The Oyo State government should be blamed for the delay in the burial of a former governor of the state, Abiola Ajimobi, who died of COVID-19 complications, a source close to the late politician’s family has said.
The former governor died on Thursday, June 25, and has not been buried three days after.
As a Muslim, he was supposed to be buried the same or the following day.
According to a source, who asked not to be named because of the sensitive nature of the matter, the burial had not taken place due to the disagreement between the Ajimobi family and the state government on the burial plans by the family.
But the Oyo government has swiftly countered the claim by the Ajimobi family, saying the allegations were being “spread to give the state government a bad name and to play undue politics with the dead.”
Speaking with one of our reporters, the Ajimobi family source said plans were made for the burial of the late politician a day after he passed on.
He said the family got in touch with the state government for necessary burial approvals but were rebuffed.
“The government official that the family got in touch with said they could not take action on the matter without approval from the governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde,” the source said.
“The official also informed us that it has been difficult to pin down the Governor for the approval.
“The source also revealed that when the family was able to inform Engineer Makinde of the burial plans in line with the laws of the land eventually, Engineer Makinde completely refused to oblige the family on their preferred choice of their father’s burial ground.”
“Furthermore it must also be said that Engineer Makinde’s refusal comes after repeated pleas from top government officials and statesmen from federal and legislative arms of government.
“Imagine that since this man died, a former governor of the state that served two terms, that achieved so much for the state, Governor Makinde is yet to even call the wife nor any member of the family, that is quite unfortunate. Even if you have issues with him, he is gone now, you should drop that as a mark of respect for the deceased.”
But the Oyo State government said the claim by the Ajimobi family that it is responsible for the delay in burying the late politician is a wicked lie that must stop.
A statement by Taiwo Adisa, the chief press secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, said, “In view of the intense enquiries from news media organisations regarding the perceived delay in burying the late former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the Oyo State Government wishes to place on record that there is no truth in the rumour making the rounds that the burial is being delayed by the state govenrment.
“The rumour, which is being deliberately spread to give the state government a bad name and to play undue politics with the dead, initially came by the way of social media gossips, which gained traction to attract the attention of traditional media outfits.
“Several media outfits reached out to the Media Office of the Governor of Oyo State to make enquiries on this barefaced lie on Saturday.
“Let it be stated clearly that the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has played no role at all in causing any delay whatsoever regarding the burial of his immediate predecessor, Senator Ajimobi.
“The truth of the matter is that the family, through a proxy, approached the state government and sought approval to bury the late governor on a plot of land at Agodi GRA, which is currently under litigation.
“Incidentally, it was the same former Governor Ajimobi who instituted the legal action.
“Governor Seyi Makinde had no choice than to state the facts as they are to the emissaries and turn down the request.
“Governor Makinde, however, against the established land use rule in Oyo State, gave approval that the family can bury the late governor in his Oluyole Estate residence.
“It is to be noted that the rules guiding land use in Government Reservation Areas (GRA) forbid the burial of bodies in such locations as Oluyole Estate and Agodi GRA.
“Let us also put on record that whereas the family did not follow the laid down protocols in passing information on the sickness and eventual demise of Senator Ajimobi, Governor Makinde overlooked all that and directed the full cooperation of the government with the family on this matter.
“It can only amount to a wicked lie to insinuate that the incumbent government in Oyo State attempted to obstruct the burial of the immediate past governor.”
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...