The Governor of Ondo State Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, in South West Nigeria, has many things going for him. He is a male model. Tall and handsome, he carries a balanced gait with a characteristic shiny white beard. You cannot miss him in a gathering no matter the size of the crowd. Apart from the unique physical endowment, Governor Akeredolu is a genius in his own right. He became a law graduate at a young age of 21 years, and he was, at a time during his undergraduate days at the University of Ife, the Vice-President of the Student Union Government (SUG). He must have carried this ‘aluta’ spirit into his law practice clinching the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) title in 1998 and the Presidency of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) in 2008. He became the Governor of Ondo State in 2017 and dropped all pretences of over-lordship preferring to be addressed simply as ‘Mr. Governor’ rather than the usual ‘His Excellency’ and taking a prefix of ‘Arakunrin’ (or Gentleman) rather the popular ‘High Chief (Dr.) —-’ titles that we know.
Arakunrin Akeredolu is a man of strong conviction. He has been well known before becoming the governor for his strong view on social justice and the need to have an egalitarian society. Recently, he has spoken; loudly and very convincingly, about current issue of insecurity in the country and was the first governor in the South to order the ‘killer’ herdsmen out of his state. Many people have come to regard him as the voice of the people. Now, he has another project that may prove tougher to handle compared to the ‘killer’ herdsmen’s case. He wants the cultivation and medicinal use of cannabis to become legal in Nigeria. He knows how tough this proposition is and from all indications, he is prepared to tackle all oppositions to his pet project. As part of activities lined up to sell the cannabis legalisation project, the Ondo State Government organised a 2-day (7-8th June 2021) roundtable discussion involving diverse interest and professional groups. I think this was a good step taken to involve all stakeholders, including international bodies, to discuss and come to a common understanding on the subject.