator, 2003, before winning the governorship election in 2011, remaining steadfast and consistent in his progressive views, and working assiduously for the creation of the All Progressives Congress.
Buhari decried that Ajimobi left the world at a crucial moment when the party and the country needed his counsels to heal and grow, noting that his absence will be sorely felt by all associates, particularly in the APC.
In his own message, National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu mourned the loss of a dedicated friend, brother, and ally.
He noted that while the Yoruba race and Oyo state had lost a favorite son, the APC had lost one of its leading lights.
Tinubu affirmed Ajimobi’s reputation of being the best and most productive governor in Oyo state going by his numerous infrastructural and public works projects that changed the face of the state for the better.
According to Tinubu, the history of APC cannot be squarely written without Ajimobi, adding that his recent emergence as deputy National Chairman of our party was an affirmation of his many years of service and devotion to the pursuit of democratic governance.
While expressing sadness at the demise of Ajimobi, Oyo state governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde has directed that the state’s flag fly at half-mast on Friday.
The order to fly the flag at half-mast, according to Makinde, was to honour a brother, friend, and illustrious son of Oyo state.
Makinde held that the former governor will be remembered for leaving a blueprint for some of the activities that his administration was now undertaking.
Continuing the many condolence messages, Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Dr Kayode Fayemi, described Ajimobi’s death as a personal loss to him, and a huge loss to the people of Oyo State in particular and Nigeria in general.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, Fayemi said Ajimobi’s memories would continue to live with him as a friend and brother as well as a dutiful family man and political leader who was ever there for his family, associates and the people he led.
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.
He described Ajimobi’s two-term tenure as a golden era which recorded execution of people-oriented policies and landmark projects.
In his own condolence message, Chairman, Northern Governors Forum, Simon Bako Lalong expressed deep shock over the demise of Ajimobi.
He described the late Ajimobi as a man of integrity who served the people of Oyo State and Nigeria with excellence.
Lalong said the sterling leadership qualities of late Ajimobi and his role in the formation of the All Progressives Congress endeared him to many party members which led to his appointment as Deputy National Chairman, South.
Lalong recalled the contributions of Ajimobi to the oil and gas industry in Nigeria during his career where he made significant impact on its growth and development.
The Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, on his part, described the passing of Ajimobi, as end of an era.
Abiodun in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Kunle Somorin, said the late politician died when his services were most needed, at a time his sagacity would have made a critical difference in statecraft and political engineering.
He said the passage of Ajimobi was not only a loss to his immediate family and Oyo State that he governed for two unprecedented terms, but “marked the end of an era for Nigeria because of the circumstances of the present time.
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun state described the former Oyo Governor’s death as unfortunate, painful and a great loss.
While expressing sadness at the news of Ajimobi’s death, Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa prayed that the family left behind has the strength to cope with the “difficult” loss.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, Oyetola described Ajimobi as a true progressive and a loyal party man. He was committed to the ideals of the APC and will be sorely missed by the party.
Oyetola noted that Ajimobi’s administration brought reforms and unprecedented development to Oyo and its people, adding that he changed the face of governance in the State.
Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu bemoaned that Ajimobi’s death had opened a deep sore in the hearts of millions of Nigerians, who looked up to him as a rallying point and a political stabilizer.
Sanwo-olu particularly said he was particularly saddened that he had personally lost another political icon in the battle against the deadly Coronavirus
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Gboyega Akosile, Sanwo-olu held that the late Ajimobi was more than just a politician, but also a man of many parts, whose managerial skills and experience were required at this “critical period in national life.
He added that the former Oyo State governor was a distinguished Nigerian, who bestrode the economic and political space of the country like a colossus, making his mark in the corporate world before venturing into politics.
Similarly, Lagos State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) remarked that Ajimobi left indelible marks in the private sector as a Chief Executive and served his people meritoriously as a senator and two-term governor.
The party said this in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Mr Seye Oladejo, held that the former Oyo State governor died at a time his experience as an astute administrator and leader was needed most in the party in particular and the nation as a whole.
Furthermore, the party lauded Ajimobi for his eloquence, passion about the welfare of his people and a principled position to democratic ideals.
Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare said Ajimobi’s death was not only untimely but tragic.
He lauded Ajimobi for his great service to the people of Oyo state and Nigeria, at large, adding that he died when his wealth of experience was most needed to lead the APC.
Former governor of Oyo State, Chief Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala, also expressed shock and disbelief at the death of Ajimobi.
Alao-Akala, who condoled with the state governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji and the entire people of the state, praised the transformation and repositioning efforts of the late governor when he was at the helm of affairs of the state for eight years.
While equally condoling with the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state and the national level, he said that the late governor made his mark in the development and repositioning of the party at the state and national levels.
Specifically, he said Senator Ajimobi made his mark in the security apparatus of the state, adding that the state and the nation had lost a political icon.
A former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola described the death of Senator Abiola Ajimobi as a great loss to Nigeria and, in particular, to Yorubaland.
Oyinlola described Senator Ajimobi as a complete gentleman and a patriot in every sense of the world, noting that Ajimobi had a very large heart in his dealings with all manner of persons who came his way while his politics was clearly without bitterness.
Oyinlola added that the late ex-governor gave a good account of himself first as senator, then later as governor leaving behind legacy programmes and projects that will forever mark him out as a very successful politician.
He prayed for the repose of his soul and for his family to have the fortitude to bear the loss.
Former Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode described Ajimobi’s demise as a personal loss, saying that the former governor meant more than a brother and a colleague to him.
Ambode, in a statement signed by his media aide, Habib Aruna, said Ajimobi’s strides across the length and breadth of Oyo State will never be forgotten in a hurry.
Ambode also condoled with the family of the late Oyo governor, urging his widow, Florence, to take solace in the fact that her husband lived a fulfilled life and left an indelible mark on his people.
Lead opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also said the death of the former governor was an irreparable loss to both the state and the nation.
The party in a statement signed by its National publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said it was still in shock and deeply saddened over the news, especially at this time, when our nation needed his wealth of experience and statesmanship the most.
The PDP described Ajimobi as an exceptionally brilliant administrator, outstanding legislator and a man of peace, who made immense contributions and sacrifices towards the unity as well as political stability and development of Nigeria.
A chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Ebenezer Babatope also expressed sadness at the death of Ajimobi, describing the late former governor as a consummate politician.
Former local government Chairmen in Oyo state also expressed shock at the death of Ajimobi.
The former Chairmen, through their leader, Mr Ayodeji Abass-Aleshinloye said Ajimobi’s death was a great and irreplaceable loss to his family, friends, political associates and the people of Oyo State.
According to the former Chairmen, Ajimobi will continue to live in their hearts for his exceptional unique style of governance that brought peace, growth and development to the state.