Former Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who later served as the Deputy National Chairman (South) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) died yesterday. Although no official statement has been issued on the cause of his death, a source close to Ajimobi’s spokesman, Bolaji Tunji, confirmed to Huhuonline.com that Ajimobi died of an undisclosed ailment related to complications from coronavirus for which he was receiving treatment at the Cardiology Hospital, Ikoyi, Lagos. However, the source could not confirm reports that Ajimobi had been brain dead over a week ago when all his organs failed after a last ditch surgery could not rescue his life. He was 70 years old. Ajimobi is the second high-profile public official to have died from the coronavirus after President Buhari’s former chief of staff, Abba Kyari.
When Huhuonline.com visited Ajimobi’s country home at Yemoja Street, Oluyole Estate, Ibadan, to confirm the news of his death, people were trooping to the palatial mansion and only the side gate to the house was opened with none of the family members around, except a few police officers from the Oluyole police command, who were on ground to attend to visitors. Born December 16, 1949 into the Ajimobi family at Oja-Iba, Ibadan, his grandfather was the Sobaloju of Ibadan (a chief in the royal court of Ibadan). His father, Pa Ajimobi, was a member of the House of Assembly in the Old Western region. His uncle, Hon. N.A. Ajimobi was also Minister of Works and Transport in the then Western Region of Nigeria.
Ajimobi attended St Patrick’s Primary School, Oke-Padre in Ibadan and completed his primary education at Ibadan City Council Primary School, Aperin. He proceeded to Lagelu Grammar School for his secondary education; before traveling to the United States of America, where he attended the State University of Buffalo, New York, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance. He later obtained an MBA in Operations Research and Marketing from Governors State University, University Park, Illinois.
In 2003, the people of Oyo State elected Ajimobi to the Senate where he served as Deputy Minority Leader. In 2007, Ajimobi contested the gubernatorial election under the umbrella of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and lost. Four years later, he ran again in 2011 under the Action Congress of Nigeria and won. On April 11, 2015, Ajimobi broke the jinx to become the first civilian governor of Oyo state to be reelected when he ran under the All Progressive Congress (APC) and defeated two of his predecessors, Otunba Christopher Akala and Senator Rashidi Adewolu Ladoja.
Ajimobi was elected as the All Progressives Congress (APC) Oyo South senatorial candidate on 28 September 2018. On March 9, 2019, he lost the Oyo South senatorial district seat to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Dr. Kola Balogun. Until his death, Ajimobi was the Deputy National Chairman (South) of the All Progressives Congress, who was selected by the APC National Working Committee (NWC) to be the acting national chairman of the party after an appeal court upheld the suspension of the embattled national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole. May his final journey be peaceful.
A statement by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina said President Muhammadu Buhari “commiserates with the family of the former governor, who served the country as a senator in 2003 before winning the governorship election in 2011, remaining constant in his progressive views, and working assiduously for the creation of All Progressives Congress.” The APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, also extended his profound and heartfelt condolences with the government and people of Oyo state, saying Ajimobi’s contributions to the development of Oyo and Nigeria will never be forgotten.
Encomiums continue to pour in with the ruling APC, in a statement by its spokesman, Seye Oladejo, commiserating with the bereaved family and saying Nigeria has lost a great public servant and statesman, whose leadership was badly needed at a time the APC was rocked by crisis. The PDP in a statement by its national Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the death of the immediate former Acting National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was a huge loss not just to the APC but the entire nation. He said the deceased was an exceptionally brilliant administrator, outstanding legislator and a man of peace, who made immense contributions and sacrifices towards the unity, political stability and development of the nation.
“Sen. Ajimobi was an excellent administrator and broadminded Nigerian, who put the good of the nation ahead of other considerations in his political life. Indeed, our party is still in shock and deeply saddened over the news of the death of Ajimobi, especially at this time, when our nation needed his wealth of experience and statesmanship the most.” The PDP, according to Ologbondiyan, commiserates with the Ajimobi’s family, particularly his widow, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, President Muhammadu Buhari, the national leadership of the APC, the government and people of Oyo State. He prayed to God to grant the nation the fortitude to bear the loss and eternal repose to the faithful departed.
Meanwhile, Nigeria recorded 594 new cases of COVID-19, bringing to 22,614 the number of confirmed cases in the country. Announcing this Thursday, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said Lagos recorded 159 new cases, Delta, 106; Ondo, 44: Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Edo, 34 each; Oyo and Kaduna, 33 each; Enugu, 28; Katsina, 25; Imo, 22; Adamawa, 15; Ogun, 12; Osun, 11; Abia, eight; Rivers, six; Nasarawa, Bauchi and Kebbi, five each; Ekiti, three; while Plateau and Taraba had one each. It said: “22,614 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Nigeria. 7,822 persons have been discharged, while 549 have died.”