FORMER Governor Abiola Ajimobi is now a week old in his grave with all his strengths and weaknesses. ‘Life no get part 2’ as my Warri people would say and there is no chance to re-do the weak ones. It is only the living who can learn from the dead and avoid such.
But you never had dull moments with him. He says whatever had to be said even about himself. That put him off to some people who didn’t understand the way he was wired. I recall him speaking at the lying-in-state of Sir Olaniwun Ajayi and he mentioned visiting a doctor who asked him if he kept sexual partners outside the home and he answered that engaging in it at nighttime might not let him know the identity of the partner. I had to remind him the event was live on air!
There was this gentleman I pleaded with unsuccessfully at Chief Olanipekun’s (SAN) hometown to greet him. I handed the task to our host to take over but he told me it didn’t happen that day. The man was still bitter that Ajimobi told him (Ajimobi) when he reminded him of all the good things he did for him that “There is nothing that says I must repay your good for good now.”
I can’t forget the difficult times our radio station had with his administration because some of his officials had the impression that an independent broadcast organisation must be a replica of a state broadcast station. They prevailed on the regulator to be issuing almost daily fines. At a stage, I asked my people to dubbing off-airs and we would go to NBC.
The head of his team would say “Oba ni a n fi owe bu nibeyen” when they can’t get anywhere the Governor is mentioned. I had to reach my friend Modibbo Kawu who was DG of NBC and he arranged a meeting of the entire board of the commission for me to explain the clash we were having as just pure professional commitment and the desire for praise-singing journalism.
Thereafter I met the Governor and invited him for our anniversary and he accepted to come. Some members of his media team then went to him a day to the event and advised him not to show up. He didn’t give a response but as he stepped out you can trust Ajimobi, he said “Tiwo o ba si ninu awon to ngbo won ba wo lo se mo pe won nbumi? O se he kilu ma gbo eleyi ta gbe fun e juwon lo?”
The excessive talk could be one of the failings of Ajimobi but it is an affliction that is symptomatic of his city of birth and those who came on the wrong side of his tongue should be gracious to forgive his spirit. I didn’t see him as an evil man that would sit to plan the elimination of another person over disagreements. It is unfortunate that his selfish colleagues used him to play the type of game the cabal used Yar’Adua to play on Nigeria in his last days.
And worse, they got all the necessary cooperations.
Re: Awo and MKO
Trust you are keeping safe during these unusual times.
Just read episode 2 of your pieces on Awo and MKO in Today’s Tribune, and looking forward to the next. Great stuff; factual, detailed and devoid of the patronising fluff about these two great Yoruba sons, which seem to be the order of the day.
I accompanied MKO to Dr Ogunbiyi’s residence that night, and remembered the incident you described vividly. Professor Wole Soyinka was also there and yabbed MKO for being a perpetual late comer, and MKO rebutted by describing him as the ‘most cultured Yoruba man alive.’ It was a beautiful evening.
Glad to see you holding strong to your true values.
Fred A. Eno
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