The crisis between Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has intensified with an aide of the governor accusing Mr Aiyedatiwa of abandoning governance for politics while he was acting as governor.
Mr Aiyedatiwa served as acting governor for three months until last week when Mr Akeredolu returned from medical treatment in Germany.
On Tuesday, the governor sacked the media aides of the deputy governor without providing any reason.
Aides of the governor had even before Mr Akeredolu’s return accused Mr Aiyedatiwa of disloyalty to the ailing governor without corroboration.
However, appearing on Channels TV Wednesday evening, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties, Doyin Odebowale, said political intrigues threatened governance in the state on Mr Aiyedatiwa’s watch.
Mr Odebowale linked the alleged intrigues to the politics of the 2024 governorship election in the state.
He said the ambitions of some persons in the government, whom he refused to name, distracted governance during the period.
The deputy governor has strenuously denied the allegations of disloyalty and frosty relationship with the governor over his alleged 2024 governorship ambition.
He became acting governor in June after it became clear that the governor was no longer performing his duties due to his health challenges.
The governor returned to the state last week and had since resumed duties. But insiders indicate that the sour relationship with his deputy will lead to an overhaul of his political alliances ahead of the coming election.
Mr Odebowale, while answering questions on the situation in the state government, said some members of the cabinet capitalised on the governor’s absence to pursue their political ambitions.
“I can tell you for free, when the governor was away, there was little governance in Ondo State,” he said.
“People wanted to be governor. It is within their right but they were distracting us and were recruiting people to be distracting us.”
Mr Odebowale said while the governor was away in Germany, he was actively involved in the affairs of the state and sometimes gave instructions on what to do in spite of an acting governor being in place.
According to him, the development put paid to the impressions that the governor was seriously incapacitated.
“It is all about the election and the governor is not contesting again,” he said.
“I can tell you as a member of this government, I was appalled at some of the things that happened.”
Asked if Mr Akeredolu was against his deputy contesting next year’s election, Mr Odebowale said the governor had not said so, but those with political interests were distracting the government.
“There were postings of the obituary of the governor more than five times. They wanted power, not to serve the people, they were overheating the polity,” he said.
“They created the impression that the governor was not in charge of anything. They picked on the first family.”
He added that although he was picking on the deputy governor, those involved “know themselves.”
“No governor will sit down and see that happen,” he said.
“The people voted for the governor and of course he picked his deputy to run with him, but they should allow him to die first.”
Mr Odebowale said now that the governor had returned, “nobody is talking about the shenanigans that went on while he was away.”
Asked if there is a plan to impeach the deputy governor, Mr Odebowale said the governor was not interested in “petty politics.”
He said the administration will run its full course and the governor has the right to fire anyone he found unworthy of his position in the government.
Mr Aiyedatiwa is the second person to serve as deputy governor to Mr Akeredolu.
Agboola Ajayi, who was the deputy governor in Mr Akeredolu’s first term from 2016 to 2020, ran against the governor in the 2020 election after surviving a bid for his impeachment.
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