AKETI AN UNEXAMINED LIFE
BY FRANCIS OJO
Socrates, that ancient explorer of ideas once submitted: “An unexamined life is not worth living.” By that, the Greek thinker meant a life not crushed under a crucible of reflection, examination and analysis to filter out purpose is useless. He thought, and modern thinkers believe him, that purpose must be the anchor to hold down thoughts in a human’s voyage through life. I am yet to observe, in Rotimi Akeredolu, evidence of subscription to this idea. You can then understand why I am concerned for his place in history. In a few months, his journey through Ondo State would screech to a terminus, but the only activity in the State is the impeachment threats on his Deputy.
If those before him; those whose names are rendered in love songs; Ajasin, Adefarati, Mimiko identify themselves with the ideology of Obafemi Awolowo by planting indelible landmarks in Ondo, thus marking their contributions with marble or granite plaques, Akeredolu’s emblems are marked by destruction of these monuments and cannibalisation of useful items from the remnants of these contributions. Most of Baba Ajasin, Baba Aderarati and Olusegun Mimiko legacy projects have been destroyed for lack of maintenance. Even the oxygen generating plants installed in all the ‘Mother and Child’ Hospitals have been dismantled and carted away during COVID. Hard to believe is the rumour that some of the School buses Mimiko conveyed children in were taken to Imo State when Arabirin Betty tried to wrestle a Senate seat from Okorocha are yet to find their way back to Akure. Some say that they are packed in Arabirin’s father’s compound in Imo State.
The Governor is sick, seriously unwell, yet fake contracts are being issued, vouchers prepared, checks written with a spirit of the Governor signing on dotted lines even when he was between life and death in Germany. Like one Ondo citizen said, of the rumors: “‘Ara Bàbá ò yá, ara Bàbá ò yá, èko, nwolé ewé njáde.” They keep telling us the man is unwell and cannot eat a mussel, we see corn porridge flowing to his dark bedroom and ordinary wrappers out.”
WHAT WILL AKEREDOLU LEAVE BEHIND?
Glistening on the marble plaque of Ondo State polytechnic Owo is the date of commissioning of that school and the name of Adekunle Ajasin embossed for posterity. Baba served for only 4 years. Also, down there in Ado Ekiti is a similar emblem of service planted on the soil of that University when Ekiti State was a member of the Ondo family. Baba Adefarati, a 4-year tenure Governor, bought into the Socratic idea following in the footsteps of Ajasin, the man who appointed him commissioner. He placed his name on the commissioning space of Ondo State University, Akungba his native homeland where today, the little village-turned university town bears his imprimatur. Olusegun Mimiko, Iroko, throughout his 8-year tenure, gave the impression of a man insanely driven to a rendezvous to meet a date with history with undistracted attention to the poor. He hugged history like a lover in the heat of passion, His ‘caring heart’ built University of Health Sciences, Ondo; Mother and Child series of Hospitals all across the State and Mega schools all over the Local Government headquarters of the State. For pregnant women, from conception to childbirth, health service was completely free. All that stopped when Akeredolu entered. What will Akeredolu emboss on plaques in his 8-year journey as legacy achievements? Is it me? Am I blind? Why can I not tag anything to Aketi? Akeredolu came with hope, he is leaving with hopelessness.
Akeredolu is a man appointed for monumental grace, none of which appears to manifest through any special effort of his or the wealth of his progenitors. Why was he specially anointed? Again, the Lord works in mysterious ways. “B’óti wu elédùmarè ní ns’olá’ è.” But why, in the 11th hour of his reign, and twilight of his life is this happening to him? Karma; when the Lord loves you and gives you everything, and you misuse and subject your grace to abuse, he can decide to show you, hoping for your repentance. I pray it is not too late for prayers and forgiveness.
Tall, handsome with a winning smile when he chooses to be charming, an explosive temper when poised to fight and a presence too imposing to ignore at any time; calm or agitated, he is gifted in far too many ways. His career reads like a fictional story of unusual success: A law degree from university in Ile Ife, A flourishing legal practice with his friend and partner, former Attorney general of the Federation Akin Olujimi at Ibadan, elevation to the silk as senior advocate of Nigeria. But his grace gets broader. He became Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association, the apex body of lawyers in the Federation and thereafter climbed up to become Governor of Ondo State for two terms of office. At 68, he is blessed with a rich harvest of children and grandchildren. What more can a man want? And Akeredolu must, if he is still conscious, ask himself how much did he pay to deserve this uncommon grace of Almighty God? What more does he still want for which he needs to die cheaply in office? Why does he think he needs to battle his Deputy to stop him from carrying on after him? If it is the wish of God that Aiyedatiwa should be Governor, can Akeredolu stop grace? When you have been decorated with much blessing in life, the Yoruba believe that you must be humble and express gratitude to God, asking yourself, why he finds you deserving of grace. They render this in a beautiful song:
Èèló ni mo san, f’óba Ògo? (How much did I pay to God Almighty?)
Èló ni Jesu mi gbà? (How much did Jesus charge me)
Èló ni mo san, f’óba Ògo? (How much did I pay God)
F’ore rè, nínú aiyé mi? (To deserve his grace in my life)
In summary, what is the price of grace in Aketi’s life? Is Governor Akeredolu asking such questions?
