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Tributes As Akeredolu’s Body Arrives Ondo For Final Burial Rites

President Bola Tinubu, state governors, ministers and other political figures from different parts of Nigeria, on Wednesday, paid their last respect to the late Ondo State Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

The remains of Mr Akeredou arrived the state for his final burial rites on Wednesday.

Mr Akeredolu, aged 67, died of postrate cancer in a German hospital on 27 December 2023. His body was flown to Nigeria and subsequently deposited in a morgue on 5 January.

Many sympathisers, particularly students, on Wednesday, lined up on the road sides in Akure, the state capital, waving to his corpse in the motorcade that brought it from Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

Public servants were also on the ground at the Governor’s Office, Alagbaka, to bid final farewell to the former governor.

Mr Akeredolu’s remains arrived at the Governor’s office, which he occupied for almost seven years at about 12.30 p.m.

He was laid-in-state for about 10 minutes before he was moved away.

In honour of the departed governor, the state government had declared Thursday and Friday, 22 and 23 February, as public holidays in the state.

This was to allow the people to participate in the burial activities of the former governor, which began last week and will end on Sunday with a Thanksgiving Service at St. Andrew’s Church, lmola, Owo.

A valedictory court session was also held for him at the state high court on Wednesday, where legal luminaries extolled his virtues and recalled his contributions not only to the legal profession but to the development of democracy in Nigeria.

At the special court session, the state’s Chief Judge, Olusegun Odusola, took time to enumerate the contributions of the late Mr Akeredolu to the state judiciary.

President Tinubu was represented by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Olawale Edun, while the Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State led dignitaries to receive the body of the late Governor at the lying-in-state ceremony in Akure, Ondo State capital.

Others who attended the lying-in-state were political and professional allies, family members as well as the deceased’s former political appointees.

Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, in his speech, noted that the deceased risked his life to ensure the people lived.

“I remember how this great man lying still here before us now took an uninsured risk in service of a greater goal for his people. This was in the heat of the avoidable farmers/herders kidnapping and other security challenges in our country. I am sure you remember his indomitable interventions when it was tough to speak loud.

“He, without fear, took an unusual sacrifice that many considered a suicide mission. He raised his voice to speak truth to power. He condemned inequality, complacency, divisiveness and double standards.

“He asked for the supremacy of rule of law. He asked for fairness, love and true nationalism. He faced the troubling issues of the times with the candour of a statesman. He not only condemned indolence of thought, he proffered solutions that guaranteed peace. He not only talked, he walked his talk. He advocated for a new thinking, a new action and a new direction,” Mr Aiyedatiwa said.

Speaking on behalf of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Olusola Oke, who was a political associate of the late governor, recalled Mr Akeredolu’s antecedents as a social crusader from his days as a student and later as President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).

He said Mr Akeredolu was “forthright, truthful, fearless and courageous”.

“He was a fierce defender of the oppressed. He spoke truth to power, not minding the consequence, took side with the poor, the underdog and the oppressed. He was the voice for voiceless,” he added.

Mr Oke said the late Akeredolu’s fellow SANs took solace in the recognition that the vibrancy of his well-lived life never fades.

Encomiums have also poured in from members of the state House of Assembly, led by the Speaker, Olamide Oladiji. They recognised the indelible marks left behind by the late governor on the state legislature.

The late governor will be laid to his final rest later on Friday, 23 February in Owo, his hometown.

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