Power Tussle: Ondo Gov. Akerodolu Battles Deputy Over Unwillingness To Transfer of Power Following Illness
There is a cold war brewing between Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and his Deputy, Mr. Lucky Ayedatiwa, over the transfer of power, following the incapacitation of the governor
It was gathered that the embattled deputy governor was poised to battle Akeredolu over the issue.
A source, in a chat with Vanguard, disclosed that Akeredolu was aware of the deputy governor’s scheming and his ‘ambition to grab power’.
The government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “The trouble began when Governor Akeredolu went on vacation and entrusted the deputy with the responsibilities of the governor’s office.
“During his short stay as acting governor, the deputy governor, it is alleged, prioritized his interests over that of the state and the governor.
“Some members of the Executive Council alleged that the deputy governor was responsible for the circulation of stories about the governor’s health.
“The deputy governor is behind all these circulating stories. What happened was that after the Cabinet meeting three weeks ago and the subsequent courtesy visits, the governor decided to take some time to rest.
“The truth is that Aketi is a workaholic. Often, we are the ones who have to insist that he takes a break. After the strenuous work he did three weeks ago, he was resting at the government house in Akure. However, some individuals kept disturbing him at his residence.
“Then, last Sunday, he left Akure for Ibadan in the hope of getting some much-needed rest. The governor has been advised to deliberately spend quality time resting. So, the deputy governor went to Ibadan to visit him and brought along some files.
“However, he didn’t inform the governor or his close aides about his visit. Upon reaching Ibadan, the governor signed the files, which were then returned to him. But the governor didn’t wait to talk to the deputy governor.
“When he returned to Akure, he started telling some of our associates that the governor should transfer power to him. He even attempted to persuade Exco members to support his position.
“He deliberately initiated these rumours about the governor’s health to gain public sympathy and support.
“The deputy governor lied to us. It was only when we started contacting the governor ourselves that we learned the truth.
“Just last Monday, the governor signed the May 2023 salary. The fact that the ministries are functioning should assure you that the governor is in charge and actively involved. At present, he is upset and pissed with these false stories.”
Transfer of Power
Multiple sources, however, said that the deputy governor has allegedly formed a group within the cabinet and has promised a Commissioner the position of the deputy if power was transferred to him.
An insider disclosed that: “Presently, all these individuals are aligned within the same camp, waiting for the governor to transfer power to the deputy. Their loyalty is questionable.”
Meanwhile, a group, the Renewed Mandate Progressives Forum, RMPF, has warned the deputy governor against confusing the state by seizing power.
The group, in a statement by its coordinator, Maxwell Olajuni, alleged that the deputy governor is “inciting other members of the cabinet against the governor.”
The statement reads: “We have reliable information that the deputy governor has made plans to challenge the governor for his seat. We are aware that Mr. Governor has been facing health challenges, but we have observed his recovery and his continued functioning.
“Recently, we received reports that the deputy governor has been meeting with various groups, offering them large sums of money to blackmail the governor using his health status as an excuse.
“Instead of praying for his boss and supporting him, the deputy governor seems determined to engage in a battle for the governorship.
“He is overly fixated on the office of the governor. He should wait until 2024 to contest for the governorship and allow Aketi to complete his tenure.
“We are compelled to raise this alarm due to the governor’s numerous contributions to the Nigerian project.”
Dep gov’s loyalty to Akeredolu not in doubt —Aide
Reacting to the allegations, the deputy governor insisted that his unalloyed loyalty to the governor was not in doubt.
Ayedatiwa, who spoke through one of his aides, said he would remain loyal and grateful to Akeredolu forever.
The aide, who spoke in confidence, said: “We’re praying for the quick return of the governor and the restoration of his health.”
No division between Akeredolu, Ayedatiwa—Ondo govt
Also, reacting, the Information and Orientation Commissioner, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, denied a split in the cabinet over the governor’s incapacitation.
Ademola-Olateju said: “The Cabinet cannot be disunited when directives emanate from the office of the Governor.
“There is no ambiguity in that respect. Members of the public are enjoyed to disregard the wicked rumour of incapacitation.
“We reiterate that the Governor has been discharging the functions of his office effectively. Governance requires collectivity.
“The fixation on the governor is mischievous. There is no crisis in the State. Political jobbers should steer clear.”