Metro & Crime

Ex-Oyo gov, Ajimobi, dies of coronavirus

•Governors, PDP mourn

Former Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State is dead. His death came about a month’s treatment at the First Cardiology Hospital, Ikoyi, Lagos. Ajimobi, 70, was said to have died of complications arising from coronavirus. The former governor, who last week reportedly slipped into coma at the hospital where the Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, also died, was said to have since been on a life support machine, but died yesterday about 4p.m.

Sources told the New Telegraph in Ibadan yesterday evening that the remains of the former governor and Olubadan of Ibadan traditional title holder would be buried today in Ibadan at 10a.m, according to Islamic rites. Ajimobi celebrated his 70th birthday on December 17, 2019 with many distinguished personalities in attendance at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, Ibadan. He had openly savoured the grace of God for clocking 70 years as he said that none of his older relations had lived up to 70 before passing on.

Though his Media Adviser, Bolaji Tunji, did not pick calls or respond to the text message sent to his mobile line to confirm the veracity of the news, a serving member of the Oyo House of Representatives on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Akin Alabi, tweeted, saying: “Forever in my heart.” Ajimobi represented Oyo South Senatorial District at the Senate and served as the Deputy Minority Leader of the Senate between 2003 and 2007. He contested the senatorial seat again last year but lost to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Kola Balogun. He was recently appointed the Acting National Chairman of the APC. He was former Chief Executive Officer, National Oil and Chemical Marketing Company, a subsidiary of Shell Nigeria. It was gathered that doctors treating the septuagenarian, last Friday informed his family that his situation had defied every medical intervention and that only a miracle could bring him back to life. Meanwhile, eminent Nigerians have reacted to the passage of Ajimobi.

Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State described Ajimobi’s death as end of an era. Abiodun said the former governor died when his services were most needed and at a time his sagacity would have made a critical difference in statecraft and political engineering. He said: “It marked the end of an era for Nigeria because of the circumstances of the present time. “Sen. Ajimobi was a phenomenal public servant and business entrepreneur.

He broke the second term jinx in the governance of his state and had served at the Senate as a Principal officer and Deputy Minority Whip creditably before attaining that height. He impacted on both the lawmaking and Executive arms in a matter that history cannot forget.” On his part, Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State described Ajimobi’s death as unfortunate, painful and a great loss. Oyetola, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Ismail Omipidan, said his thoughts and prayers were with the Ajimobi family, the APC and the people of Oyo State.

He said: “I am shocked and saddened by the demise of Senator Abiola Ajimobi. His death is unfortunate, painful and a huge loss. My thoughts and prayers are with the Ajimobi family, his loved ones, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the people of Oyo State, whom he served meritoriously as governor for eight years.” 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. Also, Plateau State Governor and Chairman, Northern Governors Forum, Simon Lalong, has expressed deep shock over Ajimobi’s demise. Lalong, in a statement signed by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr. Makut Simon Macham, described Ajimobi as a man of integrity who served the people of Oyo State and Nigeria with excellence.

Lalong said the sterling leadership qualities of the late Ajimobi and his role in the formation of the APC endeared him to many party members which led to his appointment as Deputy National Chairman, South. He 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. Lalong condoled with Ajimobi’s wife, Florence, children and entire family, asking them to take solace in his rich legacies and accept the sad development as the will of God. Nigeria governors and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have also sent their condolences to the family of Ajimobi. The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), the umbrella body of 36 state governors, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said in a message that Ajumobi was a pillar of support to the NGF.

He said: “While he was governor of Oyo State, the late Ajumobi was not just one member of the NGF who left indelible impressions in the minds of all members who were fortunate to have served during his time but also provided valuable counsel to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum secretariat. “With insight and foresight, the late Abiola Ajimobi encouraged the strengthening of ties between governors and served as a counsellor to other governors including my humble self.” The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described Ajimobi’s death as a national tragedy and a huge loss to Nigeria. “Indeed, our party is still in shock and deeply saddened over the news of the death of Senator Ajimobi, especially at this time, when our nation needed his wealth of experience and statesmanship the most. “Senator Ajimobi was 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 our dear nation, Nigeria,” Ologbodiyan said.

 

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