Full Text: Aiyedatiwa delivers speech at commendation service for late Akeredolu

February 21, 2024

6.3 min readCategories: News

 

Your Excellency President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR represented by the Hon. Minister for Finance & Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Mr. Olawale Edun,

Your Excellencies Governors of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, ably led by the Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq,

Your Excellency the Deputy Governor of Ondo State,

The Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, Rt Hon. Olamide Oladiji,

The Chief Justice of Ondo State,

Your Excellencies, former Governors and Deputy Governors,

My lord Bishops,

Representatives of Kabiyesis,

People of Ondo State,

Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen.

With a heavy heart but full of thanksgiving, we welcome you all to Ondo State – the sunshine state, the land of the indomitable people – the home of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, born 21st July 1956 and died 26th December, 2023. He was Governor from February 24th 2017 until 26th December, 2023 when he went into a deep sleep and never came back to us.

2. Indeed, there can be no doubt that what we are celebrating today is the life of a true patriot that was well spent. Though solemn but resounding, we are here in deference to a life of character, a life of conscience and true service.

3. From generation to generation, the true meaning of life well spent has always been about the impacts of man’s life on human civilisation. Perhaps this is the reason philosophers say the greatness of a man consists in the indelible marks made upon his world during his lifetimes.

4. This is true and perhaps truer about our late statesman Oluwarotimi Akeredolu. This must be the reason the great British philosopher Samuel Butler says to be dead is to be forgotten by men. He says those who are not forgotten are not dead, for their good memories live forever in the hearts of men.

5. And yet in the words of the immortal sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo a man must make his life worth a value or his journey to this world is meaningless. I quote him “When you were born, you cried, and the world rejoiced. Live your live in such a manner that when you die the world cries and you rejoice”.

6. Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, there is a sense in which Aketi’s life tells a riveting story of how sacrifice and heroism can help foster the course of history.

7. I remember how this great man laying still here before us now took an uninsured risk in service of a greater goal for his people.
This was at the heat of the avoidable farmers – herders/kidnapping and other security challenges in our country. I am sure you remember his indomitable interventions when it was tough to speak loud.

8. He, without fear took an unusual sacrifice that many considered a suicide mission. He raised his voice high to the roof to speak truth to power. He condemned inequality, complacency, divisiveness and double standards. He asked for the supremacy of rule of law. He asked for fairness, love and true nationalism. He faced the troubling issues of the times with the candour of a statesman. He not only condemned indolence of thought, he proffered solutions that guaranteed peace. He not only talked, he walked his talk. He advocated for a new thinking, a new action and a new direction.

9. He took these risks against bigger powers whose might is determinate, finite and final. He took a great risk at the peak of his reelection attempt.

10. I can as well remind you of yet another heroic deed of the late Oluwarotimi Akeredolu. How can we forget his clear posture and position on the very constitutional matter of true federalism. I remember till today, the bellow of his voice, as we ruminate in the quiet chamber of his quarters, on the need and strategies for survival and self-preservation for the Yoruba people of Nigeria. He said and I quote “How can we claim the audacity of leadership if we fail the litmus test of protecting the people when adversary, persecution, humiliation and death come? We will not be worth our salt if we betray our oaths of office and natural commission of leadership for which we are known!”

11. I believe this, together with similar war cry by his colleague Governors of the SouthWestern States of Nigeria led to the establishment of the Southwest States Security Network code named Amotekun.

12. This, in my view, is the type of leadership our nation needs today, from the family unit, even to the highest level in the land. We need men who will look neither left nor right but gaze straight ahead to sacrifice their personal comfort for the greater good of majority.

13. We will never forget the life changing interventions you used the power of government to bring to the people of Ondo State. We remember and still benefit from your industrialisation efforts, your infrastructure projects, your intervention in education, health and human capital development. We remember your vision, your laughter, your warmth and firmness. We remember your zeal and compassion for the vulnerable. Most importantly we will continue to remember forever, your integrity, character and faith.
14. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, you were a true commander- visionary in thinking, focused in execution and dedicated in sustenance. You were a true patriot. You were loyal to friendship, shared beliefs and justice for the weakest.

15. Aketi, you came, you served and you left great marks in the sand of times. And as we gather here today to pay our respect to the gone leader, I ask you to look at the remains of the man who asked not what Ondo State can do for him but what he could do for Ondo State.

16. Ondo state, look ahead of you, there lies the remains of our father, our leader and pathfinder Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, a true patriot of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

17. Here lies the remains of our Governor, who led us from the front and took us across many rivers until he crossed the last river from where he could not return.

18. Here lies the remains of a fighter, an all-time general, who fought and won for justice, liberty, prosperity, rule of law, human rights, good governance and most importantly Character and Courage.

19. Here lies Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, the main issue of conscience in the dark days of trouble for the nation. Here lies the man who was the perfect representation of the true spirit of our state and its people. Brilliant, bold, strong and unwavering in his convictions.

20. To the Akeredolu family, we thank you for giving us a great gift of Aketi eternal. To Owo, thank you for giving us a man of honour and culture.
To the legal profession, thank you for nurturing and producing a mind of learning and culture.

21. Our particular condolences to his wife, our dear mother, Betty Anyanwu – Akeredolu, Children – Rotimi jnr , Teni, Yejide and Babajide as well as Oga’s brothers and sisters. We feel your grief and loss. But thank you still. Thank you for giving Ondo State and Nigeria your best. Thank you, for you offered him, an ordinary man who did extra ordinary things in our lives. Thank you, for providing the warmth, love and confidence that helped him even in the great battle against sickness and death.

22. On behalf of the Ondo State State Government which he led heroically till the end and which I now have the privilege to lead, still carrying his flag, I thank Governor Akeredolu for spearheading a new Ondo State.

23. May the gentle soul of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu rest in perfect peace.

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About the Author: Yetunde Ogunmola

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