In the words of the Ondo State Government, it was indeed a sad day in Ondo, , as Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, died exactly 190 days after he was first flown out of the state to Germany for medication.
The ill governor had only just returned to Nigeria from a three-month medical leave in Germany and proceeded to run the governing of Ondo State from his home in Ibadan.
After a three-month medical leave in Germany, the ill governor returned to Nigeria in September.
He was set to take another leave of absence in December 2023 after President Bola Tinubu ordered him to transfer control to his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, who has been filling in as Acting Governor.
Before his passing, Akeredolu had served as governor of Ondo State for two terms and was also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a past president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA).
The statement by the Ondo government read, “With a heavy heart, the Ondo State Government announces the tragic passing of our beloved Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, CON.
Mr. Governor peacefully departed from this world in the early hours of today, Wednesday, December 27, 2023. 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.
Governor Akeredolu was an extraordinary leader whose unwavering dedication to the state and its people was both commendable and unparalleled. He not only served as the Governor of Ondo State but also emerged as a prominent advocate for the entire Southwest region and the nation. Governor Akeredolu was a courageous leader and an exemplar of integrity. The weight of this loss is truly unbearable.
However, we find solace in the knowledge that Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu lived a purposeful life, devoted to the service of God Almighty.”
RIFT WITH AIYEDATIWA
As his health deteriorated, activists and opposition parties put tremendous pressure on Akeredolu to step down or cede power to his deputy, the current Acting Governor of the state, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, in accordance with the 1999 constitution.
However, after Akeredolu returned from his medical leave in September, there began a rift between him and Aiyedatiwa, as the Ondo State Assembly served an impeachment notice to Aiyedatiwa following allegations of gross misconduct.
The timing of the impeachment had suggested that Akeredolu initiated the process to oust his deputy from office.
Aiyedatiwa, however, prayed the Ondo State High Court to halt the impeachment proceedings against him until the suit was heard and decided, and the request was granted and the impeachment process was stalled.
The Ondo lawmakers then decided to suspend the impeachment proceedings against Aiyedatiwa.
The matter, however, came to a close after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu mediated a peace meeting between the warring factions, urging all sides to sheath their swords as a resolution was reached for both sides to maintain their current positions.
LIFE AND TIMES OF AKEREDOLU
Akeredolu was born on the 21st of July, 1956, in Owo, Ondo State.
He had his primary school education in Akure, while he schooled in Ibadan for his secondary school education.
Akeredolu went on to attend the University Of Ife, now known as the Obafemi Awolowo University, where he studied law and graduated in the year 1977. Following his university education, he was called to Bar a year later in 1978.
He then served as the Attorney General of Ondo State between 1997 and 1999.
Years later, he was made the President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), a post he served in from 2008-2010.
Akeredolu then, in 2016, ran under the platform of the All-Progressives Party for the post of the Ondo State governor and won the election, giving him his first term in office from 2017-2020.
After completing his first term, he ran for a second term and won the election again, in which he ran the state between 2020 and 2023.
Author: Dr Funmi Beckley