Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
Oyo State Governor, Mr. Seyi Makinde yesterday disputed reports that the state government was responsible for the delay in burying his immediate predecessor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, who died of COVID-19 on Thursday.
Makinde’s denial was contained in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, describing the insinuation as a wicked lie.
As a Muslim, he was supposed to be buried the following day. A family source had claimed that an arrangement had been made for Ajimobi’s burial the following day after he passed away, but could not secure government approval.
But the family source had claimed that the burial had not taken place due to the impediments placed by the state government to the burial plans by the family.
He said: “The government official that the family got in touch with said they could not take action on the matter without approval from the governor. Also, the official also informed us that it has been difficult to pin down the governor for the approval.”
In response to the claims of Ajimobi’s family, the statement said there was no truth in the rumour making the rounds that the burial was delayed by the state government.
The statement said the report, being 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 gossip, which gained traction to attract the attention of traditional media outfits.
It added that 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 Makinde, has played no role at all in causing any delay whatsoever regarding the burial of his immediate predecessor, 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. Makinde had no choice than to state the facts as they are to the emissaries and turn down the request.
“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 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.”