The governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has expressed sadness over the death of the immediate past governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi.
Mr Makinde, in a condolence message to the Ajimobi family, also directed that the state’s flags fly at half-mast on Friday.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported his death at a private hospital in Lagos after he spent weeks in intensive care for coronavirus complications, according to Akin Alabi, a federal lawmaker and political associate of the former governor.
He was 70.
Mr Ajimobi’s passing came a week after he was rumoured to have died at the same private hospital. That rumour turned to be false.
According to the condolence message, the governor said: “I was so sorry to hear the news of the passing away of the immediate past Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, which sad event took place earlier today.
“I cannot begin to imagine the pain the family must be going through at this time because of the loss of their patriarch. It is my prayer that God grants them all the strength to bear this great loss.
“I join the good people of Oyo State as we mourn the death of a statesman. I have directed that flags fly at half-mast tomorrow in honour of our brother, friend and illustrious son of Oyo State.
“Surely, he will be remembered for leaving a blueprint for some of the activities that our administration is now undertaking.
“The Oyo State Government will be extending to his family, all the courtesies deserving of his personage. May his soul rest in peace.”
Condolences pour in
Also, Delta Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has commiserated with the Ajimobi family.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba, Mr Okowa said the passing of Ajimobi at this critical time of the country’s political history was painful and regrettable.
READ ALSO: PDP mourns Ex-Gov. Ajimobi
He said Mr Ajimobi contributed immensely to the Nigeria Governors’ Forum while he was Governor of Oyo State.
“The late Ajimobi was a patriot and a political icon whose life-long dedication and indefatigable commitment to serving the people will be unforgettable.
“He made history when he was re-elected in 2015 to become the first democratically-elected Governor of Oyo State to serve two terms.
“His contributions to the social, political and economic development of Nigeria and indeed, humanity will forever remain indelible in our hearts.”
Among those who have sent their condolence messages to the family and the people of the state is the Alaafin of Oyo, Lamidi Adeyemi.
Mr Adeyemi, described the former Governor as a leader who demonstrated the rare combination of thinking and doing.
He added that Mr Ajimobi had exhibited the quality of a good leader ”who had the courage of not only taking actions but being ready to face the consequences of his actions”.
Mr Adeyemi in a condolence message made available to PREMIUM TIMES by his Chief Press Officer, Bode Durojaiye, on Friday, remarked that the former Governor was more interested in people who can sustain his institutional reforms and other legacies.
“The late governor was more interested in people who can sustain his institutional reforms and other legacies and not in his own personal preferences.
“Ajimobi was the 20th governor that I have worked with. I have worked intimately as a son and as a governor. If you are brilliant, truthful and hardworking, he will work with you. He ran an inclusive government but you can only get something from him if you key into his vision of RTR, meaning reformation, transformation and repositioning.
“We had seen infrastructural renewal across the state; we had seen demolitions, emotions, and expressions. The former Governor had proved that he did not lack courage.”
Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly, Adebo Ogundoyin, in his condolence message described late Ajimobi as a political leader ”who gave his best for the development of Oyo State and indeed Nigeria at every opportunity he had to serve.”
“Regardless of any political differences, Senator Abiola Ajimobi is a father to us in Oyo State. His contributions to the state as a former Senator of Oyo South Senatorial District, first Governor to serve two terms in Oyo State and of course former Acting National Chairman of his party APC are symbolic achievements and a proof of a life well spent.”
Meanwhile, the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Edo and Delta states, Dawud Akinola, has expressed sadness at the passing.
Mr Akinola, who described Ajimobi as a national hero, described his demise as a huge loss to Islam, the good people of Oyo State and Nigeria at large.
“Akinola described the demise of Senator Ajimobi as a huge loss to Islam, the good people of Oyo State and Nigeria at large.
“While commending the former Governor for his wonderful contribution to the development of Oyo State with indelible marks that the people will continue to enjoy for years to come, the Aare Musulumi of Yorubaland, Edo and Delta States, believes that the sterling contribution of his beloved brother and friend to Islam and their joint traditional heritage, Ibadanland, are legacies and memories that he will continue to always cherished,” he said in a statement on Friday.