Breaking news: Abiola Ajimobi, perhaps the most colourful — and most formidable — talker of his political generation, is done talking!
Now howzat, to throw in that cricket-speak? Would Oyo politics ever be the same, without the lean, mean, colourful and electric Ajimobi-jive?
Is this some modern-day political Pauline conversation? Or some political end-time in Oyo State, where the Ajimobi sharp tongue had ruled the roost, these last eight years, where the man with class and dash held gubernatorial court; and would allow no one — not when he had his tongue! — to stand between him and the arduous task of building a modern Oyo State?
Or just, the mood of Ecclesiastics 3 in the Bible, which pronounces a time for everything — in this case, for Ajimobi, a time to speak and a time to be mute?
Changing times! Changing fortunes! Changing moods!
Yet, you can’t be but be impressed by the context of the Ajimobi no-more-jiving declaration which, at least in Hardball’s opinion, suggests commendable statesmanship.
On Sunday September 28, Ajimobi was among 95 honorees at the Catholic St. Mary’s Cathedral, Oke Padre, Ibadan. Asked to assess Governor Seyi Makinde, his PDP successor, across party lines, the former governor said the virtual impossible: “Yes, I have done eight years of talking; now it is time for me to keep silent and allow the other man to do his job.”
Wise, deep and statesmanlike — particularly as the Makinde camp appears never passing up an opportunity to rubbish the old czar, as part of its own power-entry strategy. Ajimobi was indeed a flamboyant, no-nonsense gubernatorial czar, whose sharp tongue never suffered fools gladly.
But perhaps Ajimobi himself was changing tack, a form of silence is golden — and damning — strategy: to confront all post-gubernatorial barbs with loud and deafening silence.
Still, before the silent treatment (?), the old tiger appeared to have let go some valedictory, self-lifting music: “I feel really elated, I feel happy, very honoured,” he declared of the Catholic honour, “especially when you are being honoured by the people that we serve and the people that serve God. When you are recognized by clerics, men of God, it is the best honour you can get.”
Irrespective of whatever partisan foes’ yarn?
Why does this remind Hardball of King Sunny Ade’s Let Them Say musical hit?
Still, a mute Ajimobi? Ajimobi done talking? Hardball can’t quite wrap his hands around it! The Oyo political tapestry would be all the poorer for it! The most cutting — and caustic — tongue of his political generation is pushing his democratic right to be mute!
But golden advice from Hardball: the Makinde camp had better not push their luck too far — or the cutting, raking tongue might just be back!