The remains of former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, will be buried at the Ajimobi Central Mosque in Ibadan on Sunday.
Ajimobi, aged 70, died from multiple organ failure in Lagos on Thursday, following complications from COVID-19 infection.
Ajimobi’s media aide, Bolaji Tunji, in a statement on Friday, said, “In close consultation with the governments of Lagos and Oyo states, the date for the burial ceremony has been announced.
“Barring any changes, his body will be interred at the Senator Ishaq Abiola Ajimobi Central Mosque at Oke Ado, Ibadan, at noon on Sunday, June 28 after the traditional Muslim prayers.
“To ensure that strict COVID-19 protocols are adhered to and in light of the current circumstances of our national health challenges, the family appeals to the public to observe strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols in their participation.”
According to the statement, details of the live media coverage of the funeral will be made public on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, has expressed shock over Ajimobi’s death.
Oba Adetunji, whose last meeting with the deceaased in February at Ibadan House, Oke Aremo, described it as a tragedy for a father to mourn his son.
A former Oyo State Governor, Rashidi Ladoja; and a former Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Sharafadeen Alli, also commiserated with the Ajimobi family.
In separate statements, they described the late All Progressives Congress stalwart’s death as a great loss to the family, state and Nigeria.
Also, a former Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, in a statement, said, “He was a very great, eloquent and quintessential leader.”
Also, the Christian Association of Nigeria, on Friday, paid glowing tributes to the late ex-governor, while commiserating with his family, Governor Seyi Makinde and the people of Oyo, saying Ajimobi would be remembered for allowing peaceful religious co-existence in the state.
The President, CAN, Dr Samson Ayokunle, in a statement, said, “Though a Muslim, he gave the Christian body in the state the opportunity of contributing to the progress of Oyo State, most especially by permitting the Christian women in the state to organise regular prayers in the state and allowing them to be covered live by both the radio and television arms of the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State.”
Similarly, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, and his deputy, Ovie Omo-Agege, in separate statements, noted that Ajimobi, who had represented Oyo South Senatorial District, would be missed by the people of the state and the APC.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, described Ajimobi’s demise as a painful loss, adding that he lived a fulfilled life and served the people of Oyo State diligently and patriotically.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State also described the deceased as an astute politician and seasoned administrator, who had made numerous contributions to the growth of Oyo and the nation.
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, in a statement by his aide, Ojo Oyewamide, said, “The demise of the former governor prods remarkably nostalgic moments. Twice, he (Akeredolu) had cause to be Ajimobi’s lead counsel in defence of his governorship mandate, and on both occasions, they savoured victorious moments.”
Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, in his condolence message, said Ajimobi’s death was a national loss and prayed God to comfort his family.
Former Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, also commiserated with Makinde and the Ajimobi family, saying Ajimobi lived a life of service and commitment to humanity during his “eventful 70-year mission on earth.”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, has stated that the late Ajimobi was the only ally in the South-West who “stood steadfast in the cause of the APC and stood by the national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu,” adding that he was “unflinching in his commitment to core Yoruba values and the defence of the party’s leadership.”
Likewise, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, in a condolence message by his Director of Media and Public Affairs, Moses Olafare, described Ajimobi’s death as a great loss to the Yoruba race, saying he was a unique Yoruba leader that would be greatly missed.
Former Senate Minority Leader, Mrs Biodun Olujimi, also mourned Ajimobi’s death, describing him as a servant-leader who left behind indelible legacies on the sands of time.
In a related development, loyalists of the APC in Oyo, friends and family members of the late ex-governor arrived at his 6th Avenue, Yemoja Street, Oluyole Estate residence in Ibadan, early Friday morning, to condole with his immediate family.
Sympathisers gathered by 8am on Friday, in anticipation of the late politician’s burial. However, it was later gathered that the burial arrangement had not been concluded with Ajimobi’s media aide, Bolaji Tunji, saying in a statement, “Funeral details will be announced in due course.”
Some mourners, mostly women, who came to the deceased’s residence, wept inconsolably. Among the dignitaries who condoled with the Ajimobi family were a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Adeniyi Akintola; Senator Teslim Folarin; Senator Kola Balogun; and a former APC governorship aspirant in Oyo State, Dr Olusola Ayandele.
Afenifere Renewal Group, in a statement, said Ajimobi demonstrated an unwavering commitment to progressive politics through his support for and participation in “some of our programmes, particularly policy development activities of the Yoruba Academy.”
The National Publicity Secretary, Action Democratic Party, Prince Adelaja Adeoye, in a statement, also commiserated with the late ex-governor’s immediate and political family across the country and prayed for eternal rest for his soul.