Akeredolu’s absence and the emergence of a cabal
Since 1st of May, 2023, when the sickness of Ondo state Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu exacerbated, the destinies and fates of about five million Ondo state citizens and denizens have been hanging in the balance owing to the emergence and egregious activities of members of the governor’s power block- the Cabal, for personal aggrandisements will stop at nothing to stampede and sabotage the Acting Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa from effective pro tem running of government pending the time the Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu will fully recover and return from his sick leave abroad.
I have provided enough literature on the peremptory and imperious leadership style that Governor Akeredolu imposed on state since 2017 when he was first sworn in as the sixth democratically elected governor of the Sunshine state and his inability to tame his family’s overbearing interference in the running of the state’s affairs. This is equally manifestly evident from the present current general status of things in the state.
Not only that, the governor’s highhandedness and seemly greenness in statecraft was largely responsible for his former Deputy, His Excellency Alfred Agboola Ajayi’s refusal and total turned down of all entreaties to persuade him to run again with him in 2020. This explains why the maltreatment of the current Deputy Governor, His Excellency, Lucky Aiyedatiwa enjoys statewide condemnation. In spite of the public upbraid, Aketi would not budge an inch in the way he treats his deputy, personalizes governance and state-owned property.
For instance, the Ondo State Government House which is located in the heart of Alagbaka – Akure has about twenty buildings. The Government House is the size of a village with serene environment and arranged horticulture. The environment has all modern facilities including a standard Police Station, Fuel Station, well equipped hospital, halls, event centers and about eleven power pack generators.
Also, there are decent places of worship – a church, a mosque and multiple T-junctions with centenarian Iroko trees that can easily be converted to shrines for the original traditional worshipers and those who may just want to pour libations in the middle of the night to appease their ancestors. All these are fortified with high perimeter fence. Maintenance and running of the Government House costs hundreds of millions yearly just for The Governor!
It will interest you to know that the above-described Government House was originally designed and built to accommodate the Governor, Deputy Governor, Secretary to the State Government, Chief of Staff and few other senior government officials. This has been personalized by Mr. Governor and members of his immediate family members.
Ironically, few months to the end of their four-year tenure, the Deputy Governor still resides and operates from his private residence at Alagbaka Extension. While both the governor’s son, Babajide and his son in-law have newly built separate lodges within the Government House. More worrisome, is the fact that Babajide Akeredolu has successfully converted the Deputy Governor’s to a computer room, where progress and the release of election results are being monitored.
In my two previous interventions on this matter, I have venerated and exonerated the Governor for doing the needful – transmitting power to his deputy while he takes his time to attend to his deteriorating health and fully recuperate in an undisclosed hospital in Germany. Perhaps, all that was a camouflage and a decoy to allow the public uproar about activities of the Cabal dwindle. Transmission of power is on paper and even no one ever saw the paper. It is a mirage!
Members of the Governor’s clique have been emboldened and continued to sabotage and subvert the Acting Governor’s effort to assume full and smooth running of government and its machineries while Mr Governor is away as stipulated by the Constitution.
Section 190 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) is apposite: “Whenever the Governor transmits to the Speaker of the House of Assembly a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is otherwise unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to the Speaker of the House of Assembly a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Deputy Governor as Acting Governor.”
One would expect that the State Executive Council which is populated by senior lawyers including Mr. Governor who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the Secretary to the State Government, Mrs Oladuni Odu, Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Charles Titiloye, strict adherence to the provisions of the grundnorm would not be too difficult.
Ridiculously, reverse is the case. Activities of members of the Cabre continue to put the state in the bad light and even subject the state to national embarrassment. The recent incident where the immediate past National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, (APC) Abdullahi Adamu declared the governor as incapacitated was one of many occasions where the state has failed to present a concerted leadership when it was most required. The forthcoming governorship election may have orchestrated the powerplay. Every ambitious politician in the ruling party has definitely joined the imminent rat race.
So, instead of all the state government officials – political and the civil servants – to report and take orders from the Acting Governor, the manner and way they would have done to Mr. Governor for the progress and smooth running of the State, it seems they all work at cross purposes. There were days when more than four persons represented the same governor who is officially on sick leave. There is this sustained propensity to represent or deploy the name and power of the governor to gain undue favour or spite the Acting Governor ultimately to besmirch his reputation. Like Chinua Achebe’s famous line: “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”
In the same vein, the Governor’s media handlers do not help matter, they have continued unabated to misinform and feed the public gibberish. Today they would issue press statement to say the Governor is still in Germany, the day that follows they would say he presented vehicles to the State’s law makers. How does a man who is on an official leave still perform the duty of the same office he temporarily vacates?
Bitter experience and the fear of the unknown may have jolted the Deputy Governor who is now the Acting Governor to be too careful to act. It is good to play the character of Oliver Goldsmith’s ‘She Stoops to Conquer’. But how long and how low can he stoop without breaking?
Understandably, the politicians are all silent and indolent hoping against hope, waiting for appointments which do not exist. Report from the Governor’s office says there is a heap of files waiting executive approval but none is coming.
Ostensibly, there is the persistent instruction and a consistent silent whisper from the Governor to the members of the all-powerful Cabal to continue disregarding the Acting Governor’s approval apart from the monthly payment of workers’ salary. The streets are dirty; health institutions have all collapsed; all capital projects grounded. There is no recruitment of new teachers or any innovation in the education sector. The entire state machinery is in limbo simply because one man is indisposed. The welfare and the collective wellbeing of over five million people has been put on hold.
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