The Acting Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, on Thursday, addressed the people of the “Sunshine State” upon assumption of office.
This is his maiden speech in the state following the transmission of power to him by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, who had been battling illness.
The Acting Governor pledged a commitment to serve the state wholeheartedly.
See full text of Aiyedatiwa maiden speech:
My good people of Ondo State,
I address you today with a humble heart and a mixed feeling. The events which have culminated in today’s address is a watershed in the annals of our experience as a people. It is not a moment of celebration, but rather a moment of sober reflection. A moment for us to really appreciate the collective burden of moving our State forward. The events of the past months have indeed challenged our love for our State and indeed democracy which we all profess.
Throughout the whirlwind and the storm, we held fast to our firm belief that we owe it a duty to ourselves, the people and posterity not to allow the suspense and confusion go on without end because of its dire implications for our development and progress in Ondo State. At no time in our history has unity among our people been so vital as it is at the present time. Unity of purpose, unity of effort and unity of spirit which are all essential to accomplish the task before us. It is necessary for us to acknowledge with pride, the profound legacies and the place of our leader and father of the State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON, the Governor of Ondo State. We acknowledge the sterling leadership and character he has provided for the State. Mr. Governor is a transformational and courageous leader who has turned around the fortunes of the State in the last six and-a-half years. His records of performance are monumental and here with us.
In all facets of our development, be it governance, security, health, education, economy, infrastructure, industrialisation and others, his footprints are foundational and will serve the State in greater heights in the future. Above all and as you all know our Governor has been a strong, effectual and respected voice in matters of national development, doing the Sunshine State proud at all fora. The State will forever be grateful to Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN, CON for driving our development so well. We are really proud of him.
At this juncture, permit me to say that only God Almighty has explanations for what happened in the last few months. When nature sets in to hinder human performance, it is always a painful thing. We must acknowledge that the key to the well-being of a man is in the hands of God. It is not for us as humans to question God but to pray for His mercies upon our lives. It is in this regard that we admit with all sense of responsibility that the intrigues that ensued due to Mr Governor’s health challenges were indeed avoidable distractions. We ought to have done better so as to keep giving Ondo State the seamless and solid governance which Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON, had established in the State in the last six-and-a-half years.
As a government, we must appreciate the sovereignty of the people that voted us into office and we regret in no unmistakable terms the toll which this whole episode had inflicted on the psyche of the People and the development of the State. Despite all these, my dear people, I come to you today, to urge you all not to relent, as you have always done, in your prayers for the quick restoration of good health and strength to our leader, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON.
Also of paramount importance is the expectation of our people that we continue to deliver on the mandate given to Mr. Governor and my humble self . We must return quickly to the path of accelerated progress that has eluded the State in the last few months. We must excuse unnecessary distractions. We can no longer be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We must stand together until the end. We must come back stronger and more determined to advance the welfare and security of our people, being the primary.
object of government as encapsulated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended. Let us build a shared future from a divided past. We owe no less to the good people of the Sunshine State.
Bearing in mind that the very huge responsibility of governance, i must emphasise that the task is indeed not one that one individual can accomplish alone. It is a gigantic task that requires inclusive engagement, focus and collective actions from both the government and the governed. We, therefore, implore you all across the State, young and old, to contribute your utmost commitment, cooperation and support towards advancing the State in our development trajectory.
May I on this note express our deep appreciation to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, the Senate President His Excellency Godwin Akpabio, the National Chairman of our Party APC, His Excellency Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and other top national officials of the Party for providing succour to Ondo State at our critical time of cloud and need. I extend our profound gratitude to the good people of our dear State, the speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly, members of the state Executive Council, our Senators and members of the House of Representatives, members of the Ondo State the House of Assembly, the State Chairman, working committee members and leaders of our great party, the APC. We also owe a debt of gratitude to our traditional rulers, religious leaders and especially our elder Statesmen in the State led by our father, Papa Reuben Fasoranti. May I also express our profound gratitude to the civil servants of Ondo State, Civil Society Organisations, the Media and the youths for their patriotism and for being part of the peace process to guarantee continued sustenance of the pride of place of the Sunshine State in the comity of States.
I cannot but specially appreciate the third arm of Government, the Judiciary through the honourable chief Judge, for its courage, commitment and dedication to protect democracy and the constitution of the nation. It is on record that we all sailed through the unnecessary and avoidable weather together. We won together. We are all one large family. We are one great people with one focus : to make our State greater than it is today.
At a personal level, I am confident that our democracy would be further enriched with the hard lessons learnt from this episode. For us in government, this whole experience should open a new place in our hearts; a place where we must appreciate that the trust vested in us as a part of the small privileged percentage of people, must be used for the best welfare of the larger percentage of the people. We must rise far above the intrigues and instability of the past and roll up our sleeves in service of the people. We are nothing but trustees of the people with whom we share a common humanity. We must and we will exercise with utmost discretion the privileges conferred on us by the great people of Ondo State.
Finally and bearing in mind the foregoing, I therefore wish to assure you all that it is with a deep sense of humility and a heart of absolute commitment to the good of our Sunshine State that I accept the onerous assignment, during this temporary absence of Mr. Governor, to serve you as the Acting Governor of Ondo State.
Yesterday is already behind us. This is the time to carry aloft, with love and affection for one another, the laudable vision and mission of the. Governor for the State. I appeal to every member of the Government of Ondo state for your genuine support, cooperation and dedication. We need a renewed unity to berth the significant and accelerated development clearly envisioned and vigorously pursued by Mr. Governor. My good people of Ondo state, what happened in the past was a temporary delay in our democratic journey. As a government we have recovered.
In conclusion i wish to end this address by urging you all to continue to pray for the mighty healing of God to embrace and hasten the recovery of our leader, the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON to enable him return to office, hale and hearty.
May God bless Ondo State.
May He bless our dear Governor and have mercy upon us all.