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Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, Dies at 67 After Long Battle with Cancer

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AKURE, Nigeria – Rotimi Akeredolu, the Governor of Ondo State, passed away in the early hours of Wednesday, December 27, 2023. He was 67.

Mr. Akeredolu’s death occurred around 2 a.m., with family sources revealing that he died in Lagos, Nigeria. Some news sources report he died in a German hospital.

Wale Akinterinwa, Ondo State’s Commissioner for Finance and a close associate of the governor, confirmed the tragic news. “It is true”, he stated solemnly.

The governor’s passing was attributed to leukemia, a battle he had been facing alongside prostate cancer. These illnesses had rendered him incapacitated for several months, casting a shadow over his vibrant political and legal career.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and wife, Betty pictured at a social event in 2023.
Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and wife, Betty pictured at a social event in 2020.

Rotimi Akeredolu was a notable figure, holding the titles of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and former Attorney General of Ondo State. He was serving his second term as governor at the time of his death.

His deteriorating health had led to him being flown abroad for treatment in June. He returned to Nigeria in September but stayed in Ibadan, where he owns a home and from where he contested for the governorship in 2016, due to ongoing health concerns.

As his condition worsened, pressure mounted from opposition parties and activists for Akeredolu to resign or delegate his duties to his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, in accordance with the 1999 constitution.

This pressure intensified within the state’s political circles, even drawing the attention of President Bola Tinubu.

In early December, Akeredolu transmitted power to Aiyedatiwa before embarking on another medical leave to Germany, marking his second overseas treatment in 2023.

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The Making Of An Outspoken Lawyer, Politician

Born on July 21, 1956, in Owo, Ondo State, Akeredolu, affectionately known as Aketi, began his journey in education at Government School, Owo.

He later attended Aquinas College, Akure, and Loyola College, Ibadan, for his secondary education, before completing his higher studies at Comprehensive High School, Ayetoro.

Akeredolu’s academic prowess led him to the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, where he earned his LLB degree in 1977 and subsequently completed his B.L at the Nigerian Law School in 1978.

His student days were marked by a commitment to leadership, social justice, and the fight against inequality and corruption. He was a key figure in student union activities, advocating for robust debates and constructive engagements.

Akeredolu is survived by his wife, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, their four children, and numerous grandchildren.

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