The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, has described the late former Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Isiaka Ajimobi, as someone born with ‘uncommon charm and wisdom’.
The minister stated this in his tribute to the two-term senator who died from COVID-19 complications on Thursday, in Lagos.
He said: “Just before his sudden exit, a new chapter had just opened. After eight years of outstanding service and historic contribution to state and country, he was asked by his peers and fellow party members to take on a national assignment of high importance.
“His tremendous intelligence, dedication and experience were once again called upon to serve the greater good of the public welfare.
“All who knew him were excited about his elevation because we knew his presence would improve our collective effort.
“At this moment of such positive expectations, he was taken from us. Every person has a light. This man’s was among the most luminous. This world is now a less right now that he has been taken from us.
“Abiola Isiaka Akanbi Ajimobi was no ordinary man. He was born with uncommon charm and wisdom.
He did not desperately chase success and fame. Both seemed to come naturally to him as if they were his close friends. His brilliance and industrious spirit saw to his ascendency.
“This man was one of my principal mentors. He was always encouraging and exhorting me to trust my intellect, expand my knowledge and always seek wisdom.
Ajimobi stressed to me, like he did to many others that a good public servant was a person with a creative mind and an inspiring vision.
Not only was he a willing teacher , he was a near perfectionist who sought always to practise what he preached. The contours of this big brother relationship started about six years ago.
But it formed fully that night in Abuja when he stole me away from Asiwaju for a meeting I shall never forget.
“Though late at night, Senator Ajimobi spoke to me about the intricacies, demands and nuances of politics.
He also gave me sage advice about life, living and human relationships in general. His was an active and engaging mind. Our conversation spilled past midnight, lasting to 2am.
“He challenged me that night to have the confidence to step fully into the politics of our beloved state, Oyo. He saw my reluctance but, in his characteristic manner, he marshalled his points convincingly.
He told me he had encouraged many others from Oyo State to join politics in order to further develop the state.
He told me, having seen me working under the tutelage of Asiwaju and the soundness of my suggestions when sought on statecraft, I could greatly contribute to Oyo.
I thanked him profusely for having such confidence in me, which I frankly did not have at that moment. I left that meeting feeling inspired and vowed to myself that I would not disappoint this man who spoke to me with both passion and purpose.
“Six years has passed since then and I remember that talk to the word. Ajimobi was an exemplary human being. Consummate in his ways and powerful with his convictions, he was unselfish.
He sought out others. He lifted many. An encounter with him, left you feeling special, enriched. He was jovial and quick to smile, but was also firm and principled.
He was of simple and modest demeanour but deeply intellectual. He had a way with words, not in the manner of some aloof scholar but would pass pearls of great insight using the vernacular of the people.
No one strung political theory and common folk tales together like he did, lacing it with anecdotal experience.
His eight years of stewardship as governor saw him at his best. He opened a new vista of development for Oyo State with sight set on building a modern and functional Oyo.
He sought to reposition the state in the regional and federal political spectrum as a pace setter among the committee of States.
He took no hostages. He forged on like a generalissimo on the battlefield. Now that he has done his bit and moved on, we must discard the garment of political lethargy and take a clear stand as a party for the sake of our people.
“Abiola Ajimobi redefined our politics. He was not without his faults. Nothing born of flesh is, but he was extraordinary.
“With his passing, it feels as if something precious has been taken, something we were not ready to let go. Yet, God is our master and all our days are numbered by Him.
God decided that this great man had toiled enough in this life; that it was time for his struggles to end.
While we feel a great loss, we must thank God that he afforded us the chance to know such a human being as this. Ajimobi never played hard to get, but he played hard to forget. We will never forget him.
Ajimobi will be remembered for what he has done. He will be missed for what he stood for. He will be loved always by wife, family and friends for who he was.
Oyo state will miss him. A void has been created that we can never completely fill. All we can do is to try to live up to his example and fine expectations of us.
Words now fail me to say all that a heart feels at a moment like this. I shall miss you but I take comfort in the lessons you taught and the wisdom you imparted. May you now rest well and be at peace in the bosom of your Creator.”