Monday, June 29, 2020 6:36 am
By Yemi Ajayi
If you need any credence to the rumoured haughtiness of the widow of former Oyo State Governor and zonal deputy national chairman of APC, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, look no further than her broadside against her husband’s successor, Mr. Seyi Makinde, yesterday in Ibadan.
The woman who spoke while receiving a delegation of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, complaining of poor treatment by the Oyo State Government did not strike one as a widow in mourning. She spoke like someone whose ego had been badly bruised and was helpless to do anything about it.
And there is no doubt she’s piqued by the fact that the Makinde administration saw through all the plots, deceit and machinations of the Ajimobi family to ride on his death to take back the disputed family property in Agodi GRA, which the deceased cornered when he was governor, but Makinde revoked the allocation to him.
For a woman whose family extended no simple courtesy to her husband’s successor by informing him of his battle with COVID-19 and his subsequent death to throw pity party over alleged poor treatment by the governor, it portrays her as someone with a huge entitlement mentality typical of the Nigerian political elite.
She complained the governor did not call or visit the family during the sickness and death of her husband on one hand, and on the other hand, said she doesn’t have his number and doesn’t pick unknown numbers, being the wife of a politician. She would rather want the governor to massage the oversized ego of the Ajimobi family by sending a text message to show he cares about them and their plight.
The fact is the Ajimobi family was never fair to the Makinde administration and shouldn’t have expected to be treated better.
The family couldn’t inform the home state of the deceased about his sickness and death but it had the presence of mind to inform the Lagos State Government, which is of the same APC stock like the late Ajimobi. If many may recall, it was Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who in a tweet on Friday, announced that Ajimobi died of multiple organs’ failure due to the debilitating effects of his COVID-19 infection. Forget the fact that the former APC leader died in a private hospital in Lagos; that statement ought to come from Makinde, as the chief mourner.
Madam widow, who is playing politics then between your family and the Makinde administration that heard about the sickness and death of your husband from the media and third party, like most Nigerians?
There is a maxim that he who must come to equity must do so with a clean hand; but you came to the altar of equity with stained hands instead.
If Mrs. Ajimobi will be true to her conscience, let her tell the public who sponsored the story that the Makinde administration was behind the delay in burying Ajimobi on Thursday, in accordance with Islamic rites that demand the burial of a Muslim within 24 hours of passage.
The fact is the delay in the burial of Ajimobi was no other reason than part of the plot to take over the disputed Agodi property.
I’ve it on good authority that the family had reached out to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to beseech the governor to allow Ajimobi’s burial in the disputed Agodi property. But the governor explained to the VP why he won’t be able to grant the request. He reminded him that it was Ajimobi who went to court to challenge the revocation of his claim to the property, and allowing him to be buried there would tie the hands of the court.
Rather, Makinde had granted the concession for the family to bury him at his Oluyole home, despite the fact that the state’s land use law expressly forbids burials at GRAs.
With that option foreclosed, the family sought to bury him at the Ajimobi Central Mosque in Oke Ado, as indicated in a statement on Friday by Ajimobi’s media aide, Bolaji Tunji.
But an Islamic cleric was said to have told them that though the late governor built the mosque, it couldn’t be regarded as his personal property because he did so in the service of Allah.
Left with no choice, the family had nowhere to turn to but the Oluyole home.
So, if Makinde had been so unconscionable to the family in its bereaved moments, would he have granted the waiver for the internment at the Oluyole residence?
Ajimobi no doubt deserves rest; especially so after such a battle against COVID-19, which he lost.
But the family would have to stop milking his death for political gain for him to do so.
I’ve heard arguments that Makinde should have set politics aside and granted all the indulgences of the Ajimobi family to honour the deceased. But that argument is patently flawed. There is nothing so special about dying. It’s a quotidian occurrence and everyone will sooner or later disembarks at his or her bus stop.
So, people shouldn’t exploit the sympathies of mourners to achieve predetermined agenda.