“Now cracks a noble coronary heart. Good night time, candy prince/ And flights of angels sing thee to thy relaxation.” – Shakespeare
AFTER I researched and wrote his biography, anytime I noticed Abiola Ajimobi it was not the politician, or governor or senator that leapt into my eye. It was the altar boy, crisp, sensible, the glint of childhood. In his main college, he was chosen to that standing, although a Muslim, by the college as a result of he was spick and span. Face upended religion.
He was all the time the mannequin pupil in hygiene and style. His shirts, his trousers, his sneakers, physique cream, haircut had been examples for others. His daughter Abisola advised me how he paid consideration to his look. From his pores and skin, his tub to his garments for the day. He would unfold a wide range of apparels on the mattress and meticulously make a judgment, typically consulting spouse or any member of his household, on what to put on.
Even his colleagues at Nationwide Oil and Later Conoil described him as “dapper,” reminding one of many politician in Achebe’s A Man of the Individuals who was described as “the most effective dressed gentleman.” In his company life, his fits blazed in cuts and colors. Even his spouse Florence testified to her shock about how he, as a politician, swiveled into the normal Yoruba put on of agbada and sokoto with a tailor’s ease
If what the specialists say is appropriate that we must always comply with the legal guidelines of hygiene on this period of COVID-19, the final particular person I anticipated to fall sufferer is Ajimobi. But, that virus that respects neither class nor religion nor braveness struck, and fatally. In his play, Twelfth Night time, Shakespeare’s Sir Toby famous, “Care is an enemy to life.” Care didn’t save some of the cautious males on earth. It’s a nightmare of a paradox, a darkish foreboding for all alive.
It’s a lesson in human impotence. It’s not a time to say with the superstitious of us that he died as a result of he wished to say his farewell at 70. Now many will say his 70th birthday was his large, closing valediction to the world. It was a fanfare of a celebration, the massive and mighty within the nation got here, so did the small in Ibadan. He, too, was in an ebullient spirit. He had a great dance along with his spouse, and spoke with nice hope and rapture about his age and growing old, and even his virility, when he quipped that the Ooni of Ife had assured him, kabiyesi so pe ara mi maa ma le. “His majesty stated my physique shall be virile.”
And he was. He was agile, stuffed with the reward of life and prospects, and he earned his place once more atop the political world. He died as appearing chairman of his social gathering. He had advised me in his final days as governor that he was considering going again to highschool. In the course of the lockdown earlier than the flu struck, returned my telephone name and warranted me he would communicate over his new put up as deputy chairman. However as Joseph Conrad says in his Coronary heart of Darkness, life is as “inscrutable as future.”
In that future was a managing director of the highest oil advertising and marketing agency within the sub-continent, senator, governor, social gathering chief, and statesman. When he was a baby, in response to the story, he visited the Governor’s Home in Ibadan along with his father who was additionally a distinguished politician. When he sat leisurely, his father advised Abiola to take a seat correctly. “Sit like a governor,” he instructed. “In the future, you too will turn into a governor.”
He by no means forgot that second in prophetic perspective. However he didn’t appear the person for politics when he travelled to america, excelled in his research and even labored menial jobs together with in a mortuary. He mixed research with work and joys of America, even relationship a Miss Buffalo as a part of his thrills of youth.
He didn’t return with any connections or plum jobs ready in Nigeria. He bought his jobs and labored his approach up the ladder. As a company man, he checked out politics from the gap. He needed to succeed in the acme of profession earlier than he ventured into the vocations of father and uncle. He shocked his spouse when he finally did. She didn’t envisage an Abiola, who might sit with artisans, staff and the decrease rung of the society. He had been prim on the prime for therefore lengthy. They met at Marina in Lagos when she first shunned him and a proud Ajimobi waited in ambush. So, an Ajimobi, who chummed with market women and men, mechanics, highway transport staff, and so on, was new to him. “It’s in my blood,” he assured her. He grew to become senator, and after a battle he grew to become a governor, not as soon as, however a jinx breaker by taking it twice.
He understood himself, and utilized his energies and imaginative and prescient as governor in Oyo State. He’s essentially the most consequential determine in trendy Oyo State. He was targeted, if typically too blunt for his folks. However he was genuine and refreshed along with his candour. He didn’t play double requirements or endure fools gladly. He had a portrait of a lion in his sitting room wherein the lion says he won’t eat grass regardless of how hungry he’s, not due to pleasure, however that’s who he’s. Therefore an Ajimobi would berate some errant college students who wouldn’t hearken to a governor. He requested them to obey constituted authority as a result of that was how he was raised, not as a technology of petulant boys who look their elders within the eye with impunity. Or within the Obaship battle wherein he confided to me that the folks agreed to his reforms in personal solely to turncoat in public. He didn’t chafe underneath strain however insisted on the purpose he had made. That’s the measure of braveness in management.
He had his flaws. However he was extra tender than many knew. A childhood good friend of his in america was strolling by way of Marina along with his spouse and stopped at Nationwide Oil, and stated he knew the boss of that firm and walked in. He was allowed as much as its prime flooring. The secretary wouldn’t let him see the boss. He was impatient and left with a notice. As soon as Ajimobi discovered of it, he shut down each door or elevate till they discovered the man who had nearly left the constructing. He spent that night time in Ajimobi’s house after asking his spouse to arrange a meal for an august customer.
When he was a teen, he accompanied his mom to a village within the southwest the place she bought gold. They’d an accident wherein the automobile somersaulted. He survived along with his mom. However a sure fellow who was strolling by, appeared on the lad, nonetheless bleeding from a wound that turn into a lifelong scar. “Handle that boy,” he charged his mom, “he’ll turn into someone large on this land.”
Regardless of the standing of the person, whether or not prophet, or whether or not human or spirit, nobody might low cost that his tongue lit with hearth. The boy, who fell right into a ditch in an accident and bore a scar on his head and escaped dying along with his mom beside him in a country retreat in Yoruba land, grew through the years to journey everywhere in the world, to highschool in a few of the world’s tony universities, to develop in fame and fortune, to turn into a headline grabber within the nation’s tv, newspapers and magazines, grew to become a mobiliser of males and sources, grew to become a helmsman in company Nigeria, soared to victory as a person of energy, held positions of envy as he leapt from rung to rung, was sworn in as a senator of Oyo State and the Federal Republic of Nigeria and, after a grueling epic of a struggle each within the courts and on the poll field, distinguished himself not solely as a governor however has set a file as the primary personage to mount the seat as governor twice in a historic state of kings and kin, of quicksand loyalties and royalties within the capital, Ibadan, signposted as one in all Africa’s largest cities. He bowed out as governor with the garland and sobriquet: Ko sele ri – It has by no means occurred earlier than.