Engineer Rauf Olaniyan, Deputy Governor to Engineer Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and two commissioners in the state have been prevented from attending the eight (8) day Fidau prayer (prayer for deceased) for the immediate past Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi.
People & Politics recall that both the state government and Ajimobi’s family had been at loggerheads since the demise of Ajimobi.
The prayer, scheduled for 11am, was held within the compound of the deceased.
The family had earlier announced in a statement that the Fidau prayer was a private programme.
Members of the public were urged to watch the service through virtual channels such as Zoom, YouTube and Facebook.
Olaniyan, who arrived at the residence at about 11:20 am in a convoy of five vehicles, was stopped at the gate of the road leading to Ajimobi’s residence.
The security agents manning the gate insisted that only the deputy governor’s vehicle could be allowed into the street for the prayer.
The deputy governor’s security details initially rebuffed the idea but a senior policeman intervened and the deputy governor’s vehicle was allowed in.
However, at Ajimobi’s residence, the gate was also locked. When the deputy governor’s aides introduced their principal, they were told that the gate had been locked, and that the widow of the deceased, Mrs Florence, was with the key.
Olaniyan, Abdul-Raheem and Ashamu, left after making frantic calls to people believed to be close to the family without any solution.
Omolere Omoetan, Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Deputy Governor confirmed the development.
Meanwhile, Bolaji Tunji, Media Aide to the late Senator Ajimobi in a statement made available to journalists, said the family was not aware of the deputy governor’s plan to be present at the prayer as there was no notification.
The statement read in parts, “There is the need to clarify the believed presence of the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Rauf Olaniyan, at the 8th day prayer of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the immediate past Governor of Oyo State.
“The Deputy Governor arrived after the prayer had started. The event was strictly a family affair. There was need to comply with the COVID-19 protocol as established by the National Centre for Decease Control on social distancing -Not more than 30 people in a place and seats arranged, accordingly. After which the gate was shut.
“No one was aware that the Deputy Governor was coming as neither the advance team nor the protocol informed us. By the time we got to the gate to usher him into the sitting room, he had left. Everything happened within a spate of 10minutes.
“Through a serving Senator and a former Attorney-General, we tried to get in touch with him that it was not to slight him and he could sit in a private sitting room provided by the family. Unfortunately, he had left. We, however, apologise to his Excellency.”