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Guilty Alive, Innocent in Death

From the moment the news of the late governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu’s passing was made public, the airwaves have been permeated with a dangerous and false narrative. that Aketi, as he was called, was a good man who was misled by his wicked wife, straight from the plot of a hundred Nollywood movies of the early 2000s.

Those who know the truth of Aketi’s governance scorecard are allowing the wife, Betty, to become the scapegoat for reasons best known to them while policing people’s opinions of the man himself. As usual, the dead are whitewashed because no one should speak “ill of the dead” when even scriptures that teach morality and moderation recognize that the “evil that men do live after them”.

Betty is no Mother Theresa, but she and her late husband were the Bonnie and Clyde of Ondo politics whose marital unity was on a level never before seen in the state. In fact, Betty is the most visible ‘first lady’ of the state so far, and contrary to what the bigots would like to believe, it was because her husband gave her the platform. Whatever authority and influence she enjoyed, they could have used that ‘marital unity’ to advance the state and write their names in gold, but they were too power-drunk and shortsighted, a plague common to the Nigerian elite.

The very idea that Aketi was in any way innocent is not only ridiculous but also the product of the imagination of very simple minds deliberately fueled by malicious people playing their usual game of divisive politics. Anyone who truly knew Aketi would know he could do bad all by himself. He doesn’t need to hide behind Betty’s skirts. This is a man who tarred the roads within the estate he lives in his hometown as a sitting governor and deviously left out the part that passed in front of the homes of ‘political enemies’ for years. Imagine the pettiness of tarring a stretch of road, skipping four houses, and then continuing the road. He appointed his son as director-general of the state’s performance and project implementation monitoring unit. There are several instances of him abusing his executive powers, which makes one wonder where the fictional innocent Aketi came from.

Did Betty prioritize her ambitions over her husband’s health? Of course, she did. Was she graceless and uncouth as a first lady? Certainly. But it is no different from what the majority of the wives of our current politicians in executive offices would do in her shoes, with no relation whatsoever to her tribe. Turai Yar’adua did the same. Remi Tinubu was accused of it during the campaigns because of Bola’s obvious frailty.

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