Aiyedatiwa takes over, Tinubu, govs say Akeredolu’s death big loss

Acting Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, was on Wednesday sworn in as the substantive governor of the state following the death of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu earlier in the day.

Akeredolu, aged 67, passed away on Wednesday morning while undergoing treatment for prostate cancer in a German hospital.

Born on July 21, 1956, Akeredolu studied Law at the Obafemi Awolowo University (then the University of Ife) graduating in 1977. He was called to the bar in 1978.

His demise generated an outpouring of tributes and condolence messages from President Bola Tinubu, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, the Ooni of Ife, the Nigerian Bar Association, the Christian Association of Nigeria, and other eminent Nigerians, who described his death as a big loss to the country.

In line with the constitution, Aiyedatiwa was sworn in as the seventh executive governor of the Sunshine State by the state Chief Judge Justice Olusegun Odusola.

He took the oath of allegiance at 5.15pm, swore the oath of office at 5:17pm, and signed the Oath Register at about 5:19pm.

‘Man of courage’

In his maiden address, the new governor described his former boss, Akeredolu, as a man of courage and conviction who always stood for the truth even at his own detriment.

He vowed to continue with the developmental ideas of the late former governor and also solicited support and cooperation from the stakeholders.

He said, “Today’s (Wednesday ), event has placed a burden on all of us to pull together and stay together as one because we have the onerous responsibility to continue to sustain the legacies of Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON, which was good governance, properly called.

“Our leader and governor, during his time embarked upon several landmark projects, many of which have been completed and several ongoing. We now have the responsibility to complete them.

“It is to the credit of Arakunrin Akeredolu, that the state now has a flyover in Ore, while the one in Akure is ongoing. It is necessary for us to acknowledge with pride the wonderful achievements and legacies of Arakunrin Akeredolu. His records of performance are monumental and unprecedented.’’

He said the people of the South-West would forever be grateful to Akeredolu, who as the Chairman of the governors in the zone ensured the establishment of Amotekun, the region’s security outfit which tackled kidnapping and other crimes

Present at the inauguration were the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Olamide Oladiji; Secretary to the State Government, Oladunni Odu, some state executive council members; the Head of Service, Pastor Kayode Ogundele, former deputy governors, permanent secretaries, Chairman of the All Progressives Congress in the state, Ade Adetimehin, the Chief of Staff to the late governor, Chief Olugbenga Ale, party supporters, among others.

Before his death, Akeredolu had transferred power to Aiyedatiwa via a letter to the state House of Assembly on December 13, 2023, when he was to proceed on medical leave in Germany.

The development followed the intervention of President Tinubu who intervened in the crisis that resulted from the failure of Akeredolu to hand over to his deputy after he returned to the country from Germany in September.

Although Akeredolu returned to Nigeria in the first week of September after a three-month medical leave, he was operating from Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

The state House of Assembly had commenced an impeachment process against the deputy governor over allegations of gross misconduct.

This led to a division in the state assembly and the state executive council as well as the state chapter of the All Progressives Congress.

In a bid to resolve the crisis, Tinubu met with the leadership of the assembly and the state APC at the State House, Abuja, last month, where it was decided that Aiyedatiwa should take over as the acting governor.

The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, announced the governor’s death in a statement saying, “Mr governor peacefully departed from this world in the early hours of today, Wednesday, December 27, 2023.”

The statement was titled, ‘It is a sad day in Ondo State.’

 It read, “With a heavy heart, the Ondo State Government announces the passing of our beloved Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, CON.

 “Mr governor peacefully departed from this world in the early hours of today, Wednesday, December 27, 2023. This tragedy has left behind a profound void in our hearts.

“Governor Akeredolu answered the eternal call while receiving medical treatment in Germany. He succumbed to complications arising from protracted prostate cancer.”

It noted that a letter had been sent to the President to officially inform him of the governor’s death.

The family and the Ondo State Government appreciate Mr President’s support for Governor Akeredolu during his illness. The family and the state government will release further details regarding the funeral arrangements.

“Governor Akeredolu was an extraordinary leader whose unwavering dedication to the state and its people was both commendable and unparalleled.’’

Meanwhile, the new governor, in a statement on Wednesday evening  in Akure by his Chief Press Secretary, Ebenezer Adeniyan,  declared three-day mourning.

According to Aiyedatiwa, the period of mourning, with fasting and prayer, takes effect from Thursday and ends on Saturday.

Akeredolu’s aides resign

Shortly before the swearing-in of Aiyedatiwa, the Special Adviser to Akeredolu on Union Matters and Special Duties, Mr Dare Aragbaye and the Chief Press Secretary Mr Richard Olatunde resigned from office.

