by Roving

When at exactly 5:18pm after the official announcement of the demise of the then Governor of Ondo State in far away Germany in the early hours of Wednesday the 27th of December, 2023 the Chief Judge of the State administered the Oath of Office on the erstwhile Deputy Governor Lucky Orimisan Ayedatiwa as the substantive Governor of Ondo State, my mind raced back to all that happened in 2010 during the ill health and the unfortunate death (while in office) of ex President Umoru Musa Yaradua.

The fact that late Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN also known as AKETI bestrode the politics of Ondo State like a colossus as a democratically elected Governor between February 2017 till his triumphant exit on the 27th of December, 2023 is never in contention.

However, before the late Governor’s surcease, like late Musa Yaradua, Aketi did his best. He had zero tolerance for injustice, prevarication and dire performances. He was always full of life and did motivate people around him to “Think Anew and Act Anew!”

Aketi feared nobody but respected people with high perspicacious sense of judgement.

Among the South West Governors, he was known as the Amotekun Generalissimo.
He was a man that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will never forget. He stood in the gap when it appeared as if some cabals were hell bent in truncating the unwritten understanding between the North and South to have power rotate seamlessly between them.
And until his last breath, Aketi’s major concern was the infrastructural development of Ondo State.

Aketi came, saw and to a large extent, he conquered!

Unfortunately, in the race of life, to end well is always better than to start well.
This is why one of the holy books say, “Better is the end of a thing than it’s beginning.”

The politics and the handling of the health condition of the late Ówó born, Ibadan bred and Ile Ifé trained legal icon left a sour taste in the mouth and almost cause such discombobulation that could have consumed the Sunshine State but for the timely and decisive intervention of well meaning individuals and groups.

At the twilight of Aketi’s administration, his infirmity was shanghaied by those who were very close to him maritally and politically. The true essence of his illness was initially shrouded in mystery. As a matter of fact, the mishandling of information about his ill health late into his first term in office actually led to the political astigmatism and rhubarbs that transpired between him and his first deputy, Mr. Agboola Ajayi. The rest is now history.

Fast forward to 2023. The loss of Mr Agboola Ajayi became the gain of Hon. Lucky Orimisan Ayedatiwa. You all know the story.

Born on the 12th of January, 1965 in Obe Nla town of Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, Ayedatiwa was a former Commissioner of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) between 2018 and 2019.
In 2013, he bagged a Master Degree in Business Administration at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Back to Aketi.
The well thought out decision of the late governor then to pick Ayedatiwa as his deputy cannot be faulted.

Aketi saw many other politicians from the South Senatorial Zone (including those who were serving as Commissioners and Special Advisers) before he settled for an Ayedatiwa who is almost a direct opposite of his personality.

Aketi was pleasantly boisterous while Ayedatiwa is more restful.
Aketi was more of a chatty person but Ayedatiwa is reticent.
Aketi often wore his heart on his sleeve unlike Ayedatiwa who is more a stealth natured man.
Aketi was of the old order while Ayedatiwa is of the new order.

During the swearing in ceremony of Aketi for his second term in office in February, 2020, he made some panegyrical and encomiastic remarks about Ayedatiwa that unfortunately set him up for the blackmail and the snake – pit confusedness that took place throughout the period Aketi was indisposed.

Like Jonathan, like Ayedatiwa.
Ayedatiwa’s first name – Lucky has been more than approbatory for his political successes recently.
It’s hoped that the man who took over from Aketi will continue to be Lucky!

Ondo State gubernatorial election will hold later in the year.
As at the last count more than five aspirants in the All Progressive Congress (APC) have indicated their interest to contest the governorship primaries.

Chief Olusola Oke, Hon. Wale Akinterinwa, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim, Chief (Mrs) Oladunni Odu , etc who are all eminently qualified are those that want to be in the ring with Ayedatiwa.

The big question
Can any of the names mentioned above or those who may still show up later defeat an incumbent governor in a party primary election and still expect to go ahead and win the gubernatorial election for their political party?

My take
The distinctiveness between Ayedatiwa and the others is that he is of the new order.
He does not have experience in manipulative politics and therefore may be easier to approach and reproach by the people.
He also does not have the usual “baggages” that often weigh most political office holders down.

Politicians who are unrepentantly vindictive, pompous or who possesses unbridled sense of entitlement are dangerous and it will be risky to entrust Ondo State in the care of such persons now or in the future.

The three years or more Ayedatiwa spent with Aketi can never be a waste. If Ondo State must rise above primodal sentiment, wampum or pelf politics and political gangbangersim the citizens must be ready to embrace a peaceful and imperturbable political leader with fresh breath of air.

To be continued…

Deacon Sam Aroge is a PR & Management Consultant based in Akure.
Email; lifeabundant2014@gmail.com or 07012368552

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