Ajimobi And The Power In The Tongue

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Governor Ajimobi and The New Governor Elect Seyi Makinde
Governor Ajimobi and The New Governor Elect Seyi Makinde

Bayo Osiyemi

The Bible tells of the immense power in the tongue and why it should not be deployed carelessly. Just as it is also taught in the Holy Book of the need to always hold the tongue in leech because in too much verbiage, blunders reside.

I cannot but recall these immortal words of wisdom as I view a trending video in the social media, of the outgoing governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, “foretelling” his political future some years ago. In the said video, in which late businessman and Islamic philanthropist, Alhaji Abdulazeez Arisekola Alao sat to his right, Governor Ajimobi, apparently unconscious of the immense power in the tongue, told his audience that he was satisfied with his current position as governor and that he needed nothing more.

Were he conscious of what he said then, why did he decide to throw his hat in the ring to seek another elective position, as a senator, when he has not fully run out his second term in office as governor? Power of the tongue? Or was he gifted with the power of clairvoyance to have pronounced on his political future at the time he made that public pronouncement?

The friend who posted the video to my phone from Ibadan had long told me that Governor Ajimobi was a notch short in diplomacy and caution; that he was simply uncouth in most of his utterances. When the friend veered into pasting a tag of vanity and arrogance on the record-breaking governor, the first one to earn re-election in the history of Oyo State, I quickly protested that on the ground that on the only one occasion I had cause to see him in his Agodi office in Ibadan some four or five years on behalf of my son who was to be hired for a transportation-related job from his overseas base, he struck me then as a humble and respectful public office holder.

Yet, my friend insisted that that was a one-off occurrence; that Ajimobi was garrulous and loose in the tongue and he allowed the aura of his high office to seize him. My friend was not alone in his assessment of Ajimobi. Most of the people I know in Ibadan have an unflattering opinion of him. And one even asked me if I knew why he is known by many other names, Chief of which is “Constituted Authority”.

The story goes that during one of the youthful exuberances exhibited by a group of Polytechnic students in a protest march to his office, Governor Ajimobi was said to have blurted in a fit of fury: “Don’t you know you are before constituted authority?” The appellation of “Constituted authority” has stuck since then.

But there’s a flip side of him which should not be washed away with his humbling defeat in the senatorial election: He is said to be generous. How I wished that consideration counted when they were voting against him.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of iNaijanow.

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