In the letters of resignation signed by the duo, addressed to the office of the Secretary to the State Government on Wednesday, the aides cited the demise of the governor as the reason for their action. The letters came in, some hours after the death of Governor Akeredolu.

Aragbaye’s letter was titled ‘Resignation of appointment as Special Adviser Union Matters and Special Duties.’

The letter read, “I write to refer to the subject above and to resign my appointment as Special Adviser Union Matters and Special Duties with effect from today, Wednesday 27, December 2023. My decision to resign is based on the unfortunate death of my principal a fearless and honest leader, Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredulu, SAN, CON , whom I am loyal to even in death.

“I sincerely thank His Excellency for the opportunity granted me to serve in his administration as a member of the State Executive Council first as a Head of Service and now as Special Adviser. Please accept the assurances of my esteemed regards. “

Olatunde in his letter titled ‘Resignation Letter’ partly read, “ It is with a heavy heart and deep sadness that I tender my resignation as the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, effective from today, Wednesday 27, 2023.”

It further stated,” My decision to resign from office is hinged on the unfortunate and untimely death of our leader, principal, and father figure, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, CON.”

The Ondo State Government Secretariat was in a sombre mood following the death of the governor as the workers who resumed office after the Christmas holiday wore somber looks.

They were seen in groups discussing the development while many of them could not carry out any official duty.

Tinubu in a personally signed statement expressing his grief described the second-term governor, who was expected to conclude his tenure in 2024, as a fearless fighter, brother, confidant, and political soulmate.

He stated, “Today, I mourn a fighter and fearless defender of truth and the masses…brother, confidant, political soulmate, and the Executive Governor of Ondo State.”

He further noted, “Rotimi was a man of ideas and action. While he was with us, he taught us the power of action and service.

“In Ondo State, where he had the honour to serve as the governor over the past six years, he served his people with absolute loyalty, dedication, and forthrightness,” said the President.

In the tribute titled, ‘I mourn my fearless brother, Rotimi Akeredolu,’ Tinubu said: “Rotimi has played his role well and left us untimely. We will never see his likes again. Let me tell the people of Ondo State that I am grieving with you. We will honour Rotimi’s memory and make sure his legacy of service is never forgotten.

“In my grief and sadness, I have telephoned his wife, Betty, and Acting Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa to commiserate with them and urge them to take heart over this national tragedy.

“Governor Akeredolu was not just a friend and associate, the departed leader was a brother and a soulmate. His death is a blow to our governing APC and the progressive family as we are diminished by it.”

Govs mourn

Also, the governors of Oyo, Lagos, Osun, Edo, Ogun, Kogi, Benue, and Delta states expressed profound sorrow over the death of the former chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum.

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State described Akeredolu, who, until his death, was the Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, as a dogged fighter and courageous leader.

Makinde, in a statement issued in Ibadan on Wednesday by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Sulaimon Olanrewaju, expressed heartfelt condolences to the late governor’s wife, the entire family as well as the government and the people of Ondo State.

The Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, while expressing grief over the sad development, said Akeredolu would be greatly missed for his positive impacts in Ondo State, South-West, and Nigeria as a whole.

Sanwo-Olu in a statement issued on Wednesday by his Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, commiserated with Aiyedatiwa, Akeredolu’s widow, Dr Betty Akeredolu, and the entire family and friends of the deceased.

In a tribute, Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, submitted that Akeredolu’s death had denied Nigeria one of its finest.

Adeleke in a condolence message signed by his spokesperson, Olawale Rasheed, on Wednesday, said he was deeply touched by Akeredolu’s death, who he said made great contributions to Nigeria in the legal field and public service.

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, lauded the departed governor for his bravery and independence of mind, noting that he served his people meritoriously and diligently.

Obaseki in a statement on Wednesday, asserted that Akeredolu’s intellect, hard work, and diligence stood him out and was reflected in his attainments and the fervour in which he served the good people of Ondo State.

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, described the death of his Ondo State counterpart as tragic.

In his condolence message to Aiyedatiwa, the family of the deceased, and the Ondo people, Prince Abiodun described Akeredolu as a dogged fighter throughout his lifetime.

Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, in a statement, described the tragic passing of his Ondo State counterpart as a monumental loss to the nation.

“Akeredolu’s unwavering commitment and dedication in steering the ship of democracy and good governance during his seven-year tenure as the Governor of Ondo are acknowledged with deep admiration,” Bello pointed out.

Benue State Governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, similarly expressed sadness over the death of his Ondo colleague and a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghani Na’Abba.

