The Nigerian media space was agog in the wee hours of Sunday, June 28th, 2020 in reaction to a video where the widow of Late Governor Ajimobi accused the Governor Seyi Makinde led administration of abandoning her husband when he took ill. Some commentators have expressed mixed feelings with this revelation especially coming few hours after when the remains of the immediate past governor was buried at his residence in Ibadan.
Because of the communal way of living among the Ibadan people, some persons have berated the governor for playing politics with a dead adversary. This stance did not stand the test of time before the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Seyi Makinde, Taiwo Adisa addressed this issue to the press. The Governor’s CPS made some revelations which would ordinarily shock nonpolitical actors. Chief of those revelation was that the family of the late Governor called eminent Nigerians including Former President Obasanjo and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to persuade the governor to release a land that belong to the state government to bury the remains of the governor. The governor died as an adherent of the Islamic faith and was vocal about the ephemerality of life. Part of Islamic Injunction is that a corpses should be buried immediately. The family of the late Governor announced the death in the evening of Thursday, 25th June, ordinarily, he should have been buried a day after his death but the burial happened three days later because of a piece of land.
The accusation by the wife of the governor is not entirely helpful to the family and the deceased because it signifies that the late governor wants to covert the property of the state government even in death. Late Sen. Abiola Ajimobi will not be elated in his grave of this development.
It is no news that the Nigerian political class get ludicrous benefit even when the leave office, part of their severance packages include a house in Lagos and Abuja with a lot of other insane benefits at the expense of the state’s depleting treasury. Delaying the death of an immediate past governor because of a piece to bury his remain is not only self-serving and a disrespect to the deceased but leaves more to desired of the persona seeking such.
Consequently, emotional blackmail or societal placement is not an excuse in the face of the law. Burying the late Governor in his Oluyole residence is against the established Land Use Rule which prohibits burial of bodies in Government Reservation Areas (GRA). The state government has set a precedent that some classes of people can be excused in the face of the law. It is not a good development for rule of law.
THE HYPOCRISY OF THE COVID’19 DEATH AMONG POLITICAL LEADERS
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed said at a forum organized by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in April that the Ministry of Health would handle the body of people who die from the Covid-19 pandemic.
First, it was the body of late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari who died due to complications of the coronavirus and now the body the former Governor of Oyo state that were released to the respective families. This is not good for us as we are at the community transmission stage and there is already compliance problem among citizens. Releasing the body of people who died from the coronavirus is a public health threat and an insignia that the virus is not a threat. People will no longer follow the guideline of proper use of facemask and practice of social distancing if politicians and influential Nigerians are not taking the virus seriously.
At this stage, the state taskforce on Covid-19 should ensure that there is strict compliance with stated guidelines by the NCDC and Ministry of Health to contain the spread of this deadly virus and penalize persons or businesses who default because where there are no rules, there are no transgrtransgression. In fact, the face mask should be part of our dressing at this stage and officials should be trained on civil engagements. To contain the spread of this virus, we should all take responsibility.
Yusuf Akinyemi writes from Ibadan. He can be contacted at [email protected]