ISIAKA ABIOLA ADEYEMI AJIMOBI, now late, must have lived peaceful personal, family, career and political satisfying life. As mortal, like every human, death came his way, June 25, 2020, at First Cardiologist Consultant, a private healthcare facility in Lagos, as a result of COVID-19, associated complications.
Family members, friends, business and political associates, grieved and mourned, a man many described as illustrious in various aspects of his life, while he lived. Ajimobi will be missed by, not only by those who personally know him, but by creme of his admirers. It is customary, at death, that people come together to mourn the dead, and eschew rancour and bitterness.
Sunday, July 5, 2020, security men stationed in Ajimobi’s residence, according to report, denied the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Rauf Olaniyan, access to his eight-day Fidau. Though a private programme, as the family announced, and urged the public to watch the service, though virtual channels – Zoom, YouTube and Facebook, the presence of the State Governor or his representative, the Deputy Governor at such an event, was that of a distinguished guest.
Rauf Olaniyan, was also, guest of Oyo State government at the event. What took place at the Oluyole Esate resident of Abiola Ajimobi, between security men in the house, and the convoy of the Deputy Governor, was described as tension, when he arrived for the eight-day Fidau prayer.
Olaniyan arrived at the residence, about 11:20 am, in a convoy of five vehicles. He was stopped at the gate of the road leading to Ajimobi’s residence. The security agents manning the gate, insisted that only the Deputy Governor’s vehicle would be allowed into the street for the prayer.
Initially, the Deputy Governor’s security details snubbed the idea. Then a senior policeman intervened and the Deputy Governor’s vehicle was allowed in. At Ajimobi’s residence, the gate was locked. The Deputy Governor’s aides introduced their principal. They were told the gate had been locked, and Ajimobi’s widow, Florence Ajimobi, was having the key.
After waiting for about 15 minutes without any solution, the Deputy Governor left the residence. This was, indeed, a needless panorama, playing out on behalf of late Ajimobi, who many have eulogised in good light. Denying the Governor or his Deputy access to attend the eight-day Fidau prayer was not in good taste.
Bolaji Tunji, Media Aide to late Senator Ajimobi sent a rejoinder to journalists on the incident. His statement said the family was not aware of the deputy governor’s plan to be present at the Fidau prayer. He did not notify the family that he would present for the event.
“There is the need to clarify the believed presence of the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Rauf Olaniyan, at the 8th day prayer of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the immediate past Governor of Oyo State. The Deputy Governor arrived after the prayer had started. The event was strictly a family affair.
“There was need to comply with the COVID-19 protocol as established by the National Centre for Decease Control on social distancing. Not more than 30 people in a place and seats arranged, accordingly. After which the gate was shut”, Tunji said in the statement.
And added that: “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 10minutes.
“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.”
Ajimobi’s family and Oyo State government had traded blames over the handling of Ajimobi’s illness and burial. Florence Ajimobi, his widow, expressed disappointment on what she described as poor treatment of her husband and the family by the government. That the husband deserved better treatment.