In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Kula Tersoo, the governor described Akeredolu as a gentleman, who he said gave his all in trying to change the fortunes of his state.

The Delta State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwori has expressed deep sadness on the passing of the Ondo governor, saying he was an urbane and cerebral leader of great value who was progressively committed to the growth and development of Ondo State and Nigeria.

Governor Oborevwori, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sir Festus Ahon in Asaba, expressed his condolences to Akeredolu’s wife, Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, family members, the government and people of Ondo State on the passing of the renowned senior lawyer.

The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, described the demise of the Ondo governor as a huge loss to the Yoruba race and Nigeria at large.

Ooni, who stated this in a statement he issued on Wednesday, said that the late governor was an epitome of honesty and courage, who lived a life worthy of emulation.

According to him, the Oduduwa race had lost a pillar of honesty and courage; a man who served humanity with his expertise as a legal luminary, experienced politician, and true descendant of Oduduwa.

“When we were challenged at the grassroots by invaders who masqueraded as herdsmen, Aketi worked with stakeholders across South-West and the national level to deliver our mandate of security and prosperity.’’

“This birthed Amotekun and other initiatives through which our people are safer and more confident to embark on their lawful businesses daily.

“He was an honest, bold, and courageous leader whose legacy will never be forgotten. If Akeredolu tells you anything, that is the way it is.

 “His death is a personal loss to me because we were very close, right from our days as students of Loyola College, Ibadan to date.’’

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, also joined other Nigerians to mourn Akeredolu, whom he described as a politician with exceptional leadership skills.

 The APC national chairman, in a tribute released by his Chief Press Secretary, Edwin Olofu, in Abuja, stressed that the death of the former NBA president was a great loss not only to the Ondo people but to Nigerians as a whole.

. The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, observed that the ex-NBA president would be sorely missed.

 Fagbemi, in a statement on Wednesday, recalled Akeredolu’s days as the president of the NBA, saying he brought immense growth to the bar.

 The 2023 Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, commiserated with the families of N’Abba and Akeredolu.

He described the deceased men as quintessential gentlemen who took finesse to governance.

 Atiku noted that the two-term elected governor of the Sunshine State, Akeredolu, was a politician of class because he was never known for destructive politics.

“Hon. Na’Abba on the other hand raised the bar of legislative enterprise in Nigeria as it is evident that the 1st Session of the National Assembly where he served with distinction between 1999-2003 remains one of the best in the annals of our legislatures,’’ he added.

The Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, has also joined others in mourning the demise of Akeredolu and Na’Abba.

The former Anambra State governor said their deaths showed the nothingness of life.

Obi stated this in a condolence message via his verified X handle on Wednesday.

He noted that the death of the two prominent Nigerians has shown political officeholders that it is important for them to remain committed to good works.

Obi stated, “I was opportune to be close to Akeredolu as the then President of the Nigerian Bar Association, he invited me to speak at an NBA event and since then we remained close and always discussed issues about Nigeria.”

President of the Senate, Senator Godwill Akpabio, expressed shock over the death of the Ondo state governor, describing him as “a nationalist and the Iroko of the Sunshine state.”

Akpabio in a statement issued in Abuja by his special adviser on media and publicity, Eseme Eyiboh, said Akeredolu was a leader who knew his onions and was indeed the Iroko of Ondo state as he defended the state with all his strength as governor.

The Senate president eulogised the late governor whom he said spent his active life fighting for justice, fairness, and equity adding that as a nationalist, “Akeredolu believed in true federalism, which he pursued with passion and vigour.”

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Abbas Tajudeen, expressed sadness over the death of Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu describing his demise as a painful loss.

In a statement issued on Wednesday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Musa Krishi, Mr Abbas described Akeredolu’s death as a big blow to the APC even as he said that the late governor was one of the brilliant legal minds in the ruling party.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has also mourned the passage of his colleague, describing Akeredolu as an exceptional statesman who made indelible marks in public service.

The Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum and Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Yahaya, conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the government and people of Ondo State over the governor’s death.

Yahaya, on behalf of the 19 northern governors, mourned the loss of Akeredolu, in a press statement signed by Director-General Press Affairs Ismaila Misilli describing the governor as “a senior figure, friend, resilient advocate, and a visionary leader whose attributes of excellence and remarkable brilliance positively influenced the transformation of Ondo State and contributed to the development of the country.”

On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party said the governor’s death was shocking, noting that he would be missed for his leadership capacity, especially in his roles towards the unity, stability, and development of the nation.

