News Analysis

Tributes to Former Governor of Oyo State, Late Senator Abiola Ajimobi

The news of the death of former governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi which filtered in on Thursday afternoon, leaving the people with shock was the climax of rumours about his health status that had been trending for some days.

Many had been praying that Senator Ajimobi would survive the hospitalisation on account of Covid-19 complications and come out alive but this was not to be.

The former governor who was born at Oja Iba in Ibadan, Oyo State on December 16, 1949 had a privileged background.

His grandfather was the Sobaloju of Ibadan land, his father, Pa Ajimobi was also a member of the House of Assembly in the old Western Region, while his uncle, Honourable N.A Ajimobi was Minister of Works and Transport in the Western Region.

Senator Ajimobi started his primary education at Ibadan City Council Primary School, Aperin, his secondary education was at Lagelu Grammar School.

He was active in athletics, table tennis and football including serving as the games prefect during his secondary school days and this earned him the nickname “Archipelago”.

Late Ajimobi studied Business Administration and Finance at the State University of New York in Buffalo, New York, United States of America, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree.

He had his MBA in Operations Research and Marketing with concentration in finance at Governors State University, University Park, Illinois.

Senator Ajimobi married Florence Ajimobi in 1980 and the marriage was blessed with five children.

In 2007, Senator Ajimobi contested the gubernatorial seat of Oyo State under the umbrella of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, but lost.

Undaunted, he gave it another shot in 2011 under the banner of Action Congress of Nigeria and won.

In April, 2015 on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, he made history as the first governor to win a re-election and in succession, defeating two of his predecessors in office, Chief Christopher Alao-Akala and Alhaji Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja.

Senator Ajimobi lost his bid to return to the senate on the platform of the APC to the incumbent Senator Kola Balogun of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, who clinched the seat of the Oyo South Senatorial District in the 2019 General Elections.    

Shortly before his death, the late senator who was the Deputy National Chairman ,South, was named and endorsed as the Caretaker National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress Party following the suspension of Adams Oshiomhole by the Court of Appeal.

The Oyo State former helmsman who bestrode the political terrain with elegance meant different things to different people.

To admirers, he was the architect of modern Oyo State while others are quick to point to his blunt nature and unbridled utterances which set him on war path with some as a minus.

President Muhammadu Buhari described the late governor as steadfast and consistent with progressive view, someone who worked assiduously for the creation of APC.

The president noted that Ajimobi died at a crucial time when the party and the country needed his counsels to heal and grow.

On his part, All Progressives Congress Chieftain, Senator Bola Tinubu said the party had lost an outstanding statesman, a dedicated friend, brother and ally.

To the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, NGF, Dr Kayode Fayemi the death of Senator Ajimobi was a personal loss and a huge loss to the people of Oyo state in particular and Nigeria in general.

The Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare who described Ajimobi as his elder brother noted that his death came too early.  

Ajimobi’s successor and incumbent governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde said Ajimobi would be missed for leaving a blueprint for some of the activities that his administration was undertaking.

As the sun sets on the life and times of Senator Ajimobi on Thursday, 25th June, 2020, one thing is certain; his memory will continue to linger in the minds of all and sundry.

Morenike Tony-Esan

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