Ohaneze Ndigbo mourns Akeredolu, describes him as an ‘inter-ethnic genius’

The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has expressed grief over the demise of former Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, whose death was announced on December 27, 2023.

Ohanaeze in a statement issued on Saturday by the National Publicity Secretary, Dr Alex Ogbonnia on behalf of the President General, Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, described Akeredolu an angel of history; “a robust visionary, purveyor of morals, the jinx breaker, and an inter-ethnic genius,” who had held various positions of authority from his profession to becoming a two-term governor of Ondo State.

The apex Igbo body said that Akeredolu was not only an exceptional in-law of the Igbo; “he was also our noble son by the reason of marriage to our adorable daughter, Betty Anyanwu- Akeredolu. It is noteworthy that the Ohanaeze Constitution confers Igbo citizenship on our in-laws and their offspring.”

It noted that as long as the marriage with Betty lasted, Akeredolu displayed an unflinching fidelity, marital exemplariness and a profound commitment to the welfare of the Emeabiam community, Owerri-West, in Imo State. “Such magnanimous relationship was extended to the Igbo community in Ondo State.”

The statement noted that the President General of Ohanaeze Chief Iwuanyanwu, could not withhold his emotions on hearing the sad news of the demise of “one of our best”.

“The Igbo leader recalled the audacious roles that Rotimi Akeredolu played in the creation of the Western Nigeria Security Network, otherwise called the Amotekun: the zest and steadfastness with which, as the Chairman of the South West Governors Forum, coordinated the zoning of the Presidency to the Southern part of Nigeria.

“Chief Iwuanyanwu cited with freshness how Akeredolu chaired the Meeting of the Southern Governors’ Forum at Enugu which emphatically re-echoed the earlier Asaba Declaration for Southern Presidency. Akeredolu demonstrated an extraordinary acumen in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

“The Igbo leader qualified Rotimi Akeredolu as a courageous man who spoke truth to power; a soldier of democracy and the popular sentiment of the South West politics.

“Throughout his career, Akeredolu displayed an amazing social skill, dispositional humility, character comeliness, legal wizardry, irresistible charisma, intellectual prowess and a disarming political acumen.

“Although Rotimi did not live long enough, but Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) had asserted that it is not the length of life  but the depth of life that matters. In other words, the Rotimi Akeredolu trajectory is a distinctive tribute to audacity, selfless service, humility, group loyalty, awesome generosity, resilience,  perseverance and Levite spirituality. He has by his granite convictions, left indelible marks in the sands of time.

“On behalf of all the sons and daughters of Igbo land, Iwuanyanwu urges our amiable daughter, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu and the immediate family to accept with serenity and fortitude the inevitable reality for all mortals; and that they should take solace in the enviable track records of our son while he navigated his paths like a colossus.

“The Igbo Leader further requests all the Igbo structures in the South West of Nigeria to show adequate solidarity to the good people of Ondo State as we bid a befitting farewell to our son in-law,” the statement partly read.