Reacting to the tragedy, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba in a statement on Wednesday, said, “His death is a huge national loss. He was an unrepentant fighter for fairness, equity and justice in the affairs of the nation.

‘’He believed in true federalism, respect, defence, and protection of ethnic nationalities which he advocated as a prerequisite for peace and development in our nation.

“The PDP commiserates with Governor Akeredolu’s widow, Betty Akeredolu, his children, and the people of Ondo State. We pray to God to grant them the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss and to the faithful departed, eternal rest in His Bosom.”

The Nigerian Bar Association, Ibadan branch, has also mourned the passage of the governor, describing him as one of its shining lights.

The Chairman of the association, Mrs Folasade Aladeniyi, said this on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.

According to her, with Akeredolu’s death, NBA Ibadan branch has lost one of its brightest, a friend, mentor, and fearless man as well as a caring patron.

Similarly, a legal practitioner, Mr Tobi Fatoki, said that the governor’s death was shocking and sad, adding that Nigerian lawyers had lost a legend.

 The Chairman of the Ondo State Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Anselm Ologunwa eulogised the late governor, saying his death was a colossal loss to the state and Nigeria as a whole.

Ologunwa, in a statement by the Director of Information and Communication of the association, Mr Daisi Ajayi, expressed shock over the news of the death.

He described Akeredolu as a great fighter of democracy, a dedicated and loving father of all.

(Punch)

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Unpaid salaries: Ondo tertiary institutions workers begin strike January

Workers of the Ondo State-owned universities and other tertiary institutions have vowed to commence industrial action on January 1, 2024, following an alleged non-payment of salaries and allowances.

This was contained in a statement titled ‘Why we may not resume work in January,’ and issued by the Chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council of the Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa, Mr Dayo Temola, on Wednesday.

According to Temola, who stated on behalf of other unions in government-owned tertiary institutions in the state, the decision was taken during the meeting of the JAC of tertiary institutions in the state, held at the University of Medical Science in Ondo, last week.

The statement read, “The non-teaching staff of Olusegun Agagu University have vowed not to resume until the government resolved to implement the 2019 minimum wage and pay the wage award of N35,000 as a result of the removal of fuel subsidy.”

In the statement,  the unions frowned at the alleged delay in the release of  “subvention to our institution in Ondo State by the present government.

“Based on the above, the JAC of state tertiary Institutions in Ondo State cannot guarantee industrial harmony starting from January 1, 2023.”

(Punch)

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I returned to Nigeria homeless after 30 years in UK, US – Ondo man

A 68-year-old man from Ondo State, Joseph Ibironke, who claimed to have spent nine years in the United Kingdom and 21 years in the United States before he found himself in Nigeria after a strange illness, shares his experiences with FATTEH HAMID

Where are you from?

I’m Pastor Joseph Ibironke. Officially, I was born on February 2, 1955. I’m from Igbara Oke, in the Ifedore Idanre Local Government Area of Ondo State.

Where do you live now?

Currently, I live in Lameco, Sango Ota, Ogun State. The place is very close to the Nigerian Breweries in Sango.

What do you do to earn a living now?

I’m a minister of God, and some people support me to earn a living.

Where were you born?

Ondo State.

How many siblings do you have?

We were 11 (children). I’m the last child. Before I left Nigeria, two died and after I left Nigeria and came back, I had six siblings, but at the moment, I have three siblings from my parents left.

Which schools did you attend?

I attended Anglican Grammar School, Igbara Oke, Ondo State, before I proceeded to the University of Lagos. However, I didn’t finish my programme over there. While I was there, I joined the National Bank in 1980. While working in the bank, I was studying for a certificate programme. I passed stage one in Nigeria before I moved to London. I can remember that Union Bank snatched me from National Bank at the time. So, I was working with Union Bank before I moved to London for further studies. When I got to London, I attended a Bible college and I also attended Unity College, North London.

What did you study at UNILAG?

I studied Banking and Finance in UNILAG, though I didn’t graduate before moving to the UK.

When did you leave Nigeria and how old were you then?

I left Nigeria in the 1980s. If memory serves me right, I was in my 30s when I left Nigeria and that should be between 1983 and 1984.

What took you abroad?

Just the same reason many Nigerians leave today. The system in the country was bad and all my friends and I were seeking greener pastures. I left Nigeria for a better life.

How many years did you spend in the United Kingdom?

I spent nine years in London before moving to the United States.

What did you spend your time doing during those years? Did you also have a job there?

I was working. I worked as a security officer after I was trained as a security guard at Burns International Security Services Limited, United Kingdom. I was trained as an armed guard. When I moved to the US, I also worked with them for a while.

