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Our love made abusers envious, says ex-state first lady in Nigeria at husband’s graveside



Betty Akeredolu

Echoes of domestic violence and women repression in Africa again reverberated from the graveside of Rotimi Akeredolu, late governor of Ondo, South West Nigeria.

Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, wife of the departed governor, while bidding the husband farewell says those who assaulted their wives mocked her late husband for being loving.

It puts an entirely new perspective on the controversy around the former state first lady while her husband was battling illness in office.

Much of the power transmission controversy that attended the later part of late governor tenure was attributed to the wife, with many insisting that she was the power behind the throne in Ondo.

Constitutionally, spouses of governors do not wield any power.

But Anyanwu-Akeredolu’s influence in Ondo’s seat of power was all pervasive.

It didn’t also help, say some, that she is Igbo, from South East Nigeria.

But her eulogy at her husband’s grave side while being interred in Owo, Ondo, raises the never dying spectre of patriarchy, male domination and systematic suppression of women folks in Africa.

“Not a few lashed out that you were a weakling because you loved me,” she said.

Addressing the belief, she said: “I don’t think so.

“In their homes, while growing up, they saw their mothers trampled upon as doormats, beaten up like punch bags.

“They copied the template and treated their wives as pieces of furniture that can be easily be discarded as trash.

“And in many instances, the subjugation was garnished with beatings while the community looked the other way and remained unperturbed as gender-based violence reigned supreme nationwide,” she said.

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“In civilised climes, if you beat your wife, jail awaits you even if you are a governor,” stated Mrs Akeredolu.

“They marvel that a Nigerian man can love his wife. To them na only Oyibo (white) man dey love.”

Although the former first lady did not mention any names, it is believed that she referred to a few aides in her late husband’s cabinet, who claimed Mr Akeredolu was weak in matters regarding his wife.

Mrs Akeredolu had faced difficult times from political supporters and aides of her late husband, as she constantly used her social media pages to throw shade at her critics while her husband was on sick bed.

She also described the former Ondo governor as a lovely, passionate and caring man, saying, “Na love at first sight brought us together, biko. No be juju! (I was not hexed) Na love, make me cross the Niger.

“That love at first sight turned out to be true and pure. And you were proud to say it.

“You were proud to show it

“You were even prouder to tell the people of Ondo State, and beyond that, we were a team.

“You were audacious to tell your people that ‘you voted for one but got two’.

“A testimony of my positive contribution to your life and career, emotionally and intellectually,” she said.

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