Cabal running Akeredolu’s govt, stealing funds – PDP

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State, on Tuesday, said the state has been grounded economically by an alleged cabal, which hijacked the government of ailing Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.

It, therefore, demanded that Akeredolu should transmit power to his deputy, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, for governance to save the state from being driven into the abyss.

The state chairman of the PDP, Mr Fatai Adams, who spoke in Akure, claimed that people within and outside of government were taking advantage of Akeredolu’s prolonged absence and were stealing government resources.

However, the state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Ade Adetimehin, rubbished the claim, challenging the PDP to name members of the said cabal.

But lamenting Akeredolu’s prolonged absence, the opposition leader said, “We are deeply concerned about the ruinous cost the health challenge of the governor has bestowed upon the state, the most obvious is the emergence of a cabal, largely informal, that has seized every initiative, mindlessly driving our state into penury.

“As we speak, there is no clear leader of government business; the governor remains on his sickbed, the deputy governor is still battling for his political survival, irrespective of President Bola Tinubu’s much-proclaimed intervention and our state continues to wander in darkness. Most disturbing, however, is that our finances are suffering as hard-earned resources of the state are being pilfered by interest groups within and outside government, this is to the detriment of our development and wellbeing.”

Reiterating the call for transmission of power to the deputy governor, the PDP chairman urged Akeredolu to adopt the advice he gave late former President Umar Yar’Adua and transmit the power, so he could concentrate on taking care of his health.

“Much as we know, our governor is sick or at best recuperating, thus he remains missing in action and our state deserves every attention. This is why the Constitution made provisions for a period like this.

“We wish to remind Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of his admonition to (the late) President Umaru Yar‘Adua when he was ill. He (Akeredolu) said and we quote, ‘No matter how much you love your country, it should not be at the detriment of your health. It is not your party or your wife that will determine whether you are capable of handling state matters; it is only your doctors.’

“It is now crystal clear that Akeredolu’s doctors have since instructed him to stay away from his office and state, this certainly underscores the fact that he is currently not fit to handle state matters. We urge Mr Governor to please use his then advice to the late President Yar’Adua and again transmit power to the deputy governor in the interest of our dear state.”

In a swift reaction, the Ondo APC chairman, Adetimehin, described the PDP as a drowning party, adding that the allegation was baseless.

 Adetimehin said, “Adams is my friend but it is always painful to be in the opposition. I could understand his feeling, that is why he is talking for talking sake. Who is the cabal? He should be bold enough to mention them if he knows what he is saying or give evidence. It is mischievous to say the absence of Akeredolu has grounded the state, that a cabal has taken over. I want to tell you that there is no cabal anywhere.

“Their party is drowning and many of their members have openly decamped to the APC; so he is just talking to be noticed, seeking attention that is not there.”

Also reacting, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Charles Titiloye, said, “This is a lie from politicians to blackmail this government. I can say this government I am serving in, there is no cabal anywhere and if they know one, they should tell the general public, rather than blackmailing the government.”

The PUNCH reports that Akeredolu has been away from the state for months. In June, the governor went abroad for medical treatment. Though he wrote to the state Assembly that he would only be away for 21 days, he later sought an extension and did not return to the country until September – three months later.

Since his return to the country, he has not been in Ondo but in his residence in Ibadan, Oyo State. Amid worry over his absence, the deputy governor battled political survival as the Assembly pushed to remove him from office, following a breakdown in the relationship between the governor and the deputy governor, who was accused of gross misconduct.

(Punch)

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No Ondo commissioners forged my signature – Gov Akeredolu

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has refuted claims that some commissioners and state officials are forging his signature.

Recall that a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, Kayode Ajulo had alleged that some government officials were forging Akeredolu’s signature on official documents. 

Ajulo said the vacuum created by Akeredolu due to illness gave cabals the opportunity to forge his signature to legitimize their actions.

Dismissing Ajulo’s remark, Akeredolu, through his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, described the allegation as “utterly preposterous and ludicrous,” while challenging him to present concrete evidence.

A statement by Olatunde accused Ajulo of relying on “fabricated signatures” circulating on social media.

He challenged Ajulo to provide the alleged forged documents or disclose the beneficiary.

According to Olatunde: “We are more than willing to investigate the matter and prosecute anyone found culpable.

“But we cannot entertain baseless speculations and unfounded claims.

“The individuals behind these fabricated signatures are the real culprits engaging in criminal activities.

“The truth of the matter is only Governor Akeredolu can claim that his signature has been forged.”

(Daily Post)

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Ondo lawmakers meet, may declare Aiyedatiwa acting gov

The Ondo State House of Assembly is set to hold a plenary session today to discuss the state’s political situation.

It was reliably gathered that the lawmakers would discuss the issue of the executive arm of the government of the state as the lawmakers may declare the deputy governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, as acting governor, following the inability of the governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, to resume office, due to ill-health.

The governor is still recuperating at his private residence in Ibadan, Oyo State capital.

A source, however, noted that some of the lawmakers might not be at today’s sitting as a result of disagreement among them on the issue of Aiyedatiwa. He also disclosed that today’s sitting had the consent of the National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress.