Did you become a UK citizen?

I had a British passport.

Where’s your passport?

I misplaced it. I declared it missing and the British Government replaced it, but it went missing again. I went back for the passport and I was told that I was careless with the British property and that it wouldn’t be replaced for me.

When was that?

I can’t remember but it was in 2007.

Why did you leave the UK for the United States?

It was because the UK was too tight but America was free. You can make it very fast in the US. At that time, my friends were there and advised me to move to the US.

How many years did you spend in the US?

I spent 21 years in the United States of America.

Did you get another job there?

As I earlier said, I worked with Burns and I also worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation Police Department before I resigned because God called me to be a pastor. That was when I resigned in Los Angeles after working for about two years. Also, I had a store in Orange County, California, which was predominantly occupied by whites, no blacks lived there. In Orange County, I sold sophisticated electronics. I was always going to Japan to buy electronics and sell them. I was also the only black in Orange County at the time who made it (was successful).

Were you married with children when you were abroad?

Yes, I was married with four children. Right now, I don’t know their whereabouts and it’s very painful knowing you have children somewhere and you don’t know where they are. But I know that they can’t suffer over there. Their mother left me after my sickness.

What is your wife’s name and where is she from?

Her name is Helen, Helen Jones. She’s a citizen of the United States and is from Texas.

Where did you meet her?

We met in California before we moved to Tampa, Florida. From Tampa, we moved back to California and later back to Texas.

What are the names of the children you had together?

I don’t want to disclose their names.

In a video on social media, you claimed not to have known how you found yourself in Nigeria after spending 21 years in the US and nine years in the UK. Does that mean you never wanted to return to Nigeria?

No, I wanted to return home but was regularly stopped by my brother.

Were there times your family (parents or siblings) in Nigeria wanted you to return home for one reason or another?

When I wanted to come home, I was advised not to return home and that Nigeria was bad. Also, I had people I knew in New York who came and returned to the United States. I felt that (returning to Nigeria) wasn’t anything to bother about and that I was going to return to Nigeria. If they (my family members) couldn’t be hurt, I wouldn’t be hurt. On my birthday that year, I called my brother and told him that I was going to visit Nigeria and celebrate the next Easter. I sent N25,000 to them in Nigeria and told them to help me prepare for my arrival but before February ended, I became sick.

What was the nature of your sickness?

My wife told me that one midnight after making love together and we slept, I started barking like a dog, and that I was foaming in my mouth. She told me that she was scared, called for help and an ambulance was called and they rushed me to Cal State Teaching Hospital, California. I was there for 14 months and the doctors couldn’t detect what was wrong with me. Nigerians over there (in the US) who saw me and my condition said it was a spiritual attack and advised that I be taken back to Nigeria for treatment. My family in Nigeria was called and it was arranged that I be taken to Nigeria. My elder brother, Williams, and his first son, Kayode Ibironke, whom I sponsored throughout his education, both received me at the airport (in Nigeria) and took me to the psychiatry hospital in Sabo Yaba, where I was abandoned.

What type of treatment did you receive at the hospital?

At the psychiatric hospital, they dragged me out because no one visited me or asked about me. Later, I was taken to (a correctional service in) Kirikiri by the hospital when they saw me wandering on the road. I was in Kirikiri when the Redeemed Christian Church of God came to visit the prison and heard about me, saw my records, and saw my documents, that I was from the United States. The church took me back to the psychiatric hospital and was responsible for my treatment, clothing, and feeding.

However, no one checked on me again after some time and I ended up under a bridge in Oshodi. I was there for a while before some policemen saw me. I told them my story and they checked my documents. One of them took me to Ikeja, gave me N5,000, and told me I would be able to get help there. On the third day, I was in Ikeja when Kolawole Olawuyi’s Labe Orun team came to see me with some human rights activists. I didn’t have an idea how they got to know my story. They told me that they were informed that someone from the US was sleeping there (under the bridge). It was Labe Orun who took me to Pakoto Prayer Mountain in Ifo, where I spent six years before I recovered, even though not completely. It was under the leadership of Prophet Ezekiel Oladeinde, popularly called Baba Pakoto, that I recovered.

At what point did you realise that you were in Nigeria?

After my recovery at Pakoto.

What year was that?

That was in 2014.

Do you have properties in Nigeria?

I used to have one before leaving Nigeria. I had a house on Number 14, Olasumbo Street, Sabo Yaba, Lagos State. It was only my brother that knew about it.

Who was managing the property for you when you were away?

My elder brother, Williams Ibironke.

Have you been able to take possession of the property? Or what happened to it?

