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Ondo Gov, Rotimi Akeredolu, Dies After Long Health Battle

Akeredolu, 67, died on Wednesday while receiving treatment for protracted prostate cancer.


Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, died on December 27, 2023 after a long health battle

 

Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, is dead, Channels Television has learnt.

The governor, aged 67, died on Wednesday morning after a prolonged health battle.

Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), ex-president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and ex-Attorney General of Ondo State, was a second-term governor before his death.

The state’s Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, announced the governor’s death in a statement.

“Mr. Governor peacefully departed from this world in the early hours of today, Wednesday, December 27, 2023,” she wrote.

“This tragedy has left behind a profound void in our hearts. Governor Akeredolu answered the eternal call while receiving medical treatment in Germany. He succumbed to complications arising from protracted prostate cancer.”

Ademola-Olateju said a letter has been sent to President Bola Tinubu to inform him of Akeredolu’s passing, adding that the family and the state government will release further details regarding the funeral arrangements.

 

A file photo of Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.
A file photo of Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.

A Fearless Crusader

Aketi, as he was fondly called by friends and admirers, wore many hats and was acknowledged by many of his contemporaries as a dogged leader with unbending personal convictions. Until his death, he was the Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum, a body with governors of the 17 states in Southern Nigeria as members. Akeredolu also led his other five colleagues in the South-West as chairman, championing many reforms, especially in the area of security, prominent among which was the establishment of the South-West Security Network codenamed Amotekun.

Aketi was unpretentious, unpatronising and vocal against injustice, oppression and subjugation of all kinds. He was a voice against herdsmen attacks on farmers, and one of the unswerving critics of the administration of then President Muhammadu Buhari, despite that they belonged to the same ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

 

File photo of ex-President Muhammadu Buhari and Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu

 

Fearless, Aketi stood for his deepest convictions and didn’t mind walking alone, far away from the bandwagon. He went for the jugular of the Federal Government, always siding with the people and holding the Federal Government to account for its core responsibility of protecting the people, especially during an attack on a Catholic church in Owo, his hometown.

 

Gov Rotimi Akeredolu and wife during a funeral service for victims of the Owo attack

 

Aketi, an ally of President Bola Tinubu, was an advocate of state police and restructuring, two convictions he trumpeted till he breathed his last.

 

FILES: APC National Leader, Bola Tinubu, with Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in Akure, the Ondo State capital on September 5, 2020.

Health Battle & Controversy

Aketi won his re-election as Ondo State governor in October 2020 and was sworn in for a second term in office in February 2021. However, his second term was marred with controversy and a health battle.

The governor had to be flown abroad for treatment for his medical condition in June. He had returned to Nigeria in September after months overseas but stayed in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

 

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu en route to Nigeria on Thursday, September 7, 2023. (Photo: Twitter/@floondo)

 

As his health worsened, Akeredolu was under intense pressure from opposition parties and activists to resign or hand over power to his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, in line with the 1999 constitution.

 

COMBO: Photo of (L) Rotimi Akeredolu and (R) Lucky Aiyedatiwa.

 

Also, the governor’s loyalists in the state House of Assembly were at loggerheads with Aiyedatiwa attracting President Bola Tinubu’s intervention.

Eventually, the governor transmitted power to Aiyedatiwa early December when he embarked on another medical leave to Germany, the second in 2023.

The Making Of An Outspoken Lawyer, Politician

Akeredolu was born on 21st July 1956 in Owo, Ondo State to the Late Rev. J. O Ola Akeredolu of Owo and Lady Evang. Grace Akeredolu of Igbotu Ese Odo Government Area of Ondo State.

 

 

The precocious Aketi started his primary school education at Government School, Owo, before proceeding to the famous Aquainas College Akure in 1968.

He later proceeded to the prestigious Loyola College, Ibadan in 1969 to complete his secondary school education. He also attended Comprehensive High School Ayetoro for his higher Secondary School Certificate.

Akerdolu was admitted into the University of Ife now Obafemi Awolowo University in 1974 popularly known as Oba Awon University. He obtained his LLB degree in 1977 and proceeded to the Nigerian Law School for his B.L in 1978.

Apart from his illustrious ancestry and cosmopolitan upbringing, a peep into his tenure as elected Vice President 1975/76, of the student University days at the famous and prestigious University Of Ife now (Obafemi Awolowo University) shows the architecture of service, fame and greatness in the making.

As a leader of the Students Union at Ife, Aketi helped to engineer a leadership focused on issues, robust debates and constructive engagements. He encouraged a genuine mobilisation of mass consciousness against inequality, injustice, corruption, arbitrariness and recklessness.

Life and Family

A devoted Christian with a warm and accommodating heart for people of other faiths, Akeredolu, in addition to a distinguished and Spartan career of legal practice, also donated his lifetime to a career of mentorship and social service.

He was a member, Oyo State Football association, 1992-1994, an associate Member, Nigerian Red Cross Society, Oyo State Branch. He also accepted and became the Patron, The Nigerian Law Society, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, Patron, Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN), Patron The law society, Faculty of Law, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko. He was also the Patron, Sports Writers association of Nigeria, Oyo State branch.

Aketi was married to Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu and blessed with four children and many grandchildren.