Profiles of new governors-elect (5): Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo State) – APC


Senator Abiola Ajimobi was born to the renowned Ajimobi Family of Ibadan on December 16, 1949. Abiola Adeyemi Ajimobi had his elementary education at St. Patrick, Abebi, ICC Primary School, Aperin and later attended Lagelu Grammar School for his secondary education. Whilst in school, Abiola was very active in sports. He was the table tennis captain, football captain and games prefect. In athletics, he was the second fastest student and therefore manned 1st leg for relay races and second fastest in 100- and 200- meters races. As a result of his all-rounder nature, he was nicknamed Archipelago. He completed his secondary school education in flying colours. He later proceeded to the United States of America where he attended the State University New York, in Buffalo, New York and the Governor’s State University, Park Forest, Illinois. He graduated with B.Sc (Honors) in Business Administration and Finance. He also obtained his Masters of Science (MBA) degree in Operations Research and Marketing. As a result of his academic credentials and excellent performance at the New York Insurance examinations, he was engaged as the first Nigerian state certified underwriter by Equitable Life Assurance Corporation, which was the second largest insurance company in America.

Abiola Adeyemi Ajimobi returned to Nigeria in 1977 and joined the management and industrial consulting firm as a senior consultant. He thereafter worked briefly with Modulor Group as the Finance and Admin Controller before joining Nestle Foods Plc as the Operations Controller and later as Marketing Controller. In 1979, Abiola Adeyemi Ajimobi joined the National Oil and Chemical Marketing Company as the consumer products manager. He was the youngest manager to occupy the position at that time.

His performance quickly earned him promotion to the level of divisional manager within a year and a half, thus becoming the youngest divisional manager to be appointed. For his star performance, and visibility in the company, he was promoted again quickly promoted to head a newly created corporate credit division reporting directly to the managing director. His successful performance made the division an example for the entire company. As a top flyer in the company and based on his problem solving ability, he was deployed to Ibadan Business District as the Area Manager to ensure the repositioning of the entire company activities in the area. Under his management, the company and the district experienced landmark achievements in modern retail network resulting in the company’s first 3 in 1 largest retail outlet in Nigeria and the district office built during his tenure still stands out today in Ibadan. In 1987, based on a worldwide international strategic positioning of the lubricants business desired by Shell International Oil Company, Abiola Adeyemi Ajimobi was appointed the lubricants manager, the most important product portfolio of the company. He successfully built a new lubricant division which became the most profitable business of the company and the largest contributor to the corporate profit.

Having completed the strategic repositioning of the lubricants department, Abiola Adeyemi Ajimobi was moved to manage another troubled business arm-the aviation department. By 1993, Abiola Ajimobi had enjoyed successful and broad exposure in virtually all the marketing arms of the company and obviously destined for the top. As part of the grooming programme, he was posted on international assignment to Shell International Storage Company of Togo, serving the whole of West Africa as Chief Executive. He also was the Operations Director of Shell Marketing Company in Togo covering some West African countries. He returned to Nigeria in 1995 and was appointed in 1996 as oil sales manager in 1998. He was appointed to the board of the company as Executive director- Marketing, a position he held before his appointment on February 2001, as the managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the National Oil and Chemical Marketing Company. As managing director he substantially improved the profitability of the company and the shareholders fortune.

In 2003, he voluntarily retired after 26 years of meritorious service in the oil industry. In his successful professional career spanning over three decades, Abiola Ajimobi was smart, brilliant, quick witted, and positively impacted on the businesses and people he interacted with. In 2003, he became the Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was a principal officer in the Senate as the  Deputy Minority leader of the Senate. During his senate days, precisely in 2005, he established the first and the largest free vocational training centre, in Oyo State, offering training in computer engineering, computer operations, telephone engineering, fashion designing, hair dressing, tie and dye. The centre has turned out over 15,000 students to date that have gained employments in banks and many industries in Nigeria. The centre has been recognized and certified both as a partner and training center by the ITF of the Federal Government. In 2007, he contested the Oyo state gubernatorial election on the platform of the ANPP and lost.

He has been married to Mrs. Florence Ajimobi for about 30 years and the union is blessed with five lovely children: Abisola, Abimbola, Ajibola, Abolaji and Ajijola. Senator Abiola Ajimobi won the gubernatorial election of Oyo State on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and was sworn into office on May 2011.

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