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‘We weren’t expecting Oyo deputy gov’ — Ajimobi’s family speaks on Fidau snub

Author:
Haleem Olatunji

The family of Abiola Ajimobi, a former governor of Oyo state, says Rauf Olaniyan, deputy governor of the state, did not inform them of his intention to attend the Fidau prayer organised for him.

Fidau is a prayer for the deceased who was a Muslim till death.

Ajimobi, who died of COVID-19 complications, was buried last week.

TheCable had reported how Olaniyan was prevented from attending the 8th day Islamic prayer organised for him.

The deputy governor had left the Oluyole residence of Ajimobi in Ibadan after being stranded for close to 20 minutes.

In a statement issued on behalf of the family, Bolaji Tunji, media aide of the ex-governor, said the prayer was strictly a family affair.

He said the prayer was done in line with COVID-19 protocol which is against large gatherings.

“There is the need to clarify the believed presence of the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Rauf Olaniyan at the 8th day prayer of HE Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the immediate past Governor of Oyo State,” the statement read.

“The Deputy Governor arrived after the prayer had started. The event was strictly a family affair. There was a need to comply with the Covid-19 protocol as established by NCDC- Social distancing, not more than 30 people in a place and seats arranged, accordingly. After which the gate was shut.

“No one was aware that the Deputy Governor was coming as neither the advance team nor the protocol inform us. By the time we got to the gate to usher him into the sitting room, he had left. Everything happened within a spate of 10 mins.

“Through a serving Senator and a former Attorney General we tried to get in touch with him that it was not to slight him and he could sit in a private sitting room provided by the family. Unfortunately, he had left. We however apologise to his Excellency.”

But the Oyo state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dismissed the explanation of Tunji.

In a statement, Akeem Olatunji, spokesman of the PDP in Oyo, said the deputy governor’s aides reached Ajimobi’s family ahead of the Fidau prayer.

He also faulted the explanation that it was strictly a family affair, saying Alao Akala, a former governor of Oyo, attended the Fidau.

“To the unsuspecting members of the public, kindly disregard APC Media Team Press Release in its entirety, it wasn’t a private family affair because Otunba Alao Adebayo Akala and many others were there,” the statement read.

“The family were well informed in advance that the Deputy Governor would be leading the Government delegation to the event. It was reported that the security personnel at the gate informed the Government delegation that there was an order from Madam not to allow the Government delegation into the venue.

“The more the Governor try to extend hands of friendship the more they rebuff his good gesture.”

When the deputy governor led a delegation of the state government to the Oluyole, Ibadan residence of Ajimobi last week, the widow of the former governor accused Olaniyan and Seyi Makinde, the governor, of playing politics with her husband’s death.

She had said neither him nor the governor placed calls across to her when Ajimobi was sick.

Olaniyan had responded that his calls were unanswered but Ajimobi’s wife was not still satisfied, saying he ought to have sent a text message.

Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano, Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti, were among those who intervened at the time.

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