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Akeredolu’s Death Leaves Difficult Vacuum to Fill, Says Tinubu

He acknowledged the courage and fearless nature of the late governor.

President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday visited Owo, in Ondo State to condole with the family of the late Governor of the State, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) who died on December 27, 2023, after a protracted illness.

The President, accompanied by the state governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, Bisi Akande and Pius Akinyelure, was received by the widow of the late Governor, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu.

The President, who had a closed-door meeting with Mrs. Akeredolu, also visited where the late Governor was laid to rest, saying the void left by the departed Governor will be difficult to fill.

Tinubu said it is honourable to depart the world when the ovation is loudest.

His words: “This sentiment should inspire us to live each day with purpose, to pursue our goals with determination, and to leave behind a legacy that will be remembered fondly by those whose lives we have touched,” he said

He acknowledged the courage and fearless nature of the late governor especially his passion for good governance.

“He truly embodied courage and fearlessness, especially in his relentless pursuit for good governance. I can only describe him as a fearless fighter, his unwavering commitment to the welfare of his people and his courageous nature will always be remembered” said Tinubu

Mrs. Akeredolu speaking after the visit appreciated the President for the condolence visit. 

She said, “On behalf of my family, I appreciate Mr. President. We understood he couldn’t attend the burial ceremony due to the dictate of Yoruba culture. He couldn’t have attended the burial of his younger brother.

“Coming today is a big deal because we are in a better atmosphere. I also express my profound gratitude to the Southern Governors for their immense financial contributions to the burial. Most especially, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-olu, who singlehandedly brought Aketi’s remains back to Nigeria. We appreciate this huge show of love and we are grateful and forever indebted to him.

“I requested that Mr. President see where Aketi has been laid to rest and he followed me. We are deeply grateful to Mr. President for coming. He’s indeed, Aketi’s brother and friend. I told Mr. President, yes, Aketi has left but he lives because he left behind legacies. It is our wish that those legacies continue and are built upon where necessary.”

 Besides, President Tinubu who visited the leader of the pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti at his residence in Akure said his government was aware of the challenges confronting Nigerians but promised that the policies of his administration will bring positive solutions to the challenges.

He also called on Nigerians to grow and eat home foods, noting that doing so would wean the country from depending on foods from foreign sources.

Responding, Pa Reuben Fasoranti called on the President to restructure the country and enthrone true federalism as it was originally entrenched in the 1960 and 1963 constitutions to end the nation’s problem of grappling with double-digit inflation, foreign currency shortages, a weakening naira, widespread insecurity amongst others.

“You know that since the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, the Yoruba people, led by Afenifere, have been in the forefront of the campaign for the restructuring of Nigeria. 

“It is now incumbent on you to address this issue of constitutional reforms with courage, fairness and determination. We know we cannot return to the past, but we have to seek a future where regional competitions would bring out the best in our country as it did during the First Republic. 

“We seek therefore a true Federal Republic that would reflect fiscal federalism. If derivation principle is good for oil, why is it not good for Value Added Tax for example?”

He stressed that the group believe that a review of the 2014 National Constitutional Conference would help him in charting the course. 

“For the people of the South-West, restructuring also has a more pressing meaning. Today, Nigeria has a population of 200 million which would double in the next 25 years to 400 million. However, the South-West is facing an avalanche of migration from the other zones of the country to the extent that in 25 years’ time, if the current trend continues, the South-West would be home to 50 percent of the population of Nigeria. 

“By this time the states of Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo would be home to at least 200 million people. We need to plan for this eventuality on a regional scale. We need to be prepared so that our region would not be overwhelmed by imported challenges. 

“Mr President, please also seek for institutional reforms that would strengthen our federation and make Nigeria safer and more prosperous. Try and balance the budget and execute capital projects that would create more employments. We thank you for welcoming the idea of state policing.” 

He noted that Afenifere want each of the geopolitical zone to have greater responsibilities for security, food production and infrastructural development. 

“Since the removal of fuel subsidy, which was costing Nigeria 10 billion dollars yearly, the state governments have been receiving hefty allocations from the Federation account. Mr President should persuade the governors to allow this change of fortune for the states to reflect at the grassroots so that life can be better for our people. They should not just buy rice and yams for the people. 

They should create employment, improve education and build new infrastructures. Today, life is truly challenging for most people and the state governments have an important role to play to transform the society. You have done well with trying to reposition our economy and reform the Public Service. We salute your courage in tackling many issues that have remained unresolved for many years. 

“It is an act of courage and sagacity for you to adopt the Oronsanye Report as the basis to reform the Public Service. This is a welcome development”, he added.

Fidelis David in Akure

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