The governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has passed away at the age of 67 after a long battle with leukemia and prostate cancer. He died on Wednesday in a German hospital, where he had been receiving treatment for his condition.
According to a source from the All Progressives Congress, the ruling party in the state, the deputy governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, will be sworn in as the new governor soon. The state government has not issued any official statement on the governor’s death yet.
The Punch Newspaper’s attempts to reach the governor’s spokesperson, Mr. Richard Olabode, and the state’s information commissioner, Mrs Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, for confirmation were unsuccessful. They did not answer their phones or reply to text messages from our reporters.
Earlier on December 13, 2023, reports emerged that Akeredolu was going back to Germany for further medical care. After he had handed over power to his deputy, Lucy Aiyedatiwa, who acted as the governor in his absence.
Akeredolu had been travelling to Germany for treatment since April 3, 2023. He returned to Nigeria on September 7 and informed the state House of Assembly of his health status. However, he did not resume his duties in Ondo State and stayed in his private home in Ibadan.
His absence caused a leadership crisis in the state, as the executive council was split between his loyalists and those of his deputy. In September, he fired all the media aides of the deputy governor, accusing them of insubordination and disrespect.
Aiyedatiwa, who is now the acting governor, has appealed to the people of the state and other stakeholders to support him in fulfilling the governor’s vision and mission for the state. He said in a statewide broadcast that the state needed unity and cooperation to achieve the development goals set by the late governor.
“Yesterday is already behind us,” Aiyedatiwa said. “This is the time to carry aloft, with love and affection for one another, the laudable vision and mission of the governor for the state.
“I appeal to every member of the government of Ondo State for your genuine support, cooperation, and dedication.
”We need a renewed unity to berth the significant and accelerated development clearly envisioned and vigorously pursued by Mr. Governor.
“My good people of Ondo state, what happened in the past was a temporary delay in our democratic journey. As a government, we have recovered.”