BREAKING: Nation Mourns the Passing of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu

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In a somber turn of events, the nation mourns the loss of a prominent figure, Governor Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and ex-Attorney General of Ondo State. The 67-year-old, affectionately known as Aketi, served as a second-term governor before his untimely death, leaving a legacy of leadership and unwavering convictions.

Aketi’s multifaceted career saw him wear many hats, earning him recognition as a dogged leader with strong personal convictions. Until his passing, he chaired the Southern Governors’ Forum, representing the 17 states in Southern Nigeria, and led his South-West colleagues in championing crucial reforms, particularly in the realm of security. Notably, he played a pivotal role in establishing the South-West Security Network, codenamed Amotekun.

A fearless and vocal advocate against injustice and oppression, Aketi stood against herdsmen attacks on farmers and openly criticized the administration of then President Muhammadu Buhari, despite both being members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). He consistently sided with the people, holding the federal government accountable for its responsibilities, notably during an attack on a Catholic church in his hometown of Owo.

Aketi, an ally of President Bola Tinubu, passionately advocated for state police and restructuring, principles he upheld until his last breath. He secured re-election as Ondo State governor in October 2020 and was sworn in for a second term in February 2021. However, his second term was marred by controversies and health battles that led to his medical treatment abroad in June.

As his health deteriorated, Aketi faced mounting pressure from opposition parties and activists to resign or hand over power to his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, in accordance with the 1999 constitution. Tensions escalated between the governor’s loyalists in the state House of Assembly and Aiyedatiwa, prompting the intervention of President Bola Tinubu. Eventually, Aketi transmitted power to Aiyedatiwa in early December when he embarked on another medical leave to Germany, marking his second international medical journey in 2023.

Born on July 21, 1956, in Owo, Ondo State, to the late Rev. J. O Ola Akeredolu and Lady Evang. Grace Akeredolu, Aketi’s early education began at Government School, Owo, followed by Aquainas College Akure and Loyola College, Ibadan. He furthered his studies at the University of Ife (Obafemi Awolowo University), earning an LLB degree in 1977 and subsequently completing his B.L at the Nigerian Law School in 1978.

A leader since his university days, Aketi served as the elected Vice President of the student body during 1975/76, demonstrating a commitment to service, fame, and greatness. His tenure as a leader at the University of Ife was marked by a focus on issues, robust debates, and constructive engagements, rallying against inequality, injustice, corruption, arbitrariness, and recklessness.

Beyond his legal career, Aketi devoted himself to mentorship and social service, participating in various associations and serving as a patron to several organizations, including the Nigerian Law Society, Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN), and the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, among others.

Aketi is survived by his wife, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, four children, and numerous grandchildren. The nation mourns the passing of a stalwart leader, remembering Aketi’s indelible mark on Nigerian governance and his unwavering commitment to justice, accountability, and the welfare of the people.

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