ONE year after his death, friends, family, and political associates of Abiola Ajimobi, on Friday, converged to remember and celebrate the life of the ex-governor of Oyo State.
The twofold event which held at his Oluyole residence and the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, respectively, saw several dignitaries gather to eulogise the late former Deputy National Chairman of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
For the first time in one year, the wife of the late governor, Florence, was seen in public at an event graced by the Vice President (VP) Yemi Osinbajo, Governors Abdulahi Ganduje (Kano), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Gboyega Oyetola (Osun), among others.
Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, and his colleague heading Youth and Sport, Sunday Dare, and several lawmakers, traditional rulers and captains of industries, also graced the event.
Osinbajo who was represented by the Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, said Ajimobi is remembered for his ability to build bridges and his political experience.
He said, “One cannot remember Egbon (Ajimobi) without a smile and a certain warmth of the heart. He was a formidable politician, yet known for his remarkable empathy, quick weight and distinguished candour and effervescent charm, all which we would always be glad to have had the privilege and delight of enjoying first hand. We are grateful to God for the gifts of those days, which he was with us and the opposite to tap from his deep well of political astuteness.
“He left behind an indispensable records of sterling achievements in leadership activism, politics, philanthropy and business. He was a distinguished principal member of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and represented Oyo South senatorial district in 2003 and later two-term governor of Oyo State.
“We miss him dearly and we will surely continue in prayers for our dear sister, Mrs. Florence Ajimobi, and loving children and grandchildren. Blessed be God the Father of masses and God of all comfort,” he said.
Aregbesola recalled that Ajimobi was one of the few top political leaders who was loyal to the progressive family leadership till death. He said he was yet to recover from his death, stressing that the deceased maintained the Omoluabi ethos throughout his leadership period.
Also speaking Governor Ganduje described Ajimobi as a detribalised Nigerian who was focused on building bridges and promoting peace.
“He demolished the wall of tribalism. He demolished the wall of religious differences and he demolished the wall of ethnicity during his time,” Ganduje said.
The high point of the event was the presentation of an award by the Society for Peace Studies and Practice (SPSP) and conferment of Fellowship of the Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies (IPSS), Faculty of Peace and Strategic Studies, University of Ibadan, on the wife of the late governor, Florence.
Speaking on the conferment, the National President, SPSP, Nathaniel Danjibo, commended the former governor for upholding the peaceful architecture of the state during his eight years of administration.
He said the honour was conferred on Ajimobi’s wife in recognition of her role in supporting her husband’s peaceful administration and encouraging her to continue through her position as the President, Senator Abiola Ajimobi Foundation.
Making her first formal public presentation since the death of her husband one year ago, Florence, who sang and danced to the admiration and commendation of the people thanked God, family members and political associates of her late husband for supporting her family, especially in the last one year.
She said, “My husband’s passion for peace, safety and security was a front line of his unprecedented eight years achievements as the governor of this state. He was passionate and committed and took good advantage of every opportunity. I was a victim of good governance under his leadership which advocated for social objective as there was hardly any day or night that I wasn’t denied my absolute right to him as my husband in the overarching desire to pursue this demanding objective.”
Speaking earlier at the Fidau prayer for the deceased, Islamic scholar, Sheik Ajani Bello, urged the people to always remember that what they do outlives them even after they are gone, noting that all Ajimobi did in his life time have become sources of testimonials after his death.
He said, “God created life and death, we were made from sand and we shall return to sand when we die, death is a challenge to us. Let’s all live a good life, Ajimobi lived a fulfilled life when alive, Ajimobi is not alive again but his legacy lives on. Do good today so that your tomorrow will speak well.
“Some politicians have died and their names have also died with them. Whatever we do today shall become history tomorrow, no one can repay us with evil if we do good today. Ajimobi has done good when alive, and what he did has become an history today.”