The source said, ” The lawmakers are ready to meet today (Friday). One of the agenda of the sitting is the declaration of Lucky Aiyedatiwa as the acting governor. Though some of the lawmakers may not be at the meeting today because they are not in support of Aiyedatiwa becoming an acting governor the national leadership of the APC knows about and has approved the meeting. So they may declare Aiyedatiwa acting governor today.”

When contacted, one of the lawmakers and Chairman, House Committee on Information, Mr Olatunji Oshati, confirmed the development but could not confirm if Aiyedatiwa would be declared an acting governor or not.

The Assembly spokesman said,  “What I can tell you for now is that there is something like that, not to declare him (Aiyedatiwa) but the House is going to sit on the matter and review the political situation today as directed by our national leaders. The House has likely ( made the declaration), but not under must, I don’t want to preempt what the outcome of the meeting would be. If it is likely to happen, you are invited as well.”

Meanwhile, it was also gathered that President Bola Tinubu would meet members of the Assembly today in Abuja over the lingering crisis.

Details later…

(Punch)

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Akeredolu: Calls intensified to declare Ondo governor incapacitated

For the past couple of weeks, the call for the resignation of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu has been growing louder as the governor continues to govern Ondo State from far away Ibadan in Oyo State.

DAILY POST reports that the governor has been in Ibadan since he returned from a medical trip in Germany and many in the state believe that governance in the Sunshine State has been on auto-pilot.

Akeredolu left Nigeria on June 13, 2023, for medical treatment in Germany and spent about three months before he returned to Nigeria on September 9. He had earlier notified the Ondo State House of Assembly that he would be taking a 21-day leave and transmitted power to his deputy to govern in an acting capacity.

Upon his return, the governor is yet to set foot in Akure, the state capital, instead, he is staying at his personal residence in Ibadan.

The First Lady, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has been accused of pulling the strings to allow the husband to continue the stay in power despite the reported ill health.

Ondo State has been in political turmoil since the governor returned from his medical trip as his loyalists are making frantic efforts to remove the deputy governor of the state for actions taken during the absence of Mr Akeredolu.

Move to impeach Deputy Governor

Lucky Aiyedatiwa is currently fighting to survive the ongoing political battle as loyalists of Mr Akeredolu are making moves to remove him.

The travails of the deputy governor commenced when Mr Akeredolu returned to the country, and all media aides in the office of the deputy governor were sacked.

The loyalists of the governor in the State Assembly listed 14 offences committed by Mr Aiyedatiwa, including “gross misconduct, abuse of office with actions likely to bring down Ondo State Government, financial recklessness, publication in print media by your media aides maligning the credibility of the Governor, etc”.

The impeachment move has sidelined the deputy governor, who has been fighting in the courts.

The intervention by the National Working Committee of the APC appears to have slowed down the move but the deputy governor seems to have been relegated completely.

However, in the past couple of weeks, the attention has shifted away from the deputy governor to Mr Akeredolu. Ironically, the governor, who was the President of the Nigerian Bar Association during the sickness of Umar Musa Yar’Adua, was very vocal in the call for the resignation of the then-president over his health.

“No matter how much you love your country, it should not be at the detriment of your health. It is not your party or your wife that will decide whether you are capable of handling state matters; it is only your doctors that can decide that. The bar is not asking the president not to come back and take his seat, but the right thing must be done,” Akeredolu had said in 2010.

Steps to declare Akeredolu incapacitated

Kennedy Peretei, the National Publicity Secretary of the Ondo State PDP, had called for the impeachment of the governor for violating the constitution.

“The time has come for the Ondo State House of Assembly to immediately begin the impeachment process of Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, for violation of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.

“It is no longer news that Ondo State has been on auto-pilot for nearly six months, grounding all activities of the government due to the ill health of the Governor,” he said in a statement.

However, the Assembly has consistently defended Mr Akeredolu and ignored any call for action.

According to legal experts, in the case of health challenges, the first move to remove the governor must start from the commissioners, who have the power to declare that the governor is incapacitated.

Rasheed Bakare, a legal practitioner in Abuja, explained to DAILY POST that Section 189 of the 1999 constitution provides the steps to be taken before a governor or deputy governor can be declared incapacitated to continue in that office.

According to section 189 of the Nigerian Constitution, only the commissioners of Ondo State can trigger the process of declaring Mr Akeredolu incapacitated.

The first step is that 2/3 of the state executive council must resolve that the Governor is incapacitated to continue in office.

“189. (1) The Governor or Deputy Governor of a State shall cease to hold office if, by a resolution passed by a two-thirds majority of all members of the executive council of the State, it is declared that the Governor or Deputy Governor is incapable of discharging the functions of his office,” the constitution reads in part.

After the resolution by the body of commissioners, the constitution provides that the speaker must set up a panel to examine the health status of the governor.

The medical panel must comprise five medical practitioners, including the physician of the governor. The panel must determine that the “Governor or Deputy Governor is suffering from such infirmity of body or mind as renders him permanently incapable of discharging the functions of his office, a notice thereof signed by the Speaker of the House of Assembly shall be published in the Official.”

Once the report has been submitted to the speaker, it must be published and the governor is officially removed.

