Senator Abiola Ajimobi

The former governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi, applied for and was offered admission for a doctorate programme in Sustainable Development Practice by the Postgraduate College, University of Ibadan.

Idowu Olayinka, the vice-chancellor of the university, said in a tribute last weekend that the senator had already paid the requisite acceptance fee before he passed away.

The topics identified for his thesis included Executive Performance, Governance and Quality of Democracy at the State level: Perception of the Electorate and Public Opinion and Accountability in Political Governance of State Governments in Nigeria.

“His transition has now prevented the Distinguished Senator Ajimobi the opportunity of embarking on his doctoral research at the University of Ibadan,” Olayinka said.

“We pray for the repose of his soul. May the good God forgive his sins and comfort his widow, children, grandchildren, friends and associates.”

Ajimobi, 70, who was the governor of Oyo State between 2011 and 2019, died last month in Lagos from coronavirus complications, according to Akin Alabi, a federal lawmaker and his political associate.

He also served as a senator representing Oyo South between 2003 and 2007.

Olayinka said he first crossed paths with the deceased governor in 2004 at a private event hosted by a senior colleague and Ajimobi’s long-standing friend, Ademola Ariyo, in Ibadan.

“He was then a Senator of the Federal Republic representing the good people of Oyo South. In our brief encounter that beautiful evening the distinguished senator came across as an amiable, suave, cerebral, intelligent, witty and quick-witted individual.

“I even broached the idea of inviting him to deliver a Postgraduate School Interdisciplinary Discourse but we never got to working out the details till I left as Dean of the Postgraduate School in 2006.

“We started seeing him more frequently when he became our State Governor after the 2011 General Elections. He attended many events at the University of Ibadan and even delivered a Convocation lecture during the tenure of my predecessor as Vice-Chancellor, Professor Isaac Folorunso Adewole.

“He was always claiming, and rightly too, that Ibadan is the intellectual capital of Nigeria. On a lighter note, he would joke that he had many friends and associates at the University of Ibadan and he deserved to be appointed an ‘Associate Professor’. Some of us his audience would just murmur ‘Just like that?’

“Where I come from, there is a popular saying that the King during whose reign there was peace and tranquillity, his name would never be forgotten. Governor Ajimobi restored peace during his reign here in Oyo State.”

Mr Olayinka commended the late governor’s achievement in the field of education, noting there were four universities in the state when he assumed office in 2011 and ten by the time he left eight years later.

“He himself founded the First Technical University in 2012 although the effective take off took another few years and he appointed an accomplished academic and former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Ayobami Salami the pioneer Vice-Chancellor in 2017,” he said.

“I once asked Governor Ajimobi why he abandoned some aspects of his urban renewal programme through which he cleared all the roadside ‘markets’ on the not so wide roads that had the tendency to slow down vehicular traffic in the metropolis.

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