Ajimobi loses COVID-19A former Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, is dead.
He was aged 70.
The PUNCH gathered that the former acting National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress died at the First Cardiology Hospital, Lagos, after battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was reported to have been on a life support before giving up the ghost on Thursday.
After the news of the death broke on the social media, friends and political associates have been paying tributes to him.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), offered condolences to the government and people of Oyo State.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President noted that Ajimobi’s contributions to the development of the state and the nation would be remembered.
The statement read, “The President commiserates with the family of the former governor, who served the country as a Senator, 2003, before winning the governorship election in 2011, remaining steadfast and consistent in his progressive views, and working assiduously for the creation of the All Progressives Congress.
“As the party chieftain bows out, President Buhari believes he left the world at a crucial moment when the party and the country needed his counsel to heal and grow, noting that his absence will be sorely felt by all associates, particularly in the APC.”
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Bola Tinubu, described the deceased as the best and most productive governor Oyo State had.
Tinubu said with the departure of Ajimobi, Nigeria had lost an outstanding statesman and one of its most able politicians.
“The pain we feel at his passing is beyond what words can describe. This good and excellent man has left us, but his energy, activism and commitment to Nigeria and its people shall always be with us.
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“Ajimobi was my friend and brother. He was honest and forthright. He had the interest of the people at heart. We shared a common progressive vision for our country and how to bring prosperity, justice and hope to its people. I had hoped that we could achieve more together but the ultimate wisdom and all our fates rest in the hands of Almighty Allah who knows best,” he added.
The APC leader described Ajimobi as a loving husband and a father.
The Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, in a series of tweets, said he had directed that the flags fly at half-mast on Friday to honour the death of his predecessor.
He prayed that God would grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss.
“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,” he wrote.
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, expressed sadness over the death of the former governor.
Sanwo-Olu, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, said his death despite efforts to stabilise him when he took ill, had opened a deep sore in the hearts of Nigerians.
He said, “Senator Ajimobi was more than a politician; he was a man of many parts, whose managerial skills and experience are required at this critical period in our national life.”
“Senator Ajimobi was a distinguished Nigerian, who bestrode the economic and political space of the country like a colossus. He made his mark in the corporate world before venturing into politics.”
Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State also commiserated with the APC and family of the deceased.
Oyetola, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, described the death as ‘unfortunate, painful and a great loss.’
“As a two-term governor, Senator Ajimobi redefined governance in Oyo State. His administration embarked on unprecedented infrastructure development in the state and redefined the urban status and development profile of not only the capital city, Ibadan, but also other major cities in the state,” he added.
A former Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, said the death of Ajimobi was a personal loss.
In a statement signed by his media aide, Habib Aruna, Ambode said he and the deceased were close while they both served in their respective states.
“He was always full of wisdom, very witty, always willing to provide his honest opinion on issues. His political sagacity was one I admired from afar and I am glad to have shared many memorable moments with him,” he added.
Ambode said the late senator’s eight years as governor was remarkable, adding that his strides across the length and breadth of Oyo State would not be forgotten in a hurry.
He urged Ajimobi’s widow, Florence, to take solace in the fact that her husband lived a fulfilled life and left an indelible mark on his people.
A former Governor of Osun State, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, also expressed shock at the death of Ajimobi.
Oyinlola, in a statement, said the deceased left legacy programmes and projects that would forever mark him out as a successful politician.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Sunday Dare, in a tweet, said, “The passing of my elder brother, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi, is both untimely and tragic. He served the good people of Oyo for so long. We wanted him to use his experience to guide us through trying times. Sadly, dusk came too early and we must bid goodnight. Sun re, Aare of Ibadan!”
The PUNCH gathered that sympathisers converged on Ajimobi’s residence at the Oluyole Estate, Ibadan, as the news of his death went viral.
Members of the APC in Oyo State, the women wing of the party, aides and some neighbours to the former governor, converged in front of his house after confirming the news.
The sympathisers, mostly women, were seen wailing uncontrollably.
Some of them recounted how Ajimobi came to their aid during their trying times.