4th Abiola Ajimobi Roundtable & Commissioning Of Senator Abiola Ajimobi Resource Center
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PROF. YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON AT THE 4TH ABIOLA AJIMOBI ROUNDTABLE AND COMMISSIONING OF SENATOR ABIOLA AJIMOBI RESOURCE CENTER AT THE INSTITUTE FOR PEACE AND STRATEGIC STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN IN OYO STATE ON THE 16TH OF DECEMBER 2021
Let me begin by saying how very honoured I am to be here to celebrate this very special day with you all. I want to thank the Senator Abiola Ajimobi Foundation and the Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies of the University of Ibadan for the great honour of Chairing this Roundtable and also, commissioning this edifice,
This is a promise delivered that his building which the family of our dear father, the late Senator Ajimobi decided to give as a donation to the Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies. I am told that His Excellency, had started a PhD course here and was on his way to achieving that.
I think that this building that has been donated in his honour is a very important one because it established the kind of person that he was – a man of peace, a bridge-builder and I think that the donation of a building of this sort is particularly important because of what it signifies.
I would like to congratulate the Senator Abiola Ajimobi Foundation, as well as the family on this great achievement and this very important altruistic gift.
This roundtable to mark the 72nd post-humous birthday of Senator Abiola Ajimobi today is a great one indeed. Senator Ajimobi was a remarkable human being, an extraordinarily gifted man, attaining early success in the oil and gas industry, then emerging as an astute politician, Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and two-term Governor of this State for the first time in the history of Oyo State. He was an accomplished public intellectual and administrator per excellence in his own right.
Senator Abiola Ajimobi of blessed memory was an exceptional communicator and a natural bridge builder. We miss his sagacity, his maturity and wisdom especially at this time of such dissonance and conflict. We miss his humour, and his laughter, his ability to find the comical even in the most difficult situations.
He was an exemplary family man; he loved his wife and children. I can never forget a joke he told often about his wife when he would say that “some people said that my wife controls me,” then he would say that “but I became an Executive at a top national oil firm, she was controlling me and I became a Distinguished Senator and then a two-term Governor for the first time in the history of Oyo State.” He would then look at his wife and say, “honey, ma control me lo jare. T’eyan ba ni iyawo t’on control e ti o den she ori re wa ni ko ma control e lo ni o!”
He was in so many ways an exceptional human being and I can tell his jokes repeatedly and have so many of them because of my many interactions with him.
This roundtable conversation focuses on a crucial subject – Election Security and Good Governance in Nigeria. I believe that the lead speaker, Prof. Attahiru Jega and the distinguished panel of discussants are perhaps the best possible intervenors on the subject and we look forward to hearing them.
What I would like to say is that man has not developed a fairer and more just system of establishing governments than that of the government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
History has demonstrated that it is this system, captured in one word, democracy, that guarantees respect for the rights of individuals to choose their leaders. This right of choice, a civil and political right is fundamental, as it separates us, in terms of organization, from animals for whom might confers the right to leadership.
This system of government guarantees the accountability of the elected to the electorate, as the electorate determines in every electoral cycle, by their free choice, whether the mandate given was properly utilized.
The major issue, therefore, is how to ensure that right of free choice is not defeated or corrupted. Once that right of free choice is violated, the basis of democracy and its product, good governance, is undermined.
I am sure some of the conversation today will look at this fundamental point – how can we protect the vote? How do we ensure that every vote counts? How do we protect the government of the people by the people and for the people, and ensure, as Lincoln famously prayed at Gettysburg, that it does not perish from the face of the earth?
My sincere thanks again to all the organisers, especially the Institute of Peace and Strategic Studies and the Senator Abiola Ajimobi Foundation. Again, permit me to welcome you all to the roundtable and enjoy the rest of the afternoon.
God bless you all.