December 28, 2023

Akeredolu’s death, huge loss to progressive camp – Ngige

Akeredolu’s death, huge loss to progressive camp – Ngige

Late former Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja

A former Governor of Anambra State and two-time Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige has mourned the late Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, describing his demise as a huge personal loss to him and the progressive camp.

Dr. Ngige lamented that Akeredolu’s death has created a big void in the progressive camp, with the attendant loss of one of the big voices that can speak truth to power in the nation.

In a statement by his media office in Abuja, the former minister said he was shocked and pained by the news of Arakunri Akeredolu’s death.

According to him, Akeredolu transmuted from being his personal lawyer in a client-lawyer relationship to a family friend to the extent that one of Aketi’s sons married the daughter of his bosom friend, Chief Sir Chris Atuegwu.

He recalled that he was one of the leaders of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, whom Akeredolu had sought their advice and support before joining partisan politics and later throwing his hat into the ring for his first debut in the Ondo governorship election in 2012, which was unsuccessful.

Ngige said, “He did not give up. Being a man of great determination, courage and fearlessness, he weathered a very stormy and rancorous gubernatorial primaries of the newly formed All Progressive Congress, APC, laden with political landmines, but navigated all of them and went ahead to win the main election in 2016. In 2020, he contested for re-election, facing similar challenges, and won again.”

Ngige regretted that the cold hands of death snatched the former Ondo Governor while in active service to his people and the nation.

He said, “Being a medical doctor of 44 years standing, the prognosis of Aketi’s illness was clear to me but being human, and as a friend, I kept hoping and praying that he would overcome and at least, cross over to the septuagenarian club. 

“As a strong-willed person, he tried not to succumb to the illness, but painfully, death, the thief in the night struck.” 

Paying glowing tribute to the deceased, he said Akeredolu was a man of strong character, dependable ally, thoroughbred politician and model statesman.

According to him, Aketi was principled, tough, bold, courageous, fearless and outspoken, as well as unrelenting in his struggle for the entrenchment of true democracy, good governance and the rule of law in Nigeria.

He noted that Akeredolu, as a man of strong character, was not afraid of defending any well-intentioned cause he believed in, even if it entailed stepping on powerful toes. 

“As Governor, he prioritized the safety, not only of his people in Ondo State, but the entire South-West, playing a frontline role in the establishment of Amotekun security outfit.

“In spite of reservations expressed about the outfit by the Federal Government, he stood his ground. This singular courage he displayed made the South West the safest region in the country today.”  

He further praised Akeredolu’s honesty, doggedness, tenacity of purpose and immense sense of responsibility in politics and other endeavours, for which he will surely be missed by everybody, including his family, friends, political associates, colleagues in the legal profession and even his opponents.  

He condoled with the family of Akeredolu, the people of Owo town and the entire Ondo State for this great loss and prayed God to grant the soul of the departed eternal rest.