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Aketi: The Eagle has gone home to rest

By Ayodele Fagbohun

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“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.

It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury…”

Macbeth, a literary work authored by William Shakespeare (1564-1616).

Like a meteor which suddenly falls and enters into earth’s atmosphere, where it burns up as a result of friction, the unfortunate death of the former Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Odunayo Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, CON was a thunderbolt at this trying critical evening of his eventful tenure, most importantly his  second term as the chief helm’s man of the Sunshine State.

Late last year, on resuming duty from medical vacation abroad, the ailing governor, Arakunrin Akeredolu apparently distracted by the hard bargaining within the corridor of power and haunted probably by premonition of death, exclaimed, he would be alive to complete his tenure.

His mandate of two-term tenure in-office should have ended, legally speaking, in November 2024.

However, Arakunrin Akeredolu died suddenly in office on December 27, 2024, as announced on the radio networks.  Alas! The tragic and unpleasant news  filtered in, to mar the usual annual funfair and celebrations concomitant with the yelutide.

Aketi’s death untimely and least expected, though after a relatively long spell of debilitating ill-health.  The cause of the terminal ailment was initially shrouded in mystery; closely followed by intrigues, hue and cry, vanity and horse trading in power struggle.  The cause of the political hullabaloo is patently undesirable and highly unfathomable in the quest for good governance and  democracy.

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Nonetheless, the blatant display for ephemeral show of power preceding the announcement of the fallen heroes, our great amiable Aketi, receded to the vanishing thin air.

No wonder, the erstwhile Governor of Anambra State and flagbearer of Labour Party (LP) in the recently concluded presidential polls, Mr. Peter Obi, in a condolence message in respect of Aketi’s demise aptly described life as ephemeral.

In another development, the death of our amiable indefatigable governor of never-say-die was also a dramatic irony on the futility and vanity that characterized life’s struggle when William Shakespeare, in his master piece, Macbeth, skillfully and graphically said: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour (time) upon the stage and heard no more.”

However, the above description in “Macbeth” about life as a “walking shadow” scenario was not applicable to the lot of our “workaholic” Aketi.  His achievements in true governance and purposeful administration in Ondo State and across the South West as former Chairman of South West Governors’ Forum was second to none and lodestar for the succeeding administration in the state and emulated across the country.

Arakunrin Odunayo Oluwarotimi Akeredolu was a highly innovative state governor, very bold, assertive and always there to embark on result oriented policies/programmes to have tremendous impact on the cause of good governance.

Incidentally, on assuming office in his first term, this writer christened Arakunrin Akeredolu’s administration as the offshoot of Michael Adekunle Ajasin’s UPN enigmatic political experiment in the old Ondo State which undoubtedly set high standard in good governance, and diligent service too difficult for Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the NPN-led Federal Government to attain in the ill-fated Second Republic politics.

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Aketi was styled or famously called “Mr. Road” for his superb, unique and outstanding navigation in road construction, opening a great vista for infrastructure in rural development.

To safeguard and protect the State, his sphere of influence, and by extension the entire South West, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu as Chairman South West Governors’ Forum spearheaded the formation of Amotekun Corps.  He boldly called for synergy between the corps and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NCDSC), to promptly address intractable insecurity in the region.

Out of rabid jealousy to thwart and frustrate the spirited effort of populist and pragmatic policies and programme of good governance unprecedented in the South West, some sanguinary rascals and rabid Fulani marauders sneaked in, early morning on a fateful Sunday and inflicted a large scale incendiary rampage on a major Catholic church in the hometown of the governor, Arakunrin Odunayo Akeredolu.

It was a bloodbath where hundreds of worshippers were killed, missing and others lost their limbs in the premeditated crisis.

Rather than being discouraged by the antics of the interlopers and traducers of our sovereignty, it was with great pleasure and ecstasy that Aketi, the vintage soldiered on.  He pursued his electoral mandate and national assignment gallantly, in spite of the “mystery” ailment inflicted on his weak frame, from which he never recovered.

The only snag in the indestructible legacy of Arakunrin Akeredolu’s, administration is the state of education to be rejigged and revolutionized in line with the cherished legacy of “free education at all levels which distinguished Ajasin’s era in Ondo State as sui generis, and remarkable.

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Free education must occupy a pre-eminent place in Ondo State nay, the entire South West. Access to education will accelerate our enlightenment, progress and national development in geometric terms, as obtained in advanced nations of the world.

According to the younger brother of the late governor, Professor Wole Akeredolu (the two siblings of revered late priest in Anglican mission, Ibadan, Oyo state.  As a practicing Christian, the erudite professor has submitted to the supreme verdict of God.

Prof. Wole Akeredolu said out of fortitude, that his brother deserved a good rest, having contributed his own fair share to the earthly struggle.

In other words, an eagle that soars high on the sky to fend for its offspring throughout its life span that only God knows! Arakunrin Odunayo Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, barrister at law, member of Order of Niger, etc truly deserved credit to what he knew best; serving to the best of his ability the people of Ondo State, his church as chancellor of Owo Anglican diocese and the entire Yoruba race in the South West.

May his good works live on…and grant those coming behind the divine wisdom to perpetuate the laudable undying legacy of development and progress in Ondo State.

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