When I was going to the UK, I called my siblings and I showed them all the documents of the house which I handed over to my Nigerian wife who I was living with, with two children at the time. In the presence of my siblings, after handing it over to her, she knelt in front of my brother and asked him to keep the house documents for us since he was a father figure in the family at the time. My wife gave it to my older brother and my other siblings also said that it was the best thing to do. I left for the UK after that time. I didn’t spend up to six months before my wife was kicked out of my Nigerian house, and it was sold. My wife ran to our village where my eldest son died after she was unable to pay N150 for his treatment as I was later told by my wife. She had to run to her village to take care of my second son who was barely four months old when I left Nigeria.

Where are your second son and wife now?

The boy is now 43 years old. He is married with three children. I met him physically this year in June after I fully recovered from my illness and went to visit his mother. He narrated to me how life was tough for him and he is still struggling.

Where is your brother and his son now?

Both are dead. Kayode died a few years ago.

Having claimed that your siblings took over your property, did you contact the police?

The police didn’t help me build my house. I don’t believe in the policing system in Nigeria. In a rotten system like Nigeria and against a dead person? Not happening.

Can you remember the exact day you returned to Nigeria?

I cannot remember.

Do you desire to go back to meet your family in the US if you’re cleared to travel back?

Yes, I intend to go back to the United States but my intention is not to die over there. I just want to live a good life.

What do you plan to do next?

To live a good life for the rest of my life.

(Punch)

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Ondo: Acting gov, Aiyedatiwa rejects Akeredolu’s chief protocol officer

The Ondo State acting Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has suspended the Chief of Protocol to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, Bola Alabi, and replaced him with the Deputy Chief of Staff, Olusegun Omojuwa.

This was contained in a circular sent to all the concerned departments in the state government by Omojuwa. The circular was titled ‘Preparation of the acting governor’s engagements’.

In the circular, made available to Saturday PUNCH on Friday, Alabi is expected to go back to his duty post when the governor returns from the medical vacation in Germany.

It read, “The acting Governor of Ondo State, Hon. Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, has directed me to inform all members of the State Executive Council and top government functionaries that the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor will be responsible for the preparation and signing of his official engagements for the time being.

“The Chief of Protocol (Mr Bola Alabi) will take charge of this responsibility as soon as Mr Governor resumes from his medical vacation.

“Kindly take note for your guidance and co-operation from time to time.”

Meanwhile, after resuming office on Thursday, Aiyedatiwa started performing his duties as the acting governor of the state, as it was gathered that he had been attending to some administrative matters in the office.

(Punch)

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Ondo: I won’t deviate from Akeredolu’s vision – Acting gov

The Ondo State acting Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, on Thursday, called on the people of the state and all stakeholders to join him in carrying out the vision of his principal, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, to move the state forward.

The PUNCH reports that Aiyedatiwa, again, stepped in on Wednesday as acting governor after Akeredolu wrote to inform the state House of Assembly that he was returning to Germany for a follow-up on his medical treatment.

The ailing governor first went to Germany to seek medical treatment in June and returned in September. During the three months that he was away, his deputy operated as acting governor.

But on Akeredolu’s return in September, evidence of a crack in the relationship between him and his deputy emerged after he sacked all his deputy’s media aides and the Assembly moved to impeach Aiyedatiwa for alleged gross misconduct he was accused of committing while operating as acting governor.

The crisis became a legal matter and both the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress and  President Bola Tinubu had to wade in by inviting stakeholders to Abuja twice for meetings.

On Thursday, Aiyedatiwa, for the second time, took office as acting governor.

In a statewide broadcast, on Thursday, Aiyedatiwa admitted that the political crisis that had engulfed the state in recent times had indeed challenged the love for the state and democracy, urging everyone to forget the past, come together and join hands with him to develop the state.

He said, “Yesterday is already behind us. This is the time to carry aloft, with love and affection for one another, the laudable vision and mission of the governor for the state. I appeal to every member of the Government of Ondo State for your genuine support, cooperation and dedication.

“We need a renewed unity to berth the significant and accelerated development clearly envisioned and vigorously pursued by Mr Governor.

“My good people of Ondo State, what happened in the past was a temporary delay in our democratic journey. As a government, we have recovered.”

According to him, the political crisis which lingered for some months delayed the progress of the state and affected the people, hence, the need for all stakeholders to come together to work for the people.

“Also of paramount importance is the expectation of our people that we continue to deliver on the mandate given to Mr Governor and my humble self. We must return quickly to the path of accelerated progress that has eluded the state in the last few months. We must excuse unnecessary distractions.

