President Muhammed Buhari, former and serving governors, the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), among others, paid tributes to former Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
Announcing the demise of his predecessor, Governor Seyi Makinde expressed sadness and directed that the flags be flown at half-mast on Friday.
In a condolence message, he said: “I was so sad 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 (Thursday).
Mourners – mostly women – besieged the Oluyole residence of the former APC Deputy National Chairman (South), who died after a lung surgery at a privately-run highbrow hospital in Lagos. He was 70.
They wept uncontrollably.
The mourners said they besieged the Ibadan home to clarify the news on Ajimobi’s demise.
Read Also: VIDEO: Sympathisers at Ajimobi’s residence
Ajimobi’s death was first rumoured eight days ago but dismissed in a tweet by his daughter in-law, Fatima Ganduje-Ajimobi, and in statement by his media aide, Bolaji Tunji.
A source close to the former governor said Ajimobi, who was the first Oyo governor to win a second term in office, took the final bow at about 4pm.
Among the early callers were former Lands and Housing Commissioner Isaac Omodewu; Ibadan Southwest Local Government Chairman Bolaji Adeleke and members of the APC women wing in the Pacesetter state.
President Buhari recalled the contributions of the former governor to both his state and the nation and condoled with the people and government of Oyo State.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President, who also commiserated with the family of the deceased, noted that his death would be felt by all, especially by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The statement reads: “President Muhammadu Buhari condoles with government and people of Oyo State over the passing of a former governor, Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi, whose contributions to the development of the state, and nation, will always be remembered.
“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 APC.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) commiserated with the family of the immediate past governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, who died on Thursday.
NGF Chairman and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, in a condolence message he issued on behalf of his group, said members had hoped Ajimobi would recover from the lung surgery he recently had.
Fayemi said: “It is important to note here that I have personally followed developments since news of his lung surgery broke and when he showed signs of recovery, I was happy.
“However, our hopes sank a bit once it was said that he had slipped into a coma, but we prayed and continued to hope that he got out of coma and recovered.”
Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola also commiserated with the family of the former governor.
Oyetola, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Ismail Omipidan, described the former Oyo governor’s death as unfortunate, painful and a great loss.
Youth and Sports Development Minister Sunday Dare expressed shock, saying “the passing of my elder brother, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi, is both untimely and tragic.”
According to him, the late Ajimobi served the people of Oyo State for so long.
Dare said: “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!
“My prayers and thoughts are with the family, and the good people of Oyo State. His death is saddening, but we must submit to the will of God who gives life and takes it when he wills. May his soul rest in peace.”The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described former governor’s death as a national tragedy.
In a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the party said his death was a huge loss not only to the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Oyo state, but also to the entire nation.
Former Governor of Lagos State Akinwunmi Ambode expressed sadness over the death of ex-governor.
Ambode, in a statement by his media aide, Habib Aruna, described Ajimobi’s demise as a personal loss, saying that the former governor meant more than a brother and a colleague to him.
The Lagos APC also commiserated with the family and the leadership and members of the party.
Its publicity secretary, Seye Oladejo, said” “There’s no doubt that he died at a time his experience as an astute administrator and leader is needed most in the party in particular and the nation as a whole.”
Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello described the death of the immediate past governor as painful.
The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Onogwu Muhammed, sympathised with the family of the former governor as well as the government and good people of Oyo State.
“You have no doubt left indelible landmarks and footprints while you served the people of your state as governor for two consecutive terms in addition to representing them at the Senate, amongst others,” the governor said.
Former Anambra State Governor Peter Obi said it was a painful death and prayed to God to grant him eternal rest and to bring solace to the entire world.
Kano Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who an in-law to the deceased, described Ajimobi’s death of as not only shocking but devastating to “Us and our dear nation.”
“His death came calling when we needed him the most. He was undoubtedly a detribalised leader and a pillar of national development. This death would continue knocking hard on us for a very long time,” the Kano helmsman lamented.
He urged members of his family to strive hard and follow the late Ajimobi’s footsteps of unrelenting commitment for nation building and patriotic leadership.
Ganduje said: “It is on this note that I, on behalf of my family, government of Kano state and the good people of Kano state, I am sending our condolences to the family of our late respected and respectful in-law, the government and people of Oyo state, over this unbearable demise of the former governor of Oyo state, Mr Abiola Ajimobi.”