The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has expressed deep sorrow over the demise of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, who passed away on Wednesday, December 27, 2023, at the age of 67.
In a statement signed by PANDEF’s national chairman, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, the organization acknowledged Governor Akeredolu’s remarkable contributions as a Nigerian lawyer, jurist, public servant, and politician. The statement highlighted Akeredolu’s significant role as the president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), where his forthright views on constitutional law and national issues left an enduring impact.
The statement recognized Akeredolu’s tenure as Governor of Ondo State, noting that it transformed into a hub of economic and social development under his leadership. As the Chairman of the South-West Governors Forum, Akeredolu played a pivotal role in the establishment of ‘Amotekun,’ a sub-regional security outfit that effectively curbed incidents of kidnapping, killings, and brigandage in the South West zone.
PANDEF affectionately referred to Akeredolu as ‘Aketi’ and praised his resilience as a strong advocate for the rotation of the presidency to the Southern part of the country in 2023. The statement credited Akeredolu, along with some Northern Governors and groups like the Southern and Middle Belt Forum, including PANDEF, for contributing to the emergence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Expressing deep condolences, PANDEF conveyed sympathies to Governor Akeredolu’s wife, children, the Government, and the people of Ondo State, as well as the entire Nigerian federation. The statement described Akeredolu as a national public figure of a higher class, whose name will be indelible in the history and future existence of the country.