Akeredolu was an Iroko who spoke truth to power – Akpabio

Godswill Akpabio

Senate President Godswill Akpabio has expressed shock over the death of Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, describing him as “a nationalist and the Iroko of the Sunshine State.”

Akeredolu died on Wednesday aged 67 following a battle with leukaemia and prostate cancer.

Akpabio, in a condolence message issued by his special adviser on media and publicity, Eseme Eyiboh, said Akeredolu was a leader who knew his onions and was indeed the Iroko of Ondo State as he defended the state with all his strength as governor.

The Senate President eulogised the late governor whom he said spent his active life fighting for justice, fairness and equity, adding that as a nationalist, “Akeredolu believed in true federalism, which he pursued with passion and vigour”.

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He said, “I am sad that we have to lose Chief Rotimi Akeredolu this early in life. He was a leader that placed the interest of his people above every other consideration. He was a man of integrity and strong conviction with a strict work ethos and never paid lip service to the welfare of the people of the state.

“He was a fearless lawyer who spoke truth to power regardless of whose ox was gored. As governor, Chief Akeredolu left his footprints in the sands of history, executing landmark projects and implementing people-oriented policies that earned him a second term in office. A man of style, Chief Akeredolu was obsessed with excellence.

“I believe the people of Ondo, the South West, and the entire Nigeria, especially the progressives will sorely miss Chief Rotimi Akeredolu because he lived a purposeful and focused life and distinguished himself as a lawyer and one of the best-performing governors in the country.

“I wish to on behalf of my family and the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria extend my sincere condolences to the Acting Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, the Government and people of Ondo State and particularly his wife, Her Excellency, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu and his immediate family. May God give you the fortitude to bear this untimely loss and may He have mercy on him and grant his soul eternal rest.”