If he was wise, this should be his early morning devotional song. For, to whom much is given, reflection is in order, that much is expected by the people of Ondo State. If he is still sentient, to a level of acceptable consciousness at this time, and can think straight, no matter how peripherally and sing, no matter how low or soft his voice, this is still the appropriate song before daybreak. For, if he were to examine his life, he would ask himself “What price did I pay for grace?” How much are my blessings worth in shekels or Naira? It is therefore reasonable and urgent, that this man defies the pressure of his ambitious son, Babajide and his obviously uncaring wife, Betty and resign the position of Governor of Ondo State immediately. After all, his Administration ends next year. If he wants to remain with the grace, to live and worship his creator, to show humility and gratitude to the fountain of his fortunes, he will wish to reach for his life back from the rehabilitation centre in Germany where he may still be able to restore his health before it is too late. “Ení bá mo’nú rò, á m’opé dá.” He who has capacity for thought would have a space in his mind for gratitude. Brother Aketi must create space for gratitude if he is still conscious because the graph of his life plotted on paper had a peak in its elevation when last I checked before he came to Ondo State. But I am convinced this will not happen. His ‘ôgá pátá pátá on top,’ aunty Betty and the de-facto Governor of Ondo State, his incredibly ambitious and grabby son, Babajide will not let this happen.
HE SERVED YORUBA IN TIME OF NEED
Yet we must be kind to this man for courage, boldness and doggedness in the Yoruba Nation’s fight against the Buhari instigated Fulani attempt to overrun the homeland. Let me say clearly that though Akeredolu may not be popular in Ondo State, he stood like the rock of Gibraltar against attempts to populate and redesign the racial demography of Yorubaland. Sensing the danger and bravely confronting it like Napoleon Bonaparte, Akeredolu rallied the South West Governors and set an example by quickly setting up his own component of ‘Amotekun’ Security system at a time other Governors shivered and cowered before the Fulani. No true Yoruba son can forget this man. My prayers are with him at this time. I beg all citizens of Ondo State to find it in their hearts to forgive his mistakes and pray for him. What is manifesting must make us forgiving as his stay is temporary and look forward to fortifying the state by electing a good successor.
Aketi is a man in need of external support as it has become obvious that his wife, Betty and son Babajide operate him as a utilitarian machine to scoop state asset into their bulging piggy bank. Let us try to be magnanimous in the understanding that power and situations belong to God and beseech God to heal him of his ailment and restore him to manageable health.
HE GETS NO LOVE AT HOME, GIVES NO LOVE TO ONDO
Governor Akeredolu is confronting challenges to his health but he has chosen to go into hiding. Or alternatively, those running his life are hiding him to prolong their avaricious consumption of state resources. Political observers insist however that Babajide, his ‘acting-governor’ son and Betty his ‘boss-wife’ are fully in charge and the remaining tenure of his mandate is in their greedy hands. The immediate project now, rumors claim, is to impeach the Deputy Governor, make the Speaker Governor and Babajide, Deputy Governor, Aketi can then resign thereafter, go back to hospital in Germany to see if he can still live a few more years. Plan B is also in the works in case this fails. Find a compliant insider among the Commissioners, make him Gubernatorial candidate and make him run with Babajide as Deputy. The interest of the family with Arabirin Betty as supervisor is paramount, ‘per adventure.’ When last he appeared on television before he went for attention in Germany, the Governor looked aged, weak, hard of hearing and could barely manage to stay erect. Now in hiding, we can only hope he is fine.
Akeredolu is suffering today because love left him hanging within his household at some point in life. When we pray for success, a proper definition is important. Those whose life hang on yours, and on who your’s balance must exchange the soft stuff called love in a genuine, voluntary and reciprocal way for your life to be successful. The Governor must beg God to torch the mind of his family so he can begin to enjoy true love at home in his time of difficulty. While his genuine friends have been locked out of circulating with him, Betty, his aggressive wife and Babajide her ambitious son and alter ego in Ondo State governance, many observers allege, have been busy cleaning out, mopping the resources of the State and chopping without bothering to clean mouth or paying attention to the sick man. There have since been other bizarre occasions when the First Lady demonstrated open insularity to her husband’s plight, like when the man was bedridden in Germany and Arabirin Betty was arranging a city walk to mark her 70th birthday in Akure before alarms blew from Abuja.
Aketi’s life must have deep teaching moments for men in current power and enjoying temporary celebration of office. The lesson is that of a philosophical type. The man appears to care little about a place in history. And that is very sad for one in whom God almighty has invested so much. If it is about health, we have nothing to say because as mere mortals, the future for us all is unpredictable. If it is about purpose, that is a choice we can make in a life so short and opportunity equally narrow. And if Akeredolu is still sentient, able to think and reflect; if the man is still in control, capable of asserting himself and not imprisoned at Ibadan by forces of evil at home, if some serious members of his fractured and some hint, fractionalised family still genuinely care and want to show love, those who sign Ondo State checks with his forged signature should sign on the dotted lines of RESIGNATION now, so Ondo state can be liberated, Aketi can be set free to hire a private Jet back to Germany and a free and fair election arranged for Ondo State. After all, only a few months remain for a regulation exit. The latest news is that President Tinubu has given his government a lease of life in order to avoid disgrace. Let us hope he will cling to it by resigning with a little dignity.