Florence, widow of former Oyo governor, Abiola Ajimobi, yesterday verbally attacked Governor Seyi Makinde and his deputy, Rauf Olaniyan, for not getting across to her when her husband was sick and after his death.
She spoke when a delegation of Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) led by its Chairman, Kayode Fayemi, paid a condolence visit to the Oluyole Estate residence of the Ajimobis. The deputy governor was among the delegation, representing Governor Makinde.
God-fearing person is to send me words of encouragement at that time. Even, after he died, not even you, Mr Deputy Governor, called me.”
But the deputy governor interjected her, saying: “I called you.”
But Ajimobi’s widow continued: “You called my dead husband?” The deputy governor also responded: “Even, I called you two days ago.”
In her response, the former first lady said: “You could have sent me a text message, sir. I don’t have your number. I don’t pick calls. I am the wife of a politician and I don’t pick numbers that I don’t know. You could have sent me a message sir, your excellency.
“Everybody will die. My husband is dead, and he served this state for eight years, eight good years. What are we talking about?”
At this point, journalists were asked to leave the living room where the widow received the governors.
The NGF chairman, who spoke with journalists after the visit, declined comments on the mild drama between Ajimobi’s widow and the deputy governor. Also, the deputy governor was not available for interview after the visit as he left the place in the company of other NGF members on the delegation.
… Ex-gov buried at residence
The immediate past governor was buried in the premises of his 6th Avenue, Oluyole Estate residence, Ibadan, amidst tight security.
He was buried at about 10:30 a.m after funeral prayers, led by Ibadanland Chief Imam, Abdul-Ganiy Agbotomokekere, and was also witnessed by the Chairman of Muslim community in the state, Kunle Sanni; and a popular Islamic cleric, Muideen Bello.
The deceased’s widow and the children were at the ceremony, during which they bid their patriarch the final farewell. But journalists were not allowed to cover the ceremony.
Many journalists had gone to the Ishaq Abiola Ajimobi Central Mosque at Ok-Ado, yesterday morning to cover a funeral prayer slated for the place and expected that the body of Ajimobi would be committed to mother earth after the prayer, but were surprised to hear that the burial had been done at his residence.
Ajimobi, who served as governor from 2011 to 2019, died last Thursday in a private hospital in Lagos, as a result of complications from COVID-19. He was said to have been hospitalised for about four weeks in the hospital, where he reportedly underwent two surgeries and fell into a coma twice.
… Fayemi leads NGE on a condolence visit
The NGF delegation also comprised Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, whose daughter, Fatimah, married the only son of Ajimobi, Idris; Chairman of the Progressives Governors’ Forum and family, Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State; and their counterparts, Mohammed Abubakar (Jigawa); Abubakar Bello (Niger), and Abdul-Razak Abdul-Rahman (Kwara).
Fayemi, who spoke on behalf of other governors, said: “I can tell you without any shadow of a doubt that Ajimobi was one of the very best as a governor in this state.
“But that was not what sells him to the generality of his brothers, it was his unique character. He was the ultimate bridge-builder. He was a connector at all times. He was an adviser to us all. He was always seeking a way to put people together to organise a better country, to build bridges across divides; that is what many of us will remember him for.
“We know it will be difficult for us to fill the gap that he occupied in our party, as someone that we could always call upon to help build a more peaceful, a more purposeful, and more result-oriented party.
“He excelled in the private sector. He also excelled in the public sector. He was one person, who successfully demystified the notion that technocrats are not good in politics. He was a technocrat, who rose to the highest level in his profession as a managing director in an oil and gas company. He served as a senator before ending up as a governor. And in all these capacities, he was able to demonstrate the courage of his convictions.
“He was able to demonstrate that leadership is sacrifice and service to the people ultimately. You can be a public figure and at the same time, you can be a private person. He loved his children. He worked hard for the state and he was a nationalist to the core, an unapologetic federalist.
“So, for us, we shall miss him greatly, and the party definitely owes him a duty to continue to work in the way that he very much exemplified as a leader in our party, a peaceful man to the core, a purposeful man, a bridge-builder and a nationalist.”
Other dignitaries including Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare; Lagos State Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat; former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Adebayo Adelabu; senators Teslim Folarin and Abdul-Fatai Buhari, representing Oyo Central and Oyo North respectively; and wife of former governor of the state, Kemi Alao-Akala, also paid a condolence visit to the residence of Ajimobi yesterday.
… My father peace lover –Son
Idris, the only son of the late former governor has described his father as a great leader, a man of honour, loving father and husband.
Idris said his father was perfect in everything he did.
“I would always strive for perfection in fatherhood and in being a husband. He was perfect as he could be. In being a leader of this nation, he preached peace, togetherness and love all the time. He never promoted violence.
“I will miss him, everything about him. Voice cannot begin to express what we are feeling like a family. But, it is up to us to live on and continue with his legacy.
“As he said in an interview he granted recently if God could give him the age of 70, he would be grateful. And to ask for more than 70 from God after 70 years will be selfish of him. We will try our best as we can to continue his legacy.”
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