Tinubu, Govs, others attend Akeredolu’s funeral

By Adedotun Ajayi

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, State Governors, former governors and prominent Nigerians on Friday graced the burial ceremony of Ondo late governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu in Owo.

The ancient city of Owo stood still to give last respect and final rites to their illustrious son, Akeredolu who passed away on December 27, 2023.

Pix: Ayodele Suberu

Among those present were President Bola Ahmed Tinubu represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, Ondo State Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa and his deputy, Dr Olayide Adelami, also governors from neighboring states, including Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti, Goodwin Obaseki of Edo, Ademola Adeleke of Osun, Seyi Makinde of Oyo, Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq of Kwara, Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra, Douye Diri of Bayelsa, and Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta.

Also in attendance were Senate Leader Opeyemi Bamidele, former governors Olusẹgun Mimiko, Kayode Fayemi, and Gbenga Daniel, as well as APC National Chairman Dr. Ganduje and the wife of the late prophet T.B Joshua, Pastor Evelyn Joshua, members of the National Assembly among other political appointees and body of benchers. 

Also in attendance from the Akeredolu family are Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, Prof. Oluwole Akeredolu, Dr Teniola Akeredolu, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu jnr, Babajide Akeredolu and Pastor Kola Akeredolu.

At the funeral service held at the St. Andrews Church, Owo, attendees were reminded of the importance of making meaningful contributions to the society and cherishing life’s opportunities.

The congregation received a solemn admonition to prioritize spiritual values over worldly possessions, emphasizing the significance of seeking the kingdom of God in all endeavors, especially in contemplation of life’s transience.

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In a eulogy filled with both grief and admiration Tinubu lauded Akeredolu’s “indomitable legacy of national service”, describing him as a “fearless soldier” and “unwavering advocate” for his people. 

President Tinubu said that Nigeria has lost a man whose legacy will endure. 

Tinubu emphasized that rather than mourn, it’s a day to celebrate Akeredolu’s life and his contributions to humanity. 

Reflecting on the passage of time, he reiterated that today is a day of remembrance and gratitude towards God and humanity. 

Tinubu highlighted Akeredolu’s lasting impact on history and expressed that he will always be revered. 

The President traced Akeredolu’s journey, from his distinguished legal career to his pivotal role as Governor of Ondo State.

He praised his vast intelligence and the profound impact of his leadership, noting that ” There was no point in life where his voice shook in telling his truth. He was a vastly intelligent man whose passion has created quite a wide vacuum beyond this community.” 

The President emphasised Akeredolu’s commitment to serving through democratic means, stating that “he recognised that the most pragmatic path to serving humanity is to present ourselves willingly to be chosen by the people.” 

The president described Akeredolu as a highly intelligent individual as Ondo State bids him a final farewell.

Speaking, Ondo State Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, in his address emphasized that the church organized the service not because Akeredolu was aware of it, but because he was one of them—their own. 

Addressing present and past governors, he reminded them of Akeredolu’s unwavering commitment to justice and the rule of law, which earned him their respect and solidarity. 

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He also recognized the legal fraternity, noting Akeredolu’s esteemed status as their colleague.

Aiyedatiwa stressed Akeredolu’s multifaceted impact on the society, reflecting on the accolades and tributes bestowed upon him from various quarters. 

He described the late governor as a warrior of integrity whose legacy lives on in the hearts of all who knew him, extending beyond his immediate family to touch the lives of countless others. 

In his sermon titled: “The Brevity of Life” delivered by The Anglican Bishop of Ikwerre and Archbishop of Niger Delta Province, Rev. Blessing Enyindah, who emphasized the transient nature of life and the importance of making a meaningful impact while on earth. Quoting from Psalm 39vs4-5.

Enyindah urged attendees to reflect on their legacy and the significance of their actions.

He also urged political leaders to uphold their electoral pledges, striving to enhance the quality of life for the populace and fulfill their duty to serve with integrity and compassion.

In a passionate plea, the cleric addressed the current challenges facing Nigeria, urging leaders to prioritize the welfare of citizens and alleviate the hardships caused by various crises, like the fuel subsidy removal, insecurity, and economic struggles. 

He called upon President Bola Tinubu to take swift action, reminding all that time is of the essence in addressing these pressing issues.

Earlier, the late Akeredolu’s legal colleagues, acknowledging his esteemed status as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a one-time Nigeria Bar Association president before his passing, solemnly brought his remains in a dark brown casket into the cathedral, a poignant gesture of solidarity among the legal fraternity.

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Bishop Stephen Fagbemi, the Bishop of Owo dioceses in his remarks also revealed plans to honor the late governor, who served as Chancellor of the Anglican Communion in Owo, by immortalizing him through the Anglican Medical and Diagnostic Center, which will be dedicated in his honor.

The remains of late Governor Akeredolu was buried in a private cemetery at Chapel of Epiphany which was strictly witnessed by his family members.

A reception ceremony was held for guests afterward at Mydas hotel and resort, Owo.

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