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Akeredolu’s burial: Ondo declares Thursday, Friday holidays

By Adedotun Ajayi & Jimoh Ahmed, Owo

Ondo State Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has declared February, Thursday 22 and Friday 23, 2024, public holidays in the State.

The governor said this is to honour the former Governor of the State, late Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu.

According to a statement released by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Prince Ebenezer Adeniyan, the two work-free days will allow the people of the State to participate in the burial activities of the former Governor.

Meanwhile, the Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, with other dignitaries on Tuesday joined the order of commendation service for his late predecessor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, as part of the activities marking the burial ceremony, at the All Saints Church, Jericho, Ibadan.

The atmosphere was heavy with emotion as the body of the late governor arrived at the church, setting a somber tone for the proceedings.

Those in attendance from the late Governor’s family are; his wife, Betty Anyanwu Akeredolu, Justice Bolaji Olajuwon, Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu Jnr Babajide Akeredolu, Lady Ifeoma Atuegwu, Dr Teniola Akeredolu-Micheals and Pastor Kola Akeredolu.

Others in attendance is the Deputy Governor of Ondo state, Dr. Olayide Adelami, former governor of Ekiti state, Kayode Fayemi, former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Sen. Iyiola Omisore, Speaker House of Assembly Ondo State,  Olamide Oladiji, APC Chairman, Ondo State, Ade Adetimehin and top government functionaries.

The service commenced with first Bible reading by Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu Jr, the deceased’s first son, from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

In his exhortation titled “The Blessings of Death,” delivered by the Most Reverend J.O. Akinfenwa, making emphasis from St. John 11 vs 25, attendees were reminded of the inevitability of death and the need to appreciate the blessings it brings.

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Reverend Akinfenwa emphasized that death, while marking the end of physical pain, also signifies the beginning of eternal life and resurrection. He urged mourners to find solace in the knowledge that the late Akeredolu has transitioned to a place of eternal happiness.

Moreover, Reverend Akinfenwa drew attention to the prevailing economic challenges facing Nigerians, particularly the soaring prices of food items, which have left many feeling angry and hungry.

He pleaded with the government to address these issues promptly, warning of potential social unrest if left unattended to.

Representing Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Mrs. Olubamiwo Adeosun extended heartfelt condolences to the grieving family.

Governor Makinde expressed his earnest prayers for the eternal preservation of the deceased’s legacy. Acknowledging the inevitability of death, he prayed for divine strength upon the family to navigate through their bereavement with fortitude and resilience.

Additionally, members of the Loyola College Ibadan alumni association, where the late governor completed his secondary education, paid homage to him with the school anthem, stressing the profound impact he had on his alma mater.

As the community mourns the loss of a beloved leader, the legacy of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu lives on, remembered for his dedication to public service and his enduring commitment to the welfare of the people.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Oyo State Judiciary alongside the Nigeria Bar Association oragnised a court session in honour of Akeredolu, just as a service of songs and tribute night was also held in honour of the late governor in Ibadan.

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Also, as part of burial activities in honour of late Akeredolu, there will a Special Court Session in Akure by 10am, followed by Lying in State and Commendation Service at Akure Township Stadium by 1pm, while Evening of Tributes at St Andrews Church, Imola Street, Owo will come up between 4pm – 7pm.

There will also be Ajabue traditional dance on Wednesday in Owo, his hometown.  Ajabue, a part of Owo tradition during the demise of elderly people and eminent sons and daughters of Owo involves dancing and procession round the ancient town by family members, relatives, friends and sympathisers as part of activities to honour the dead.

The people of Owo are set to give their late son the honour he deserves as the whole town is prepared for the traditional dance.

The Hope gathered that Aso Ebi for the dance has been purchased by many while many also got theirs for free.

When our reporter visited the GRA, Owo home of the deceased on Tuesday, arrangements were in top gear for the Ajabue dance and other funeral activities taking place in Owo.

In the same vein, the domestic staff of the late Governor and other people were seen busy cleaning up the place.

On Thursday, February 22 (Public holiday,) is Service of Songs at St Andrews Cathedral, Imola Street, Owo by 4pm, while Wake-Keep at Maranatha Villa, Owo comes up at 8pm.

Candlelight Procession & World Gyration by the Kegites Club will hold by 8pm till Dawn.

Also, Friday, February 23 (Public holiday) is Funeral Service at St Andrews Church, Imola Street, Owo by 10 am. Interment follows immediately after the burial service at the burial site, Owo. (Strictly for immediate family)

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Reception will follow at Mydas Hotel and Resort, Ikare Road, Owo by 1pm.

On Saturday, February 24, 2024, Akeredolu Memorial Friendly football match will hold at Akure Township Stadium, Akure by 3 pm, while Sunday, February 25, 2024, is Thanksgiving Service at St Andrews Church, Imola Street, Owo by 10 am.

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