By BASHIR ADEFAKA
The Governir of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), is dead.
Popularly called ‘talk-and-do’ and ‘mr. performer’ by virtue of his achievements that were landmarks in the history of contemporary politics and administration in Ondo State, South West and Nigeria, memory of Akeredolu will not be wished away in a hurry, this newspaper reports as mixed reactions greet news of his death.
The Ondo State governor died on Wednesday December 26, 2023 at the age of 67.
According to reports, Akeredolu passed away around 2 am Wednesday while undergoing treatment, after battling prostate cancer and leukemia, two conditions that had kept him being unable to move for several months.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) won his re-election as the Ondo State governor in October 2020 and was sworn in for a second term in office in February 2021.
After spending three months on medical vacation abroad, the 67-year-old politician came back to Nigeria in September 2023 and settled in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State.
On Wednesday, December 13, proceeded on another medical leave before leaving, he had transmitted a letter to the Ondo State House of Assembly with a view to formally transferring power to the Deputy Governor, Sir Lucky Aiyedatiwa, who was thus pronounced the Acting Governor.
Aiyedatiwa has since assumed the responsibilities of the governor in acting capacity following the legislative pronouncement.
Following his return to Nigeria in September, Akeredolu stayed in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. He tried to govern the state from there, leading to public outrage.
On July 9, Akeredolu’s wife, Betty announced the suspension of activities lined up to celebrate her 70th birthday.
The Ondo first lady announced the suspension of the activities in a series of X posts. This was after questions were raised over plans to have a fanfare despite her husband’s ill-health.
Betty, in a statement via her X handle, said, “Hello Family and Friends. This is to inform you that all activities lined up to mark my 70th birthday are hereby suspended till further notice due to unforeseen circumstances beyond my control.
“Sorry for any inconvenience caused by this development.
“Nevertheless, be assured that it will be celebrated in style upon my return. Thank you for your understanding. I remain Arabinrin a.k.a Ada Owere I,” she added.