By Bolaji Adebiyi
I was on my way to Ibadan to pick up his offer as media adviser. “Tell him I have released you,” the Duke had told me the previous night.
But as early as 6 am the next day, I was roused from sleep by Eni B’s phone call. “Bolaji, would you want to be an editor or a political bag carrier?” He asked. Which title? I asked. The Duke took the phone. “What are you negotiating?” He asked. Nothing, I said. I choose to be editor, Sir.
The negotiation for the media work in Ibadan took sometime. I didn’t want to do that type of job again after my two-term experience at the presidency. But under pressure from my friends, I was persuaded to have a rethink.
The big man himself was an extremely pleasant fellow contrary to the perception that was an arrogant person who did not listen to alternative views.
On the first night of our encounter, even as I resisted the offer and indicated I might not accept it, I had only 2k in my wallet, home and away, meaning nothing in the bank. Meanwhile, this was November 2017 and school fees were still outstanding.
After our discussions, which went late into early morning, he excused himself. “Aburo, give me a minute,” he said. He emerged minutes after with a bulky brown envelope. Shoving it into my hands, he said, “Use this to buy something for my children.”
I was surprised at the content of the envelope when I checked. Suffice to say that outstanding fees were cleared along with plenty outstanding debts.
We met a couple of times thereafter and my experience with him was pleasant. He enjoyed our company. Senator Teslim Folarin, Hon. Kanmi Akinlabi and I. He never wanted us to leave as he would spoil us, sometimes till 2 am.
Such a witty and cheerful fellow. Full of life. And he lived a good life. He was an unusual politician but lucky all the same.
When eventually he was informed that I would not take the job because I had been promoted, his reaction surprised me the more. “So, after all your pressure and several nights of talks, your friend didn’t take my offer,” he told Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s media aide,Tunde Rahman.
Yet, he told my Presidential Villa photographer to call me to meet him that night at his Abuja residence. I was there with my usual gang, Folarin, the facilitator, and Akinlabi.
“Congratulations on your promotion,” he said to me. He ask me to suggest a replacement and i did. As usual he spoiled us till around 3 am that day and asked his PA to see me. He did much later and it was handsome.
I had been aware of his condition from his first day at the First Cardiologist Consultants in ikoyi and could only pray that he recovered. He didn’t. He died this morning.
I pray for the repose of the soul of Governor Abiola Ajimobi and ask Allah to forgive him his sins and grant him Aljanah Fidaus. May Allah grant his family the fortitude to bear this great loss.
Sleep blissfully in the bosom of Allah, the true builder of modern Oyo State.
* Mr Adebiyi is the Editor of ThisDay and member of ThisDay Editorial Board