Aiyedatiwa pays condolence visit to Akeredolu’s Ibadan home

Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has said the name of the late Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu would never be forgotten because his legacies and impacts could be seen and felt across the state and the country.

Governor Aiyedatiwa stated this when he led members of the State Executive Council on a condolence visit to the residence of the late governor in Ibadan, Oyo State, to commiserate with the family, yesterday.

Akeredolu succumbed to death at a German hospital in the early hours of Wednesday from complications arising from prostate cancer.

Aiyedatiwa was inaugurated by Chief Judge of the state, Justice Olusegun Odusola, as the 19th governor of the state at the Cocoa conference hall of the Governor’s Office, Akure.

The new governor described his late principal as a sincere, courageous, selfless and patriotic leader who fought for his people, championed development and touched many lives.

In an emotional tribute, Aiyedatiwa also described the former governor as a caring and compassionate husband, father and grandfather, adding that it was a rare privilege to have served under his tutelage.

Governor Aiyedatiwa reiterated that the demise of his late boss is a great loss to Ondo State, the Southwest region and Nigeria at large, stressing that his struggle for a peaceful, fair and just society is one that can never be forgotten in a hurry.

He noted that his legacies would continue to reverberate in his invaluable contributions to the socio-economic and infrastructural development of Ondo State, the growth of the Anglican Church and the reforms in the legal profession in Nigeria.

Responding on behalf of the Akeredolu’s family, younger brother of the deceased, Pastor Kola Akeredolu, thanked the delegation led by Governor Aiyedatiwa for the thoughtful visit.

Commissioner, others resign.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Infrastructure, Lands and Housing in Ondo state, Raimi Aminu has resigned his appointment.

In a letter made available to newsmen on Friday in Akure, Aminu expressed his sincere appreciation to the former governor and the people of the state for the opportunity given to him to serve in different capacities.

“I write to tender my resignation of my appointment as the commissioner for Infrastructure, Land and Housing with effect from today, December 28, 2023.

“This decision is anchored on my conscience as my leader and boss, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu joined the saint triumphant.

“I sincerely thank our dear Arakunrin and the good people of the state for the opportunity to serve in his cabinet as senior special assistant on Lands and Infrastructure.

“And Special Adviser on Lands, Works and Infrastructure and Commissioner for Infrastructure, Lands and Housing,” he said.

On Wednesday two aides resigned their appointments following the demise of Akeredolu. They are Mr Richard Olatunde, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor (CPS) and Mr. Dare Aragbaye, Special Adviser, Union Matters and Special Duties.

Makinde declares 3-day mourning.

 Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has declared three days of state mourning in honour of the late chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum.

Makinde, vice chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, in a statement said all flags at public offices in Oyo state would be flown at half-mast for three days.

He had, on Wednesday evening, alongside the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Gov. Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman of Kwara State, visited the Ibadan home of the late Akeredolu.

Osinbajo, govs, Reps caucuses, PANDEF, Ngige react.

More messages of condolences and eulogies have continued to pour in for the late governor.

In a personal statement, former vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, described the death as a huge blow.

“I have lost a brother and friend of over 40 years.

“Aketi was bold, courageous, forthright, fair minded, kind and God fearing.

“He firmly believed in our democracy, in Justice and the rule of law. He loved the people of Ondo State and was passionate about their security and economic advancement. We pray that the Almighty God will comfort the family and people of Ondo State on this great loss.”

Progressive Governors’ Forum

The Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) also expressed shock over the death. According to the chairman and Governor of Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodimma, the Forum and, indeed, Nigeria have lost one of its finest brains and an unrepentant defender of democracy and the rule of law.

In a statement he signed in Owerri, Uzodimma regretted that the wishes and expectations of the forum that Governor Akeredolu would pull through his illness have been dashed by his eventual demise.

He noted that Akeredolu’s death had left a void in the national political landscape, and urged Nigerians and the people of Ondo State to find solace in the knowledge that the departed governor would always be remembered for his principles and unwavering commitment to the progress and unity of Nigeria.

PANDEF: His Name’ll remains indelible.

The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), in a statement by its National Chairman, Emmanuel Essien, described Akeredolu as a national public personality of a higher class, whose name will be indelible in the annals of the country’s history and future existence.

 The body acknowledged the late Akeredolu’s standings as a great Nigerian lawyer, jurist, public servant, and politician, amongst other things.

The Forum said it and indeed the entire Nigerian people would eternally remember his forthright views on issues of constitutional law and national importance, particularly while he held sway as President of NBA.

“His critical thoughts on daily affairs and constitutionalism in major ways contributed to the consolidation of our democracy and peaceful coexistence as a people. It is also an interface.

“It is most painful that Rotimi Akerefolu passed on at this time. We convey our condolences to his wife, the children, the Government, and the people of Ondo State, at large, and indeed the Nigerian federation, over the demise of this colossus; a national public personality of a higher class, whose name will be indelible in the annals of our history and future existence.”

Reps’ caucuses

The Southern Caucus of the House of Representatives, under the leadership of Nicholas Mutu, in a statement by its Secretary, Afam Victor Ogene, Aketi as a charismatic personality, who contributed immensely to the development of Nigeria’s legal profession and democracy, with passion, grace and fearlessness.

“He loved his people so passionately that it was never in doubt where he stood on matters that concerned the Yoruba race, the south and his immediate constituents, the Ondo people,” the caucus stated.

Similarly, the Minority caucus of the House, in a statement by Kingsley Chinda, said Akeredolu was a courageous leader, who spoke truth to power. It recalled that prior to the last general elections, he was a major advocate for the return of power to the South during the 2023 presidential election in the spirit of equity and fairness.

Personal loss – Ngige

Former governor of Anambra State and two-time minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said his demise was a huge personal loss to him and the progressive camp.

He lamented that Akeredolu’s death has created a big void in the progressive camp, with the attendant loss of one of the big voices that can speak truth to power in the nation.

In a statement by his media office in Abuja, the former minister said he was shocked and pained by the news of Arakunri Akeredolu’s death.

According to him, Akeredolu transmuted from being his personal lawyer in a client-lawyer relationship to a family friend, to the extent that one of Aketi’s sons married the daughter of his bosom friend, Chief Sir Chris Atuegwu.

He recalled that he was one of the leaders of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) who Akeredolu had sought their advice and support before joining partisan politics and later threw his hat into the ring for his first debut in the Ondo governorship election in 2012, which was unsuccessful.

 “He did not give up. Being a man of great determination, courage and fearlessness, he weathered a very stormy and rancorous gubernatorial primaries of the newly formed All Progressive Congress (APC), laden with political landmines, but navigated all of them and went ahead to win the main election in 2016. In 2020, he contested for re-election, facing similar challenges, and won again.”

Strong voice, fearless commentator – Jimoh Ibrahim

The senator representing Ondo South senatorial district, Dr. Jimoh Ibrahim, said while Ondo State has lost an illustrious son, fearless advocate of unity, equity and fairness and a faithful servant of the people, Nigeria has lost a strong voice.

“It is a monumental loss to Ondo in particular and Nigeria as a whole. A fearless commentator on national affairs is gone.”

He said Akeredolu’s legacy projects dot the state’s landscape and that the greatest honour that can be done to him is to build on the foundation for development that he has laid.

“He was truly accomplished. As a lawyer he distinguished himself. As a politician he was loved and admired,” he said.

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