The Acting Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has been sworn in as the seventh civilian governor of the state following the demise of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
The oath of office was administered on Aiyedatiwa at 5:14 pm. by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Olusegun Odusola.
With state High Court Judges, members of the Exco, lawmakers, and party loyalists present at the Cocoa Conference Hall of the Governor’s Office, the venue of the swearing-in ceremony, Aiyedatiwa described the death of his boss as shocking and devastating.
While vowing to continue to uphold the legacies of the late governor, Aiyedatiwa lauded Akeredolu for the strides made in the state and his stance on national issues.
“The death of our governor is indeed a devastating shock to us all, as we have all been praying earnestly for his quick recovery and subsequent safe return to Ondo State, having embarked on another medical leave on Wednesday, December 13, 2023. Indeed, there is no armour against fate; death lays his icy hand on kings.
“Permit me to use this opportunity to condole with the immediate and extended family of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON, HRM Oba Gbadegesin Ogunoye III, the Olowo of Owo, the people of Owo, and indeed the entire people of Ondo State over this monumental loss.
“The demise of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON, is indeed a great loss to me as an individual, as our relationship dates back many years, having closely worked with him when his gubernatorial journey started in 2012.
“The loss then did not affect our relationship as we continued to maintain close political and personal relationships, which climaxed in 2020 when he graciously picked me as his running mate for his second term as governor of Ondo State.
“Governor Akeredolu was a man of courage and conviction who always stood for the truth, even at his own detriment. I remember vividly the time when we had a case in court challenging our second-term victory. He still pursued the matter of emplacing a strong security network for the people of the Southwest, codenamed ‘Amotekun Corps’.
“The people of Ondo State and the entire people of the Southwest will be eternally grateful for this bold act, which has greatly improved the security architecture in the region and reduced incidents of kidnapping, banditry, and other acts of criminality to the barest minimum, especially in Ondo State.
“His many legacies in the health sector, infrastructural development, education, industrial development as symbolised in the Ondo-Linyl Industrial Hub, Ore, his innovation in the Ondo State Entrepreneurial Development Agency, his Tech Hub, etc. will be difficult to surpass.
“The events that culminated in today’s ceremony are a watershed in the history of Ondo State, as this is the first time we are having a transition in an administration. Today’s event has placed a burden on all of us to pull together and stay together as one because we have the onerous responsibility to continue to sustain the legacies of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON, which was good governance, properly called.
“Our leader and governor, during his time, embarked upon several landmark projects, many of which have been completed and several of which are ongoing. We now have the responsibility to complete them. It is to the credit of Arakunrin Akeredolu that the state now has a flyover in Ore, while the one in Akure is ongoing. It is necessary for us to acknowledge with pride the wonderful achievements and legacies of Arakunrin Akeredolu. His records of performance are monumental and unprecedented.
“I want to assure the people of Ondo State that under my watch, this administration will continue to advance the welfare of the people. We shall always place the people first in every decision we take. It is my prayer, once more, that God Almighty shall grant the family and the people of Ondo State the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.”
Meanwhile, hours after the demise of Akeredolu, his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, has resigned from his position as the spokesperson for the governor.
Olatunde, a former Special Assistant to Akeredolu on New Media, was appointed by the governor shortly after emerging as governor for a second term in 2021.
According to the former CPS, in a statement made available to The Guardian, his decision was hinged on the death of his boss.