Tinubu pays tribute to Akeredolu, says he was a soulmate

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President Bola Tinubu has mourned Rotimi Akeredolu, the late governor of Ondo state.

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Akeredolu succumbed to leukaemia and prostate cancer in the early hours of Wednesday. He died at 67.

In a statement, Tinubu described Akeredolu as a man who moved Nigeria towards equity, fairness and justice.

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The president said the late governor “advocated against every form of injustice in our country through the instrumentality of the law as a senior advocate, attorney general of his beloved state, president of the Nigerian Bar Association, and governor of Ondo state”.

“I am with the difficult job of singing a dirge for Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, my beloved brother, confidant, political soulmate and governor of Ondo State. I cannot fairly capture in words Rotimi’s towering figure and his human essence,” the statement reads.

“In a challenging moment of our statehood when marauding agents of darkness spread their tentacles across our country, Rotimi was a strong voice in the wilderness calling us to rethink our security architecture so we can have a more secure nation. His unrelenting advocacy led to the birth of the local police in the South West.

“Rotimi was a man of ideas and action. While he was with us, he taught us the power of action and service. In Ondo State where he had the honour to serve as the Governor in the last 6 years, he served his people with absolute loyalty, dedication and forthrightness.

“His footprints dot the entire landscape in the hundreds of kilometres of roads he built, the many schools he built and the healthcare facilities that he provided.

“During the dark hours when marauding agents of darkness visited the state and killed defenceless citizens where 40 worshippers of the Catholic Church of Owo were killed on June 5, 2022, Rotimi’s leadership qualities as a true statesman and compassionate leader radiated brightly to the world.

“He was a mourner-in-chief who guided his people through an agonising period. Today, I mourn a fighter and fearless defender of truth and the masses.”

Tinubu recalled that he had asked Akeredolu to contest for the governorship position of Ondo in 2012, adding that even though he did not make it in the first attempt, his determination to serve his people never diminished.

“My personal journey with Rotimi started as joint members of the progressive family. We fought many battles together to restore progressive governance in the South West, Edo State and Nigeria as a whole,” the president said.

“During this uncertain period, Rotimi was resolute and unflinching. He showed uncommon courage as a member of our legal team in our battles to reclaim our stolen mandates in Ekiti, Ondo, Edo and Osun States. A gallant lawyer and one of the finest in the legal profession.

“Rotimi has played his role well and left us untimely. We will never see his likes again. Let me tell the people of Ondo State that I am grieving with you. We will honour Rotimi’s memory and make sure his legacy of service is never forgotten.

“In my grief and sadness, I have telephoned his wife, Betty, and Acting Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa to commiserate with them and urge them to take heart over this national tragedy.

“Governor Akeredolu was not just a friend, ally and associate, he was a brother and soulmate. His death is a blow to our governing APC and the progressive family as we are diminished by it. I hope that his successor Aiyedatiwa will hold steadfast to the vision of governance left by this towering political leader.”

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