The sad news of the death of Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, broke on December 27, 2023. The 67-year-old governor had been battling with prostate cancer for a long time and passed away while receiving treatment. Akeredolu, also known as Aketi, was a prominent figure in Nigerian politics. He was a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and a former Attorney General of Ondo State.

The announcement of his death was made by the state’s Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju. In a statement, she revealed that Governor Akeredolu peacefully departed from this world in the early hours of Wednesday. He had been in Germany for medical treatment and succumbed to complications arising from his protracted battle with prostate cancer.

A letter has been sent to President Bola Tinubu to inform him of Akeredolu’s passing. The family and the state government will release further details regarding the funeral arrangements.

Aketi was known as a fearless leader who stood up for his convictions. He was the Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum, which consisted of governors from the 17 states in Southern Nigeria. He was also the chairman of the six governors in the South-West region, where he championed various reforms, particularly in the area of security. One of his significant achievements was the establishment of the South-West Security Network, codenamed Amotekun.

He was vocal against injustice, oppression, and the herdsmen attacks on farmers. Despite being a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), he was critical of then President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. He fearlessly held the Federal Government accountable for its responsibility to protect the people.

Aketi was also an ally of President Bola Tinubu and advocated for state police and restructuring. These were two convictions he passionately advocated for until his death.

The governor’s second term in office was marred by controversy and health issues. He won re-election in October 2020 but had to be flown abroad for medical treatment in June. After returning to Nigeria in September, his health deteriorated, and there were calls for him to resign or hand over power to his deputy in accordance with the constitution. Eventually, he transferred power to his deputy in December when he went on another medical leave to Germany.

Akeredolu’s journey to becoming a prominent lawyer and politician started in Owo, Ondo State. He attended various schools, including Government School in Owo, Aquainas College in Akure, and Loyola College in Ibadan. He obtained his LLB degree from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) and his B.L from the Nigerian Law School.

Aside from his successful legal career, Akeredolu dedicated his life to mentorship and social service. He was involved in various associations and organizations, including the Oyo State Football Association, the Nigerian Red Cross Society, and the Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN).

Akeredolu was married to Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu and had four children and many grandchildren.

The passing of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu is a significant loss to the people of Ondo State and Nigerian politics as a whole. He will be remembered for his fearlessness, unwavering convictions, and dedication to serving his people.

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