Standing on one’s own feet is good, but standing up for others is more honourable. The efficacy of this distinguishing worldview has been sufficiently proven by both evidential and experiential factors, and in profound ways. Throughout history, this astounding stance has consistently made incredible leaders of the few who are either humble enough to live by it or fortunate to be guided by it.
Aketi made this choice ahead of time and has since made a date with destiny. For over four astonishing decades, I watched him live by this amazing principle while
exhibiting the traits and tendencies of a sterling leader that he has become. By strides, as opposed to guises, he found a covetable nitche as a leader with renown. As opposed to demagogues who feed fat on prejudices, he has been an intrepid advocate of equity, fairness and justice; a quintessence of good governance who has
set a lasting and lustrous standard for emerging leaders.
Darlin’ mi, you’re not just a rare incarnate, you are a special breed that I am blessed to call mine. From that moment that I fell for your charm and broad shoulders as a dashing corps member in Enugu, our bond has flourished as though a littoral lettuce. Crossing the Niger with you was an inter-ethnic experiment, or risk? that I dare say has been a fulfilling adventure. You have never ceased to represent that constant and competent compass the family needs to forge a path, yet you allowed me to be me; always willing to give me the latitude to spread my wings unhindered.
On the public podium, you have become synonymous with valour while your voice and choices have been unmistakably clear on the side of truth. It is rather dumbfounding how you do the business of leadership with relative ease and simplicity. As a poster child for bravery, empathy and compassion, you have deployed political clout in the mould that gives you out as an oasis of a sort in a clime arguably bereft of the beautiful ones, yet you transcended sociocultural gates in a highly heterogeneous setting to gain the tag of a statesman, and justifiably so.
While ours, like others’ has not been a bed of roses, we have taken significant leaps and at each turn emerged stronger. That we share so much in common evidenced the mileage already covered. Small wonder therefore that we are so fused to the extent that many have variously portrayed, albeit taken at face value. And each time you banter with the remark that Ondo State voted for one and got two instead, it reminds me of the seamless blend that we have become. How true!
One cannot but be proud of your achievements, attainment, and, of course, your difference. As your partner, long-standing friend, super spouse and unsparing critic, I testify loudly to your talent, forthrightness and uncanny public spirit, all of which you have admirably brought to bear on governance. 66 is rather symbolic, signifying balance and harmony. It is a telling message of perfection that I wish you have in great measure. Walking this route with you has been worth it, and I dare say that I chose right. If I had to start over, I would choose you again.
As you add another today, I wish you renewed strength as eagle’s, unfettered joy over all your own and the grace to finish strong.
Congratulations, Darlin’ mi. Olówó Orí mi!
- Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu ( Ada Owere 1)