 “We can no longer be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We must stand together until the end. We must come back stronger and more determined to advance the welfare and security of our people, being the primary objective of government as encapsulated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.”

Aiyedatiwa lauded President Tinubu, the National Chairman of the APC, Abdullahi Ganduje, and other stakeholders at the state and the national level for their intervention in resolving the crisis.

(Punch)

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Crisis around Akeredolu’s health halted Ondo’s progress, says Aiyedatiwa

The Ondo State Acting Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has called on the people of the state and all stakeholders to join him in carrying out the vision of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, in moving the state forward.

Akeredolu had transmitted power to Aiyedatiwa to act as the governor after he returned to Germany on medical vacation.

The governor had also informed the state House of Assembly about the development through a letter on Wednesday.

The acting governor, in a statewide broadcast, on Thursday,  admitted that the political crisis that had engulfed the state in recent time have challenged the love for the state and democracy, urging everyone to forget the past, come together, and join hands with him to develop the state.

He said, “Yesterday is already behind us. This is the time to carry aloft, with love and affection for one another, the laudable vision and mission of the governor for the state. I appeal to every member of the government
of Ondo State for your genuine support, cooperation, and dedication.

” We need a renewed unity to berth the significant and accelerated development clearly envisioned and vigorously pursued by Mr. Governor.

“My good people of Ondo state, what happened in the past was a temporary delay in our democratic journey. As a government, we have recovered.”

According to him, the political crisis which lingered for some months delayed the progress of the state and affected the people, hence the need for all stakeholders to come together to work for the people.

“Also of paramount importance is the expectation of our people that we continue to deliver on the mandate given to Mr. Governor and my humble self. We must return quickly to the path of accelerated progress that has eluded the state in the last few months. We must excuse unnecessary distractions.

“We can no longer be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We must stand together until the end. We must come back stronger and more determined to advance the welfare and security of our people, being the primary objective of government as encapsulated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended,” he charged

Aiyedatiwa lauded President Bola Tinubu, the National Chairman of All Progressives Congress, Abdullahi Ganduje, and other stakeholders at the state and the national level for their intervention in resolving the crisis.

(Punch)

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NHRC, FIDA, NSCDC seek monarch’s support in combatting gender-based violence in Akure Community

Victor Alade, SIO

Breaking barriers on International Human Rights Day, 2023, the Ondo National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in collaboration with FIDA Nigeria Ondo Chapter and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ondo State Command, spearheaded an empowering rally against gender-based violence (SGBV) in the State.

The tripartite delegation, led by the dynamic FIDA chairperson, NHRC State Coordinator, and the NSCDC Human Rights Desk officer, orchestrated a visit to the esteemed Oba of Isinkan Kingdom, HRH Olugbenga Ojo, Oral’opo of Isinkan in his palace.

In a compelling display of advocacy, the delegation emphasized the crucial role of the traditional ruler in curbing violence against women and girls. The FIDA chairperson while speaking subtly and strategically sought the collaboration of the Council of Traditional Rulers, leveraging on the influence of the King to enhance the impact of agency programs in the community.

The monarch while recognizing the tripartite agency’s commendable contributions, pledged unwavering support for activism programs. Promising to mobilize the council of traditional rulers, he envisioned a collaborative effort in implementing SGBV sensitization and training programs in the community.

The day culminated in a rallying cry at Isinkan Market, where the delegation engaged market women and men, fostering a community-wide commitment to preventing and controlling SGBV. The resonating impact of this advocacy will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on the path toward justice and equality.

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Ondo crisis: Deputy takes over as Akeredolu returns to Germany for treatment

•Ailing governor to transmit letter to lawmakers, Tinubu meets Ondo leaders again

•Assembly holds closed-door session, Akeredolu promises full recovery before returning

The ailing Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu,  is returning to Germany for further treatment.

The governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr Richard Olatunde, in a statement on Tuesday, said Akeredolu would transmit a letter to the state House of Assembly handing over power to his deputy, Lucy Aiyedatiwa as the acting governor.

Akeredolu who was said to be suffering from cancer, had been going to Germany to treat the ailment during which he handed over to Aiyedatiwa in an acting capacity.

The governor went on medical vacation on April 3, 2023, and July 10, 2023.

At that time, he handed over to the deputy governor. He returned to the country on September 7 and wrote the state House of Assembly informing the lawmakers.

Although the governor returned from a medical leave in Germany in September, he was not sighted in Ondo State as he was reported to be staying in his private residence in Ibadan.

His absence created a leadership vacuum in the state and the executive council was divided into two factions consisting of those loyal to the governor and loyalists of the deputy governor.

