Abiodun, Oyebanji mourn Akeredolu, says death tragic, and a monumental loss

Ogunsakin Mustapha
7 Min Read
Late Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, former Ondo State Governor.

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, and his Ekiti counterpart, Biodun Oyebanji on Wednesday mourn the death of their Ondo State colleague, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, describing his death as tragic and a monumental loss.

Akeredolu succumbed to leukaemia in Lagos on Wednesday. He was 67.

In his condolence message to the acting Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, the family of the deceased and Ondo people, Prince Abiodun described Akeredolu, who until his death was the chairman of the South West Governors Forum, as a a dogged fighter throughout his life time.

According to him, Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), stood for equity and fairness in the run up to the 2023 presidential election when he was the chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum.

Prince Abiodun said AK ere do oh was a visionary leader with an unwavering dedication to his people and social justice.

Abiodun said: “Akeredolu made an indelible mark on Nigerian politics. From his tenure as the chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association to his role as the chairman of the South West Governors Forum, he continuously championed the cause of justice and the upliftment of his people.

“Known for his tireless efforts to improve the lives of Ondo citizens, Akeredolu spearheaded major initiatives that brought about positive change. Under his leadership, the state witnessed significant advancements in healthcare, infrastructure, and education. His commitment to sustainable development earned him the respect and admiration of colleagues and citizens alike.

“As the nation mourns the loss of a formidable leader, Rotimi Akeredolu’s memory will continue to serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for generations to come. His legacy of compassion, justice, and progress will endure, forever reminding Nigerians of the transformative power of dedicated leadership.

“In this time of immense grief, the people of Ondo State must unite, draw strength from their cherished memories of their late governor and resolve to honour his legacy by building upon the foundations he laid, ensuring that his vision for a better and brighter future for Ondo State lives on.”

Governor, Oyebanji, also expressed his condolences on the death of his Ondo State counterpar describing it as a monumental loss to the Yoruba nation and the country at large. 

Oyebanji in a statement on Wednesday by his Special Adviser on Media, Yinka Oyebode, said he was devastated by the news of the death of the Ondo State Governor, who was once President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). 

The Governor said his administration and the entire people of Ekiti State identify with the government and people of Ondo State at this critical period of mourning of the chief executive of the Sunshine State.

Oyebanji described Akeredolu as a legal giant and scholar, an administrator par excellence, a consummate and courageous politician who spoke truth to power till he breathed his last. 

He said the late Governor made a great difference in the lives of his people and the nation through a combination of purposeful leadership and commitment to excellent service delivery. 

He regretted that Akeredolu’s death has robbed the country of a committed statesman who was interested in and was irrevocably committed to the development of his state and the country.

“This is indeed a sad day. I have lost a senior brother, a friend of our dear state, a dogged fighter  and a visionary leader” Governor Oyebanji said. 

Oyebanji further described Akeredolu as a man of excellence, class, candour who was imbued with uncommon brilliance which he brought to bear in the day-to-day administration of Ondo State and has been widely acknowledged as a major agent of transformation of the State.

He noted that Akeredolu’s death is also a painful loss to the Southwest Governors’ Forum and the Southern Governors’ Forum both of which the deceased chaired and used as platforms to enrich governance and standard of living of citizens.

According to him, Akeredolu advocated for the entrenchment of democracy and  good governance to the best of his ability using the platforms of politics and legal profession.

Oyebanji said Akeredolu has left legacies that can never be obliterated as a lawyer, Attorney General of old Ondo State, President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Governor of Ondo State, Chairman of Southwest Governors’ Forum, Chairman of Southern Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Chancellor, Diocese of Owo, the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, among others.

He prayed God to grant the wife of the deceased, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, the children, friends and associates, the Owo community and the entire citizens of Ondo State the fortitude to bear the loss.

“On behalf of the Government and people of Ekiti State, I extend our condolences to Arakunrin Akeredolu’s immediate family, the Owo community and the good people of Ondo State.

Biography

Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu CON SAN was born on July 21, 1956, in Owo to Reverend J. Ola Akeredolu and Lady Evangelist Grace B. Akeredolu. His educational journey started in a government school in Owo, followed by Aquinas College, Akure, Loyola College, Ibadan, and Ayetoro High School for his secondary and Higher School Certificate education. He pursued law at the University of Ife, graduating in 1977.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), he served as the President of the Nigerian Bar Association between 2008 and 2010. He was a managing partner at Olujinmi & Akeredolu law firm.

 In 2009, he faced corruption allegations within the Bar Association, which were later reviewed and dropped.

 Akeredolu emerged as the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate for Ondo State governorship in 2012, ultimately winning the election in 2016. He was inaugurated as Ondo State governor on February 24, 2017. In 2020, Akeredolu secured the APC candidature for a second term, and he won re-election, defeating opposition candidates. He died of leukemia on Wednesday, 27th Wednesday, 2023.

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