Former Nigerian lawmaker Senator Abiola Ajimobi dies at 70

Abiola Ajimobi
Nigerian lawmaker Senator Abiola Ajimobi is pictured smiling during a committee meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.

Abiola Ajimobi, a former Nigerian senator who finished his second term as Oyo State governor last year, has died. He was aged 70.

Mr Ajimobi died on Thursday at a private hospital in Lagos after spending weeks in intensive care for coronavirus complications.

Mr Ajimobi’s passing came a week after he was rumoured to have died at the same private hospital. That rumour turned to be false.

He was first hospitalised in early June after contracting the deadly virus that has now sickened millions and claimed nearly 500,000 lives across the world.

Mr Ajimobi was a senator from 2003 to 2007. After unsuccessful attempts, he was ultimately elected governor in 2011 and re-elected in 2015, becoming the first Oyo State governor to serve two terms.

He was survived by his wife and children.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with the government and people of Oyo State over the death of Mr Ajimobi.

The president commiserated with the family of the former governor, who served as a senator before winning the governorship election in 2011.

“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 counsels to heal, and grow, noting that his absence will be sorely felt by all associates, particularly in the APC,” a statement by the presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina, said on Thursday.

Also, state governors in Nigeria, under the Nigeria Governors Forum, have expressed condolences to Mr Ajimobi’s family.

The chairman of the forum, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State in a statement, described the late Ajimobi as lively and fatherly. “There was never a dull moment with the late former Governor”.

Mr Fayemi said the deceased “provided valuable counsel to the forum during his time as governor and member”.

He added that he had personally followed developments in the late Ajimobi’s health “since the news of the former governor’s lung surgery broke and when he showed signs of recovery”.

The current Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, has directed that flags be flown at half-mast in the state to honour Mr Ajimobi.

“I was so sorry to hear the news of the passing away of the immediate past Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, which sad event took place earlier today,” Mr Makinde wrote in condolence message sent to journalists.

“I cannot begin to imagine the pain the family must be going through at this time because of the loss of their patriarch. It is my prayer that God grants them all the strength to bear this great loss.

“I join the good people of Oyo State as we mourn the death of a statesman. I have directed that flags fly at half-mast tomorrow in honour of our brother, friend and illustrious son of Oyo State.

“Surely, he will be remembered for leaving a blueprint for some of the activities that our administration is now undertaking.

“The Oyo State Government will be extending to his family, all the courtesies deserving of his personage. May his soul rest in peace.”

Hundreds of sympathisers stormed the private residence of the former Oyo State governor, located at Oluyole estate following the announcement of his demise.

The mourners, many of who said they thought the death news was a rumour, were seen weeping at the residence.

The sympathisers comprised political associates, friends and extended family members.

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