YESTERDAY, the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, clocks 61.
UNLIKE other chief executives in other parts of the country, the governor has discarded the normal ostentatious celebration, preferring to mark the occasion privately with members of his family.
WHILE thanking millions of people for the goodwill messages, he wishes that the day be marked also at the various political units and wards across the state with the poor.
THIS is a gesture that shows that the governor empathises with the populace over the economic recession of the present time.
ARAKUNRIN Akeredolu was born on 21 July, 1956 in Owo to Reverend J. Ola Akeredolu of the Akeredolu family and Lady Evangelist Grace B. Akeredolu of Aderoyiju family of Igbotu, Ese Odo, in Ondo State.
HE started his primary education at Government School, Owo, then proceeded to Aquinas College, Akure, Loyola College, Ibadan and Comprehensive High School, Ayetoro for his secondary school education and Higher School Certificate, respectively.
HE went to the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) to study Law, graduating in 1977, before he was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1978.
AKEREDOLU was the Attorney General of Ondo State from 1997 to 1999, becoming a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 1998.
HE is a managing partner at the Law firm of Olujimi & Akeredolu, an establishment he co-founded with Chief Akin Olujinmi, a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice for Nigeria.
In 2008, Akeredolu became the president of the Nigeria Bar Association and was Chairman of the Legal Aid Council between 2005 and 2006.
In 2012, the Nigeria Bar Association named its new secretariat after him, citing the reason being the need for "generational identification and recognition of those who had contributed immensely to the development of the association."
ON July 28, 2012, he was selected as the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate for the governorship election of Ondo State, a move that pitched him in a head-to-head battle with the then incumbent, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and Chief Olusola Oke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
AKEREDOLU had promised to create 30,000 jobs in his first 100 days in office, but it didn't make him defeat Mimiko, even though the promise resulted in the submission of over 10,000 CVs to his campaign office.
HE emerged as the candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC) after a keenly contested primaries that was beamed live on September 3, 2016.
BETWEEN September 4, 2016 and November 24, 2016, Akeredolu campaign team visited all the nooks and crannies of the State where he was widely accepted.
THIS widely acceptance led to his victory that was not challenges by any of his contestants for the November 26, 2015 guber election in Ondo State, a feat that is very rare in the recent time.
ON Sunday, 27 November, 2016, he was announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the winner of Ondo State Governorship election, having defeated his rivals by amassing 244,842 votes.
NEEDLESS to say, his tenure as governor of the Sunshine State marks a watershed in the history of this great state, as he is well-known nationwide as a progressive.
DUBBED Aketi by his political associates, he said in a lecture in 2009 that no amount of electoral reform or judicial system could give Nigeria a free and fair election if Nigerians themselves refused to take practical steps to ensure their votes count
THIS makes him a man who recognises the point that people matter in governance, a fact that makes him want a low-key celebration for his birthday, a departure from the tradition in the state.
IT is this recognition that made him introduce the State Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (BIFMIS), a policy that might have extraordinary consequences in the state's revenue generation going forwards, as it will refocus the process for expanded economic activities.
WE note that the governor recently embarked on a fresh afforestation project, flagged off with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the state government and Wee-wood limited, a Chinese firm.
WE believe that the initiative is a welcome one, more so that when in full operations, it is expected to create jobs for the teeming number of unemployed youths in the state.
THE governor's mission to attract foreign investors to tap into cocoa, bitumen, crude oil and palm oil productions is already yielding fruits, as countries like Australia, Algeria, Britain and the United States are queuing up to buy into Akeredolu's vision.
THE revamping of the Olokola Trade Zone has shown the governor's commitment and determination to move the state towards greater economic activities.
ON the day of his 61st birthday, The Hope wishes him well, and prays that God gives him many more years of service to the state in particular and the nation in general.