By Sanya Oni
While the country mourns the death of Abiola Ajimobi, I remember just over a year ago, precisely on April 2, 2019, that I described the late governor as an unlikely candidate for a popularity contest. I gave my reasons. Here was a governor who dared to tell a group of undisciplined, red-eyed students to respect "constituted authority" when they came to march against Agodi, the seat of the Oyo state government. As if to cement his public image as “Mr. Controversy ”, then followed the very striking encounter with the musical icon, Yinka Ayefele, about the latter's violation of state urban planning laws, in which the governor insisted that the law, instead of feeling, would prevail. And then, to top it all off, his attempt to modernize the traditional institution in the old city of Ibadan, his beloved city, which, while well-intentioned, has become politicized.
But, also, I noticed that they would go through mere footnotes, given their impressive legacies. I noticed his impressive efforts to transform the old city of the urban jungle into a modern and functional city, with adequate physical planning and aesthetic infrastructure. I couldn't resist touching what I called Ajimobi's Magic: the broadest and most organized urban roads, particularly the city center roads that he had put on a constant path of renewal. In the play, I highlighted the drainage master plan to ban perennial flooding in the ancient city and the unique effort of his government to transform its rustic landscapes from Oke-Ogun to the other ancient cities of Oyo and Ogbomoso into modernity. I concluded, then, what seems to me his greatest achievement: the successful end of the warlords' reign – rival transport unions that saw themselves not only above the country's laws, but are known to routinely unleash violence and chaos in innocent citizens without provocation.
To these, I can only add another suitable epitaph – the statement credited to Seyi Makinde, his successor to the PDP in the new policy of the Board of Directors of the Ajimobi Administration School, under which old boys and girls and the community are given a seat in the running from schools: I congratulate the last administration for bringing the SGB on board, but I want to add here that our administration will take politics to a greater height ”.
Certainly, the good people of Oyo State will remember Ajimobi as a man who not only dared to dream, but also updated them. Now, all that matters is the general testimony – that he left the state much better than he knew it!
Goodbye Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi.