The hearts of many family members, protégés, mentees, friends, bussiness associates and well-wishers are still filled with grief over the death of former Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN).
His death was a great loss to his family, the people of Ondo State, particularly sons and daughters of Owo and Nigeria as a whole. Akeredolu’s standings as a great Nigerian lawyer, jurist, public servant, and politician, amongst other things profoundly stood him out as exemplar whose accomplishments would be so difficult beat.
He was a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) who became president of the Nigerian Bar Association in 2008. Akeredolu was also a Managing Partner at the law firm of Olujinmi & Akeredolu, which he co-founded with Chief Akin Olujinmi, a former Attorney General and Minister for Justice of Nigeria.
Nigerians will undoubtedly remember his forthright views on issues of constitutional law and national importance, particularly while he held sway as President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). His critical thoughts on daily affairs and constitutionalism in major ways contributed to the consolidation of Nigeria’s democracy and peaceful coexistence as a people.
Of note in his landmark achievements was when he stood fearlessly against the controversial Rural Grazing Area (RUGA) scheme of the past administration. If not for his bold legal step the South-West could have arguably been occupied by some violent and lawless marauders, all in the name of pastoral farming. Nigerians will never stop to reminisce his uncommon virtues, and more importantly appreciating him as voice of the voiceless.
However, beyond funeral sermons and requiems, it is equally important and necessary to immortalise this iconic and enigmatic leader, activist, philanthropist, legal luminary and astute politician, who until his demise, was a well-known personality in the country for his kind and selfless service and generosity to the underdogs.
For the price we owe history, there is need to have compendium of tributes of his life, times and works. I am aware though, that a team is already putting some efforts together in this direction, as it will essentially help to veritably situate Aketi in recent history of Yoruba politics as one of the befitting ways to immortalize him and commend his memory to generations that are unborn to serve as an inspiration to them.
Aketi’s legendary works and milestones have placed South-West, Nigeria, and Africa as a whole at the zenith on a global scale and this empirical fact must not be swept undet the carpet.
Need I say more that Aketi was an influential member of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. And during that time, he showed he was a man on a mission to improve the lives of his Ondo people in particular and Nigerians in general. Aketi phenomenally wowed many Nigerians and positively changed the trajectory of leadership beyond the Sub-Saharan Africa.
His departure is deeply painful. But we take solace in the fact that he lived and died well. He dedicated his life to serving his people and country. We are especially proud that the former governor lived an exemplary life worthy of emulation.
Although, we cannot but grief over the death of this public spirited community man, we are sure that Aketi will long be remembered as a diligent, humble, patriotic, honest and community organizer. He was a brilliant technocrat who discharged his responsibilities to humanity with finesse.
I commiserate with his family, friends and associates, the people and government of Ondo and Nigerians in general, and pray God to give us all the fortitude to bear this great loss. While I pray for the repose of his soul, I also advice his wife, Her Excellency, Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu and the children not to mourn his departure but to celebrate a foremost politician with enviable depth and patriotism.
May the soul of this great man rest in perfect peace.
*Emmanuel Ajibulu is a native of Ikaramu Akoko (Akoko North-West LG, Ondo State) He is an infoprenuer, publisher of veracitydesk.com.ng, writer, communication consultant and social media influencer, firstname.lastname@example.org*