The family of the late Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, said on Sunday that it had no intention to bar the Deputy Governor of the state, Rauf Olaniyan, from the eight-day fidau prayer organised for the deceased.
Ajimobi’s former media aide, Bolaji Tunji, said this in a statement in Ibadan on behalf of the family.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the family on Sunday held the eight-day prayer for the late two-time governor who died on June 25.
The family’s reaction followed reports that a delegation of the state government led by the deputy governor was barred from entering the venue of the event.
But Tunji, in the statement, said the family had no such plan to bar the government delegation.
He said the family was not aware that Olaniyan would attend the event, adding that neither the advance team nor the protocol unit informed the family.
The event, he added, was held in compliance with COVID-19 protocols established by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, noting that not more than 30 people were allowed at the venue.
Tunji added that the seats were arranged according to the number after which the gate to the premises was shut.
He said when the family got the information that the deputy governor had arrived, aides rushed to the gate to usher him into the sitting room only to learn he had gone.
The statement said in part: “There is the need to clarify the believed presence of the Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Mr Rauf Olaniyan, at the 8th day prayer of HE Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the immediate past governor of Oyo State
“The Deputy Governor arrived after the prayer had started. The event was strictly a family affair.
“There was a need to comply with the Covid-19 protocol as established by NCDC – Social distancing, not more than 30 people in a place and seats arranged, accordingly after which the gate was shut.
“No one was aware that the Deputy Governor was coming as neither the advance team nor the protocol informed us.
“By the time we got to the gate to usher him into the sitting room, he had left. Everything happened within a spate of 10 minutes.”
Tunji said efforts were made through a serving senator and a former attorney general to get in touch with Olaniyan.
He maintained that the incident was not meant as a slight to the deputy governor as he could sit in a private sitting room provided by the family.
Tunji, who described the incident as unfortunate, however, apologised to the deputy governor.