There is tension in Ondo as lawmakers in the state House of Assembly hold its first plenary tomorrow, Tuesday, November 28, 2023, after meeting with President Bola Tinubu over the political crisis that engulfed the state.
Several interpretations have been adduced on the outcome of the meeting with some supporters of Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, insisting that the resolution was for him to be declared acting governor.
Sources within Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s cabinet said plots were uncovered to ambush the governor and declare Aiyedatiwa acting governor against the agreement reached with President Tinubu.
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Tinubu, Ajuri Ngelale, in a statement issued after the meeting, said President Tinubu advised status quo be maintained.
He said: “This means that Governor Akeredolu remains the Chief Executive of the State, Aiyedatiwa remains deputy governor, and members of the State Executive Council continue their respective duties, even as the leadership of the State’s House of Assembly and the APC Chapter in Ondo State is preserved.”
What raised tension in the state, according was a move by 11 lawmakers loyal to Aiyedatiwa to woo Akeredolu’s loyalists to their side
One of the lawmakers who was called last night after they returned from Abuja said there was an insistence that Aiyedatiwa must be declared acting governor at Tuesday’s plenary.
He said: “Last night (Sunday) a number of us received a call from the deputy governor. He informed us that he must be declared acting Governor on Tuesday. When we reminded him that it wasn’t part of the resolutions reached at the meeting with the President, he said the president can’t tell us how to run Ondo state.
“All efforts to make the deputy governor understand that the resolutions would only engender peace and allow the state to move forward, he yelled and said over his dead body would Akeredolu remain as governor.
“The deputy governor has failed to understand that the President has given the best political solution to the issue at hand. I wonder what Mr. Deputy Governor wants again. The agreement is that you should go and do your job. Represent your boss and get the people together. Is that too hard?
“Why is he hell-bent on becoming acting governor? Is he doing it in the interest of the people of the state? The answer is definitely no! Aiyedatiwa believes that the only way for him to become governor is if he forcefully takes power from Akeredolu now.
“The painful part is the unbridled affront to the President’s directive that the status quo should remain. President Tinubu is a man who should be respected in Ondo State. Especially if you are a loyal member of the APC, you must understand that Tinubu has invested so much in the party over the years.”
The state chairman of the party, Hon. Ade Adetimehin, said no politician in the state would move against the resolution reached with President Tinubu on the impasse in the state.
He said: “There’s nothing of such, no one dares go against the resolution reached with the President. Can anyone go against what President Tinubu has pronounced? That agreement stands and nothing more”
Speaker of Assembly, Hon Olamide Oladiji, said the lawmakers are in line with the outcome of the meeting with President Tinubu.
Oladiji said, “Go and read the statement from the state at the meeting. That will answer all your questions.”
Majority Leader of the House, Hon. Emmanuel Ogunmolasuyi, in a phone call said there was no plan to either welcome the deputy governor with fanfare on Tuesday or proclaim him as the acting governor.
“It was collectively agreed that Akeredolu remains the Governor while Aiyedatiwa remains the Deputy Governor and not as Acting Governor.
“The meeting also agreed that there should be no impeachment, the House of Assembly remains one while the State Exco remains intact. No sacking of any member and party Exco remains intact.’
Also, the Ondo Progressives Network (OPN) has expressed worry over speculations and reports that the Aiyedatiwa was plotting with some lawmakers to make him Acting Governor.
The group, in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Ogunika Taiwo, cautioned those backing Aiyedatiwa that a breach of the resolution reached with the President would amount to subordination and flagrant disrespect.
The statement reads, “We have observed a growing trend of discontent and dissatisfaction in the camp of the deputy governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa. The activities of his known and close allies and personal aides have shown a total rejection of the stance of the President and other stakeholders who attended the Abuja meeting.
“However, we are saddened by the latest news and speculations of plots by the Deputy Governor in collaboration with some members of the House of Assembly to declare him acting Governor against the resolutions reached in Abuja. We consider this as an act of insubordination and gross disrespect to the office of the President.
“We will like to advise the Deputy Governor, Aiyedatiwa to be guided in his ambitious drive and resist the lure of desperation and insatiable quest for power. The agreement reached in Abuja would serve the interests of the people and the state. It is not out of place for the deputy governor to continue to function as deputy governor without forcefully taking over power in the state.
“We are privy to the fact that arrangements have been concluded to disobey the directive of the President and declare Aiyedatiwa as acting governor tomorrow. We don’t want to believe the rumour that money has exchanged hands and some people want to justify their pay. Beyond personal sentiments, we must uphold the integrity and principles we are known for in Ondo state.
“This is a clarion call to the deputy Governor to lay all these matters to rest. Continue to function as deputy Governor and desist from troubling the political water of the state. Fortunately, the election is around the corner. Since Mr. Deputy Governor is interested in the next election, we think disobeying the President will amount to political suicide.”
“Let peace reign supreme in Ondo State. The deputy governor should also, as a matter of urgency, call his followers and allies to order. What else does Aiyedatiwa want? The President has stopped your impeachment. You have been guaranteed to stay till the end of the tenure. Why is he hell-bent on becoming acting governor?”
Aiyedatiwa could not be reached for comments.
Credit: The Nation