Controversy has broken out between the late Abiola Ajimobi’s family and the Oyo state Governor, Seyi Makinde.
While Florence Ajimobi, the late governor’s widow, is accusing Mr Makinde of abandoning his predecessor over the course of his ailment in the hospital including not calling to give condolence after his demise, the Oyo state governor has continued to claim otherwise.
According to governor Makinde, his administration has gone against the land use rule in the state to give approval for Ajimobi’s burial at his Oluyole Estate residence.
Ajimobi died from complications of COVID-19 last Thursday at First Cardiology Consultant Hospital, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Makinde who also denied that his government was responsible for the delay of the burial, said Ajimobi’s family had sought approval for his burial in a plot of land at Agodi GRA, but the request was denied because the land was under litigation.
The Oyo state governor’s spokesperson Taiwo Adisa said in a statement that the state government later allowed the burial of the Ajimobi at his residence, against the state’s rules on lands in Government Reservation Areas (GRA).
The statement read, “In view of the intense enquiries from news media organisations regarding the perceived delay in burying the late former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the Oyo State Government wishes to place on record that there is no truth in the rumour making the rounds that the burial is being delayed by the state government.
“The rumour, which is being deliberately spread to give the state government a bad name and to play undue politics with the dead, initially came by the way of social media gossip, which gained traction to attract the attention of traditional media outfits.
“Several media outfits reached out to the Media Office of the Governor of Oyo State to make enquiries on this barefaced lie on Saturday.
“Let it be stated clearly that the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has played no role at all in causing any delay whatsoever regarding the burial of his immediate predecessor, Senator Ajimobi.
“The truth of the matter is that the family, through a proxy, approached the state government and sought approval to bury the late governor on a plot of land at Agodi GRA, which is currently under litigation. Incidentally, it was the same former Governor Ajimobi who instituted the legal action.
“Governor Seyi Makinde had no choice than to state the facts as they are to the emissaries and turn down the request.
“Governor Makinde, however, against the established land use rule in Oyo State, gave approval that the family can bury the late governor in his Oluyole Estate residence.
“It is to be noted that the rules guiding land use in Government Reservation Areas (GRA) forbid the burial of bodies in such locations as Oluyole Estate and Agodi GRA.
“Let us also put on record that whereas the family did not follow the laid down protocols in passing information on the sickness and eventual demise of Senator Ajimobi, Governor Makinde overlooked all that and directed the full cooperation of the government with the family on this matter.
“It can only amount to a wicked lie to insinuate that the incumbent government in Oyo State attempted to obstruct the burial of the immediate past governor.”
Meanwhile, Florence Ajimobi has accused Seyi Makinde of not reaching out to her family when Ajimobi was in the hospital.
Speaking when Rauf Olaniyan, deputy governor of the state, led a condolence visit to the Ajimobi family, the widow said there was no need to play politics with her late husband’s death.
She said her husband served the state well and he deserved respect from the current administration.
“Although I should not be the one speaking but I just want to clear the air on a lot of misgivings that has been spreading.
“On behalf of my late husband, children and the entire Ajimobi’s family, I want to sincerely thank you for all your support at this very crucial point of our lives,” she said.
“My husband is not a very difficult man, but thank God we are here today. For me, when things like this happen, I want to pick up something. It is a time for everyone of us to reflect on our lives because death is a necessary end. It will come when it will come. We don’t know who is next and we don’t know when our time will come.
“Either you are a Christian or a Muslim, both religion teaches love and peace and I am glad that the deputy governor of Oyo State is here, because I need to put some record straight. It is the first time I’m going to make any public announcement or statement since my husband actually died.
“I opened the papers a couple of days ago and I saw the Oyo State Government writing a lot of things.
“Your Excellency, the deputy governor of Oyo State, for the avoidance of misinformation to the public and damage to the image of my husband because my husband is a peace loving person. He sought for peace passionately.
“My husband took ill on the 22nd of May and he was hospitalised and I was reading in the papers that the Governor of Oyo State, His Excellency, Seyi Makinde claimed he called me. But he didn’t.”
Referring to the deputy governor, she said: “I don’t have your number and I have never spoken with you on phone. But it’s important we put the record straight because this is a family of politicians and I don’t want anybody to tarnish my husband’s name, well my husband is gone. It could be me or anyone else tomorrow.
“Life in itself is vanity upon vanity. Either you are PDP or APC, the man is dead and he has been buried.
“But the governor didn’t call me. Even if he had called me and I didn’t pick his calls, I don’t have his number and I have never spoken with him on the phone, he could have sent me a text message for record purposes.
“And then today again, I read in the papers and saw how the Ajimobi’s family were lying about some things.
“Mr deputy, my husband never had anything against the governor or anyone else. We were in different parties but he was an elder statesman and he slept on the ground.
“The Governor of Oyo State never called me nor sent a condolence message, my husband was hospitalised for one month, what politics are we playing, please?
“Life is short, I’m a Christian and my husband is a Muslim, we all should let the fear of God guide us in whatever we are doing. Ajimobi is gone today, whatever he does doesn’t matter to me. It doesn’t matter to me as his wife and his widow. I’m going to mourn and respect my husband’s wishes and that was what I did today, laid him to rest peacefully.”