If first impression was anything to run with, then, my first encounter with the late Senator Abiola Ajimobi, a former governor of Oyo State, was utterly obnoxious.
It was not long after he became governor the first term and there was an arrangement he met with political editors of some major national dailies.
The appointment with him was for 7pm on that particular day, but the trip to Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, from Lagos was not as smooth especially, that we all drove in a convoy.
Unfortunately, we arrived in Ibadan at past 8pm, by which time the governor had retired to an unknown quarters.
The message from his aides was that he would see us first thing the next morning before 8am and so, we were delighted to retire for the day too, not even after such a tiring drive to Ibadan.
By 7am the next day, we were all up, expecting to meet His Excellency and return to Lagos, where another governor from a northern state was already waiting to meet us.
It was not until a few minutes to 10am that we realised none of his aides knew his exact location and in spite of their delay tactics, there was a limit to how long more they could hold us down.
At this point, I was livid and told my colleagues I would not continue to wait on a governor no one knew his whereabouts while another from a far flung northern state was waiting for me in Lagos. We all therefore agreed to leave without seeing him.
Although his then Chief of Staff, Professor Adeolu Akande, amongst others intervened and pleaded we waited a little more, our minds were however made up and we left.
I held it against him and resolved never to come any close to him. Indeed, I maintained my distance until after his re-election, when I visited the state again with the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who was on project verification exercise in Southwest.
Curiously, however, it was a different Ajimobi this time. He was totally unpredictable and nice. In fact, he dedicated impossible time to answering my questions as we rode in the same bus all through the project inspection exercise. I had a rather shocking perception of him from that encounter – totally asymmetrical to the first.
Had I stuck to my first impression, I wouldn’t have seen his other pleasant side. I could tell he was a nice fellow, who not only loved life but lived it to the fullest.
Well, death is a debt we all owe and whenever it comes knocking, it would no longer matter whether or not you’re prepared. May God grant him eternal rest, forgive his sins and give his family the fortitude to bear this devastating loss.
Adieu, Senator Abiola Isiaka Ajimobi.