By Emmanuel Uffot
Nigerians wake up on Friday to hear about the demise of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, immediate former governor of Oyo state. The 70 year old former governor who was appointed acting national chairman of APC after the Appeal Court upheld Adams Oshiomholes suspension had been afflicted by Coronavirus and had been receiving treatment in Lagos in the past three weeks.
It is curious to note that early last week before he was appointed acting national chairman of APC on his sick bed amidst the leadership tussle engulfing the party, it was rumored that he had died, before his children and close aide came out to dispel the rumour of his death, maintaining that he was very much alive responding to treatment. But it was like death from the mysterious Covid-19 virus was still knocking on his door.
Expectedly, the President, APC chieftains, PDP, close associates and many have commiserated with the family over Ajimobi’s death even as the Lagos state government has revealed that he died from multiple organ failure caused by the dreaded Coronavirus disease at First Cardiology Hospital Lagos.
Seyi Makinde, his successor from PDP had ordered flag to be flown half- mast in his honour after his death was confirm
According to the President whose condolence message was read by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Ajimobi died at a crucial moment his counsel was needed to heal the wound in APC.
“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. 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”.
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.
“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. He 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.”
The death of Ajimobi has not only put paid to the growing doubts among some Nigerians over the reality of the existence of Covid-19 in Nigeria and his high risk but has equally swelled the ranks of top Nigerian politicians mostly from the ruling APC that have died from the disease.
The first prominent politician to be claimed by Coronavirus was Abba Kyari, Chief of Staff to the President, next was Senator Adebayo Osinowo representing Lagos East who also died early this month.
Apart from those that have succumb to the cold hands of death no thanks to Covid-19, some sitting governors have had to combat with the disease. They include Seyi Makinde, Ajimobi successor who tested positive and was treated. Others are Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna, Bala Mohammed of Bauchi and just recently a governor from the South East. Just last Thursday June 25, before the demise of Ajimobi, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and his wife had gone into self isolation after his daughter tested positive to Coronavirus.
The former Vice president’s Atiku Abubakar’s son also tested positive to the disease and survive the treatment.
Infact the growing cases of the disease in the country with Lagos still leading the pack, is said to have prompted the governor of Lagos Sanwan- Olu and his Osun counterpart to contemplate another possible lockdown. This is presently causing apprehension in the state given the hallowing experience of Lagosians last time confined to their homes with no provision for them in terms of palliatives inspite of the said palliatives government said was been shared but never got to the people.