The governor in September sacked all the media aides attached to the office of the deputy governor

An insider source said the aides were sacked as a result of insubordination and flagrance disregard to the appropriate authority.

In November, President Bola Tinubu held a meeting with the state All Progressive Congress leaders and the Speaker of the state Assembly, Mr Olamide Oladiji.

Oladiji, while briefing the press in Akure on the outcome of the meeting on November 28 said the meeting agreed that all impeachment proceedings be terminated and court cases should be withdrawn by all parties.

According to him, the deputy governor was asked to write an undated resignation letter before he could assume office.

But none of the resolutions was implemented as the feuding parties refused to withdraw their court cases.

Following Tinubu’s meeting with the state APC leaders and the deputy governor on Monday night, Akeredolu’s Chief Press Secretary, Olatunde, in his statement stated that his principal had decided to return to Germany for treatment on Wednesday.

Olatunde said, “During his medical leave, Governor Akeredolu will prioritise his health and ensure a full recovery before resuming his official duties. A formal letter regarding the medical leave and a notice formally transferring power in line with the Nigerian constitution will be transmitted to the House of Assembly.

“In the absence of Governor Akeredolu, the Deputy Governor, Honurable Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, will assume the responsibilities of the governor in an acting capacity. Governor Akeredolu expresses his gratitude for the unwavering support and affection of the people of Ondo State. He assures them that his administration remains committed to the path of progress and prosperity for the people.

Akeredolu’s aide

“As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a widely respected Nigerian, Governor Akeredolu has consistently delegated power to his deputy during his annual vacations. This practice was observed on April 1, 2021, April 1, 2022, April 3, 2023, and July 10, 2023, when he embarked on previous vacations,” Olatunde said.

However, findings by our correspondent indicated that the Assembly, which met behind closed doors on Tuesday, had yet to receive Akeredolu’s letter as of the time of filing this report on Tuesday evening.

A source in the Assembly said, “The President, during the meeting held on Monday, directed that the House should get the letter transferring power to Aiyedatiwa, if they couldn’t get the letter from the governor; the House should adopt the Doctrine of Necessity.

“They (the lawmakers) deliberated on the matter of the presidential directive, but I am sure the House will come out with something tomorrow (Wednesday). But as I am talking to you, the governor’s letter has not reached the Assembly.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Assembly spokesman, Mr Olatunji Oshati, told our correspondent: “I will call you back. I’m in a parliamentary meeting.”

Meanwhile, a group, the Ondo State Conscience Movement, has urged Aiyedatiwa to open an investigation into allegations of alleged forgery of Akeredolu’s signature.

The group in a statement by its chairman, Shalom Olaseni on Tuesday, said the allegations, if proven to be true, pose a grave threat to the credibility of the state’s leadership, and also its resources and reputation.

Olaseni said, “It is imperative to highlight the damaging consequences of the alleged forgery of the governor’s signature. Such action not only undermines the democratic fabric of the state but also compromises the allocation and utilization of resources. The potential misuse of the ailing Governor’s signature could lead to the misappropriation of funds, tarnishing the reputation of Ondo State and jeopardizing its developmental endeavours.

“In a direct appeal to the acting Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, the Ondo State Conscience Movement urges him to exercise his authority and initiate an immediate and exhaustive investigation into the alleged forgeries of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s signature by cronies in his cabinet.

“As the current steward of the state’s executive responsibilities, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa holds a pivotal role in upholding the principles of justice and accountability. The Movement implores him to champion transparency by demanding a thorough inquiry, ensuring that the findings are made public. This act would not only underscore his commitment to the rule of law but also demonstrate an unwavering dedication to the well-being and integrity of Ondo State”The Ondo State Conscience Movement therefore emphatically calls for an extensive investigation into the alleged signature forgery. The findings must be made public to ensure transparency and to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. The movement asserts that this investigation is not just a matter of legal scrutiny but a crucial step toward reclaiming the integrity of the state’s governance structures,”

In a related development, a legal practitioner, Dr Tunji Abayomi, has said the lingering political crisis in the state can only be resolved by the people in the state and not external bodies.

SAN advises indigenes

Abayomi, who is also the Pro-chancellor of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko stated this while speaking with journalists in Akure on Tuesday.

He said, “The resolution of the crisis is not in Abuja. The President only helps us. We have to resolve the problem in Ondo State. The law does not give the President power to govern the state. He can only govern the country. The power of resolution belongs to the executive of Ondo State. We need to solve the problem; it is left for the leaders of Ondo State if there will be resolution or not.”

(Punch)

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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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