The family of Abiola Ajimobi, who died of complications of COVID-19 last week, has explained that it did not deliberately snub Rauf Olaniyan, the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, at the late politician’s Fidau prayer.
Olaniyan was denied entry to the politician’s Oluyole residence in Ibadan, the state capital. He was said to have left the house after being stranded for over 20 minutes.
However, Bolaji Tunji, media aide of the ex-governor, said the prayer was a strictly family affair. He said the prayer was organised in line with the COVID-19 protocol 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.”
In its response, the state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the family had allowed Alao Akala, a former governor of the state, to attend the prayer dismissing its claim that it was a family affair.
“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.”
Ajimobi’s wife had accused Olaniyan and Governor Seyi Makinde of playing politics with her husband’s death. She said neither of them had sympathised with her wheh her husband was ill.