It was a remarkable home coming for Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu on Friday 8th November, 2019 after many days absence from the state and indeed, his duty post as the chief executive officer of the Sunshine state.

As a news item discribed the wild jubilation that greeted the governor returned to Akure, the capital city was practically locked down for several hours by several of Akeredolu’s supporters, including crowd of members of the dreadred National Union of Roads Transport Workers (NURTW) led by their fearful state chairman, Jacob Adebo, popularly called Professor Idajo, members of the State House of Assembly led by Rt. Hon. David Bamidele Oleyelogun, the State Executive Council members led by the deputy governor, Hon. Alfred Agboola Ajayi and large members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) led by the state chairman, Ade Adetimehin.

When I was driven out of Akure for an engagement in Owo on that faithful Friday morning enroute the Oba-Ile/Akure Airport road, the main entryway to the airport was already blocked by sea of members of NURTW in their green and white uniforms, and it was same experience along major towns like Ogbese, Uso, Emure and much more at Emure/Owo junction. And when my colleagues and friends that later joined me at Achievers University, Owo relived their experiences on that same road as at noon, it was a tale of horror as traffic flow was totally blocked and road users were kept on same spot for several hours, thereby compounding their woes on the already bad and near inpassable Akure-Owo road. Akeredolu would later landed at Akure Airport on a chartered plane at about 5:30 pm.

But one major point that the planners and executors of this Akeredolu’s homecoming roadshow scored was the public attraction and delibrate disturbance of peace, order and harmony of residents, passersby, motorists and other road users in Akure and it environs during this period. And if you ask me, it was a billant point if only to put to rest several weeks of speculations and agitations over the continuos absence of Akeredolu from the state as a result of alleged health challenges.

Different factions of Akeredolu’s health challenges were released to the airwaves, either as rumour, social media chats, beer parlour gists, close and government sources during the period of his absence which made it very difficult to authenticate any of such stories until the governor himself who was accompanied on the trip from Abuja by two members of the House of Representatives from the State, Timehin Adelegbe and Mayowa Akinfolarin, the State Head of Service, Dare Aragbaye, and the Special Adviser on Intergovernmental Matters, Mrs. Bunmi Ademosu came back last Friday.

So, the first question put to him at he stepped on the tarmac of the Akure Airport was why he has to stay away for so long from the state, and he didn’t hestitate to say that he indeed, sought medical attention but not as overblown by the opposition. ”Yes, I needed to seek medical attention. It was nothing so serious as overblown because it is routine. But on my return, I needed to take some time off based on advice. It wasn’t as serious as people blew it. But basically, my stay back in Abuja was indeed not a serious period to even rest because I had to attend to a lot of issues that will move the State forward. As you can see, I’m back fresher and stronger to continue the work the good people of the state mandated me to do”, Akeredolu stated.

According to the governor’s statement above, he said his sickness was nothing so serious. Can you believe that? Methink His Excellency was only trying to alliviate our fear and put our minds at rest over his health challenges because what’s on ground is not to be handle with kid gloves if some of the stories going around are anything to go by.

I was in Owo last Friday to witness the combined 8 & 9 convocation ceremony of the first private university in the whole of Ondo and Ekiti state, Achievers University, Owo (AUO). Though the convocation ceremony was actually slated Saturday 9th of November, 2019, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity and privilege to meet and listen to the reverred Bishop of Roman Cathtolic, Diocese of Sokoto, Most. Rev. Father Hassan Matthew Kukah who was billed to deliver the convocation lecture of AUO on Friday 8th by 11.00.am and to also receive an honourary doctorate degree with three other awardees: the Governor of Sokoto and former Speaker House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, former Speaker, Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara and vice chairman of Channels Media Group, Mrs. Olusola Momoh.

So, after the powerful and thought provocating lecture of Bishop Kukah titled “Some reasons why Nigeria has failed to achieve greatness”, I decided to stay the night in the ancient town to also allow me to attend the convocation proper the next day. With the journalistic instinct in me, I set to meet Owo people to seek and record their comments and reactions to the performance of Akeredolu as governor of the state, particularlly as a son of Owo and if they will again vote for him in 2020 to complete two terms of eight years.

My first place of call was at a Mama Put local pounded yam joint along the Oba market road where those I spoke with were very optimistic that Aketi, their man will win again and again and yet again if he so wish. I visited other places around the town, even a local palmwine/ bush meat joint down the town at Bonnke area and several other places before I later joined the Pro-chancellor of AUO, Hon. Dr. Bode Ayorinde, our host and other guests, including the Lord Bishop Kukah at a Gala night inside the magnificient Midas Resort and Hotel where we were entertained by Owo Dance group led by Bola Otu and other traditional Owo music and dance groups.

One of the cogent information I gathered during my series of interraction and discussion at all the places I visited was the anxiety of the people over governor Akeredolu ill-health, and the possible cause. For the first time since the news of Aketi sickness broken, It was in Owo that I learnt that the unfortunate situation might not be unconnected with the selection and installation of the new Olowo of Owo, Oba Gbadegesin Ajibade Ogunoye III. My fellow discussants noted that though the selection process and installation of the new monarch was largely peaceful for the first time of such exercise in the highly volatile town, a particular royal house that participated and lost in the selection are not happy with the governor for boosting of peaceful installation of new Olowo from a rival royal family, hence, they decided to attack Aketi spiritually as a protest since they couldn’t protested openly to the governor. It was also revealed at another forum within the town that Governor Akeredolu never hide his hatred of this most powerful royal family to Olowo stool because of the believe that it was their father as Olowo then that sent Akeredolu’s father out of town on trump up charges.

One of such causes linked to Aketi sickness was also attributed to him not respecting the scared traditional institutions, citing his altercations at the place of Abodi of Ikaleland and an ugly incidence with an Islamic scholar in Ikare. The several political battles with both enemies within and outside his political party, APC was also identified as another factor. The conclusion and general believe was that it most likely to have been a jointly coordinated attacks on the rare politician whose sin was his frankness and no nonsense attitude in governance.

The situation of Aketi health issue is like the true story of a street girl who got pregnant after engaging in love affairs with so many guys on same street and now find it very difficult to pinpoint the true father of the unborn child. And when she eventual delivered the baby, she was named “Aatogbarajo” meaning collection of sperms from many sources. This is the seriousness in the Akeredolu sickness.

And back to the elaborate and the most celebrated homecoming of Governor Akeredolu, my own observarion and interpretation of the whole show is that the organisers of the roadshow are out to play a fast game on all the good people of the Sunshine State by making the homecoming a carnival like public event for everyone to see and know that the governor is here with us and to down play and introduce comic relief to the tension within the polity over the long absence of Mr. Governor from the state. But, I can assure you that before you say “welcome sir”, they will take him back on board of another plane, silently in the cover of the night through the back door of Alagbaka Government House Ground, straightforward to the waiting hands of his German doctors in Germany for further medical attention. Many of us will be here arguing among ourselves that the governor is still resting inside the White house long after he might have gone back to Germany for further treatment. Let us pray for the wellness of our darling Aketi at the moment, so that he can really be back home fresher and stronger to continue the work we the good people of Ondo State mandated him to do. Do pray and don’t be carried away by the celebrated homecoming.

Yemi Akintomide wrote from Ireakari Estate 2
Orita-Obele, Akure. E-mail:yemiakintomide02@gmail.com

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