Seyi Makinde, Governor of Oyo, said his administration went against the law to ensure the burial of Abiola Ajimobi, former governor of the state, went ahead in Oluyole Estate, a Government Reserve Area.
Ajimobi died last Thursday of multiple organ failure following complications from COVID-19 at First Cardiologist Consultant, Hospital in Lagos. He was 70 years.
He was buried at his Oluyole Estate residence on Sunday.
The burial was initially scheduled for Friday according to Islamic injunction, but according to Bolaji Tunji, Special Assistant on Media to the former governor, the event was postponed following consultations with the governments of Lagos and Oyo.
In a statement on Saturday, Taiwo Adisa, the governor’s spokesman, said the state government is not responsible for the delay of the burial.
He said the family of the deceased had sought approval to bury the late former governor on a plot of land at Agodi GRA, but the request was denied because the land was under litigation.
But he said the governor allowed the late former governor to be buried at his Oluyole residence against the state rules on land.
“In view of the intense enquiries from news media organisations regarding the perceived delay in burying the late former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the Oyo State Government wishes to place on record that there is no truth in the rumour making the rounds that the burial is being delayed by the state government,” he said.
“The rumour, which is being deliberately 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.
“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 the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde, has played no role at all in causing any delay whatsoever regarding the burial of his immediate predecessor, Senator 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.
“Governor Seyi Makinde had no choice than to state the facts as they are to the emissaries and turn down the request.
“Governor 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 Senator 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.”