Akeredolu Body Arrives Ondo, Governors, SANs Pay Tributes


The burial activities of the late former governor of Ondo State, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, continued on Wednesday with a special court session and lying-in-state held in Akure.

Akeredolu passed away in Germany on December 27, 2023 following a protracted battle with prostate cancer.

His body arrived in Akure, the Ondo State capital on Wednesday afternoon and taken to the Governor’s Office, Alagbaka, for lying-in-state.

The body of the late Senior Advocate of Nigeria was later taken to the state High Court headquarters in Akure, where a special court session was held in his honour.

The events were attended by the incumbent Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, the Ondo State Chief Judge, Justice Olusegun Odusola; and the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, represented by Chief Olusola Oke (SAN); the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, represented by its chairman and Governor of Kwara State, Mr AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.

Also in attendance were the Ondo State Deputy Governor, Mr Olayide Adelami; the Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr Douye Diri, the Minister of State for Youths Development, Mr Ayo Akinwande; a former governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, among others.

Speaking at the court session, Aiyedatiwa eulogised his predecessor, saying late Akeredolu would be remembered for his efforts in strengthening the judicial system in the state.

Aiyedatiwa said his former boss did well in using the rule of law to fight against crimes while in office.

“We remember with pride today his sense of urgency and intervention and unusual dedication to the cause of access to justice. His support for the multidoor court system, improved delivery of Alternate Dispute Resolution system and welfare of judges and judicial officers, are well documented.

“Shall we forget his drive for necessary and expeditious law making? For records, he, it was as governor, who sponsored the Executive Bill for a law to establish the Ondo State Security Agency and Amotekun Corps, to assist in maintaining law and order in the state.

His government also sponsored a bill for a law to provide for the establishment of Ondo State Security Trust Fund.

“Others include but are not limited to a bill for a law to provide for the establishment of an independent office of the Auditor-General, which provides for the audit of public accounts. There was also the bill for a law to establish the Ondo State Agency for Violence Against Women and a bill to establish the state Public Complaints, Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Commission as well as a bill for a law to regulate the rearing and grazing of livestock and to provide for the establishment of ranches,” Aiyedatiwa said.

At the lying-in-state and commendation service held at the Akure Township Stadium, Aiyedatiwa described his former boss as a true patriot, who always sought justice for the weakest. He added that late Akeredolu was a brilliant, bold, strong man, who was unwavering in his convictions.

The state’s Chief Judge, Justice Olusegun Odusola, described the late former governor as a man of courage.

Odusola said, “ Arakunrin (Akeredolu) was a courageous fighter, who faced the serious security challenges in the state with such ingenious courage that his approach has become a national model.

“He was amazingly down to earth and this great asset is also his major weakness in a society where sycophancy is the order of the day. Whatever he promised to do, he would fight to accomplish. He had a desire to build an ultra-modern facility for the high court and had started the journey but could not to do so partly because of his ill-health but largely because the individual who stood as the eye of the executives in the administration of the judiciary could not interpret that dream.”

Oke, speaking on behalf of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, said, “Governor Akeredolu was a hero. He left behind a great name. He will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved him. His was a life well spent. As is often said, a life well lived is like a powerful work of art, beautifully created and remembered by all. In the words of Benjamin Disraeli, the legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.

“Governor Akeredolu was forthright, truthful, fearless and courageous. He was a fierce defender of the oppressed. He spoke truth to power not minding the consequences, and took sides with the poor, the underdog and the oppressed. He was the voice for the voiceless.”