Akeredolu to Ondo people: ‘We can rise out of this dust’

Mr. Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu (SAN) mounted the saddle as Ondo State sixth executive governor yesterday with a charge to the people to dust themselves up for the task of rebuilding the state.

“We can rise out of this dust and build a new Ondo State where honesty, prosperity and confidence can once again be our self-identity,” Akeredolu said, moment after he took the oath  of office  in succession to Dr. Olusegun  Mimiko.

Watching with rapt attention from the stands were thousands of people from all walks of life including politicians, clerics, traditional rulers and the masses.

National chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun was there as were former interim chairman of the party, Chief Adebisi Akande; APC national leader ,Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Senate President  Bukola Saraki, House of Representatives Deputy Speaker  Lasun Yusuf and eight governors.

“We can pull ourselves by the bootstraps and shake off our current frustrations and disappointments,” Akeredolu said.

“We must recognise the need for a cohesive platform, indispensable to an effective and efficient implementation of policies and programmes of both government and party, respectively.

“Divergence of opinions is integral to party politics. We are bound to disagree as politicians but we must cast aside bitter recriminations and destructive predilections.

“Democracy thrives on infinite multiplicity of ideas. Popular participation is one of its fundamental norms. The subordination of individual preferences for the collective will is essential if we are to avoid anarchy. Party supremacy should be respected at all times. This should not be difficult for us to accept if we are truly desirous of bringing about positive change in the lives of our people.”

He paid tribute to the people for picking him ahead of other contestants in the last election.

He particularly acknowledged the role played by President Muhammadu Buhari in his emergence as governor, saying: “Today’s celebration would, perhaps, have been impossible without his steely disposition to always stand against all acts not in consonance with decency, probity and justice.”

Of party chair, Oyegun, the governor said: “This exemplary leader behaved like a true elder, whose sagely presence in the village square not only professed rectitude but acted it, resolutely, affirming nobility of the human spirit. Our party benefitted, tremendously, from his vast experience in public service. We are eternally grateful. The verdict of history shall be kind to him.”
Akeredolu  also acknowledged Tinubu and others leaders of his party.

He hailed ex-Gov.Mimiko  for “his several years of service to Ondo State.”

He said he came with “ a message of hope, a clear agenda of prosperity and a vision of life abundant,” pointing out that  “the greatest expression of faith in our ability is to be strong enough to look upon our imperfections and decide that it is in our power to remake our society to align with our highest ideals.”

“We listened to the voices of our people in the course of our campaigns to all the nooks and crannies of the state. We heard them loud and clear through their votes. We witnessed, first hand, the deplorable conditions under which they exist. To those who cast their ballots in favour of our programmes, your trust is not misplaced. We are determined to make the difference with the specific mandate of redemption liberally handed over to us. Those who expressed other preferences are no less patriotic.

“Before long, their anxieties will be addressed, realistically. All of us will be involved in the reconstruction project. The collective interest of the state must be our paramount focus. Consequently, we stand before you to pledge, with the guidance of God and our resolve not to renege on our promise, that your welfare shall form the basis of all our activities.

“To achieve this, the main mission of our administration is therefore to lead a patriotic, highly inspired and competent team to rescue the ship of our state. We intend to help rebuild our economy, resuscitate damaged infrastructure, restore hope and return our state to a prosperous land. We are determined as an administration to break down the barriers that have made stagnation possible. We will break down the barriers to honest leadership, to comprehensive development, to physical growth and social security.

“These, we intend to do through the promotion of transparent leadership, rule of law, extensive consultation, quality and accessible public utilities and social security; all in a sustainable manner.”
The governor   arrived the venue 11.18 am, in the company of his wife, Betty, shortly after the Deputy  Governor,   Ajayi Agboola, was sworn-in by the Acting Chief Judge of the state, Justice Tayo Osoba.

Akeredolu,wearing  a white  guinea brocade agbada,a  blue cap and black shoes went straight to the pavilion reserved for the  APC leaders.

On sighting Tinubu, the governor removed his cap as a show of respect for the APC leader and soon, the duo were locked in a warm embrace to the applause of the crowd.

He then proceeded to inspect a guard of honour mounted by the police.

The administration of the oath of office on him by Justice Osoba followed at exactly 11.35 am.
As early as 8.am, the Akure Township Stadium, venue of the ceremony had been filled to capacity by well-wishers.

Adding glamour to the occasion were different   cultural troupes, including the Owo Cultural group, from the home town of the new governor, the APC, Kiribo and Abode cultural groups.

Other witnesses to the historic event were the governor’s aged mother, Grace; Governors  Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun); Godwin Obaseki (Edo);Yahya  Bello (Kogi);Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa); Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi).
Others were former Ondo State governor Evangelist Bamidele Olumilua; former Ogun State governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba; former Ekiti State governor, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo; former Osun State governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola who represented former President Olusegun Obasanjo; and APC National Vice Chairman, Southwest, Chief Pius Akinyelure.

The roll call also includes Senators Gbenga Ashafa, ýOlusola Adeyeye, Dino Melaye, Ajayi Boroffice, Tayo Alasoadura, Isiaka Adeleke, Yele Omogunwa, Hon. Babatunde Kolawole, Friday Olemija, Mayowa Akinfolarin, and Victor Akinjo.

The traditional institution was represented by the Olowo of Owo, Oba Folagbade Olateru-Olagbegi;  Osemawe of Ondo, Oba Victor Kiladejo; Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi; and  Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan.

The Ooni of Ife sent a delegation
Also present were Solid Mineral Development Minister  Kayode Fayemi; Information Minister Lai Muhammed; Communication Minister, Adebayo Shittu; Agriculture Minister Audu Ogbeh; Labour and Productivity Minister Chris Ngige; Ondo APC, Chairman, Isaac Kekemeke; his Ekiti and Oyo state counterparts, Jide Awe and Akin Oke respectively; Engr. Ade Adetimehin, Chief Rotimi Ibidapo, Dr. Bode Olajumoke, Pius Olupitan, Engr. Funso Kupolokun, and Ayo Afolabi.