Mr Bakare told DAILY POST that as the law stands, it is going to be difficult to remove Mr Akeredolu or any other governor in Nigeria on the basis of section 189.

According to the legal practitioner, since the Governor appointed the commissioners, it will be hard for them to recommend the removal of their boss.

“The challenge with section 189 is that it is hard to see a commissioner that will say ‘My boss, the governor is sick and unable to perform, so let us pass a vote to that effect’. It is hardly done. In fact, that provision needs amendment.

“Who appoints the commissioners? The governor. For them to pass a vote against the governor, owing to the infirmity of the mind or body— they won’t. It hardly occurs,” he said during a phone interview.

Last week, 33 out of the 35 State Executive Council members passed a vote of confidence on the ailing governor and declared their loyalty to him.

Only the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Razak Obe, and the Commissioner for Commerce, Industry, and Cooperative Services, Akin Sowore did not sign the document.

There are indications that politicians in the state prefer to wait for the next election which is in November 2024. The primary election is scheduled for April next year.

(Daily Post)

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‘Resume or transfer power to your deputy’ – Coalition tells Ondo Gov Akeredolu

A group, Coalition of Civil Society Organisations for Democracy, has called on Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State to resume his responsibilities without further delay or transfer power to his Deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.

The Convener of the group, Dr Tunji Asaolu, while addressing a press conference on Thursday in Abuja, expressed concern over Akeredolu’s prolonged absence from Ondo State.

Asaolu called on all relevant authorities to ensure the seamless transition of power from Akeredolu to his deputy.

He noted that despite the governor’s return from overseas medical treatment, he has yet to resume his duties within the state for several weeks.

The Coalition maintained that the state cannot afford to be without effective leadership, and therefore demanded swift action to rectify the situation.

Asaolu added that while they are praying fervently to God to fully restore Akeredolu’s good health and show him mercy, his protracted absence raises serious concerns about the functionality of governance, effective decision-making and administrative efficiency in the state.

He stressed that the intent of the framers of the Constitution in sections 189,190 and 191 was to avoid any kind of vacuum.

Asaolu maintained that the prolonged absence of the governor creates a governance vacuum, thereby impeding the effective administration of Ondo State.

The Coalition added, “We urge Governor Rotimi Akeredolu to prioritize the needs of the people and to resume his responsibilities without further delay or transfer power to his Deputy. Our state cannot afford to be without effective leadership, and we demand swift action to rectify this situation.

“Equally distressing is the apparent political interference by some persons not elected by the good people of Ondo State, preventing the Deputy Governor from fully discharging his constitutional duties in the absence of Governor Akeredolu. The people know their Governor and his Deputy, not a group of cabal or individuals constituting into “cabal.”

“We condemn any attempts by political jobbers to sow discord between the governor and his deputy, as well as any endeavors to exploit the resulting power vacuum for personal gain.

“We remind all stakeholders that the Constitution empowers the deputy governor to act in the governor’s absence. The political maneuvering preventing this is a violation of the very principles that underpin our democratic system. Ondo State deserves strong and unwavering leadership, especially in challenging times.”

(Daily Post)

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Ondo Assembly resumes deputy gov’s impeachment process, writes CJ

The Ondo State House of Assembly has written to the state Chief Judge, Justice Olusegun Odusola, to constitute a panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct against the deputy governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa.

In a letter signed by the speaker of the Assembly, Mr Olamide Oladiji, and made available to our correspondent on Monday, the House said the impeachment process resumed after the expiration of the ex parte order of the Federal High Court.

The letter was titled, ‘Request to constitute a seven-man panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct against the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, following the expiration of the interim injunction of the Federal High Court in suit FHC/ABJ/CS/1294/2023 by operation of the law.’

The letter read in part, “The Ondo State House of Assembly had on 3rd October 2023 requested your lordship to constitute a seven-man panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct leveled by the House against the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, His Excellency, Hon. Lucky Orimisan Ayedatiwa, in line with Section 188 (5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“In a reply letter dated October 6, 2023, your lordship acknowledged and quoted Section 188 (10) of the Constitution which states that “No proceedings or determination of the House of Assembly or the panel or any matter relating so such proceedings or determination shall be entertained or questioned in any court.”

“Your lordship, however, opined that until the ex parte order made on September 26, 2023, by the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court restraining you from setting up the panel was either vacated or set aside, your hands would continue to be tied.

“However, from the facts and legal advice at the disposal of the House, the said order has now elapsed and/or become extinguished by the operation of the law, in view of the clear provisions of Order 26 Rule 10 (2) & (3) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules, 2019.

“Your lordship would agree that the said order has elapsed by the operation of the law, and no longer constitutes an encumbrance for your lordship to discharge the sacred constitutional obligation placed on your office by virtue of Section 188 (5) of the Constitution to set up the seven-man panel.

“Consequently, the 10th Ondo State House of Assembly hereby calls on your lordship to kindly constitute the Panel without any further delay.”

This development comes a few days after the House announced the suspension of the impeachment process, following the refusal of Justice Odusola to constitute the panel on the grounds of a court order.

(Punch)

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