Oyo State deputy governor, Rauf Olaniyan, could not be part of dignitaries who attended the eight-day fidau prayer for the late Oyo State former governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, as he had no access to entering the Oluyole Estate, Ibadan home of the Ajimobis.
Ajimobi, who had been ill, managing COVID-19 infection was pronounced dead on Thursday, June 25, and was buried last Sunday in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. But prior to this period, the state government and the Ajimobi family had traded blames over the management of Ajimobi’s illness and burial.
However, on Sunday, Olaniyan had led a delegation of the Oyo State government including the commissioner for land and housing, Abiodun Abdul-Raheem and his energy counterpart, Seun Ashamu, to the residence of the late Ajimobi, at Oluyole Estate, where the fidau prayer held, but were said to have been turned back from entering the gate by police officers attached to he building.
The security details attached to the Ajimobi’s house were said to have also rebuffed Olaniyan’s entreaties to enter the venue, which it was said almost turned into an open confrontation with security details attached to the deputy governor.
However, Olaniyan, the two commissioners and their escorts were said to have left the venue after making frantic calls to people believed to close to the family yielded no results.
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The family of the Ajimobi family, reacting to claims, said that it had no intention to bar the deputy governor the eight-day fidau prayer organised for the deceased.
Ajimobi’s former media aide, Bolaji Tunji, made this known in a statement issued in Ibadan on behalf of the family.
The family’s reaction followed the widely circulated reports that a delegation of the state government led by the deputy governor was barred from entering the venue of the fidau prayer.
But Tunji, in the statement, said the family had no such plan to bar the government delegation.
He said the family was not aware that the deputy governor would attend the event, adding that neither the advance team nor the protocol unit informed the family.
The event, he added, was held in compliance with COVID-19 protocols established by NCDC, noting that not more than 30 people were allowed at the venue.
Tunji added that the seats were arranged according to the number after which the gate to the premises was shut.
He said when the family got the information that the deputy governor had arrived, aides rushed to the gate to usher him into the sitting room only to learn he had gone.
The statement said in part: ” There is the need to clarify the believed presence of the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Mr Rauf Olaniyan, at the 8th day prayer of HE Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the immediate past governor of Oyo State.
“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 informed 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 minutes.”
Tunji said efforts were made through a serving senator and a former attorney general to get in touch with the deputy governor.
He maintained that the incident was not meant as a slight to the deputy governor as he could sit in a private sitting room provided by the family.
Tunji, who described the incident as unfortunate, however, apologised to the deputy governor.