The newly sworn-in governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, at his inauguration on Friday acknowledged a leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu.
Mr. Akeredolu, who enjoyed Mr. Tinubu’s support when he first ran unsuccessfully for office in 2013, did not enjoy the ex-Lagos’s governor’s support in 2016. He had declined to mention Mr. Tinubu at his victory speech after winning the election, indicating both were not in the best of terms.
After his swearing-in at the Akure Stadium on Friday, Mr. Akeredolu proceeded to make his inaugural speech, and began with the acknowledgement of dignitaries, particularly party chieftains and leadership.
He spent much time lauding the efforts of the Chairman of the APC, John Oyegun, who he described as one who believed in the democratic values and principles and stood for it when it mattered.
He said Mr. Oyegun’s persistence resulted in the victory of the party in the governorship polls.
He also took time to acknowledge governors, lawmakers, party members, women groups, journalists and security men.
While the audience thought he was done with his protocols, Mr. Akeredolu began another round of vote of thanks for those who graced the occasions beginning with the traditional rulers and again the leadership of the party.
He then zeroed in on the Mr. Tinubu, thanking him for attending the inauguration despite “the path he had travelled,” before now.
He thanked him for finding time to attend the event, despite the differences in political opinions. His mention of Mr. Tinubu drew a loud applause from the crowd.
Mr. Akeredolu said his government would help rebuild the state’s economy by resuscitating damaged infrastructure, restore hope and return the state to a prosperous path.
He said he was aware of the challenges of unpaid salaries, saying while the situation is harrowing, his government would ensure that there is an increase in internally generated revenue to ensure payment of salaries.
“The issue of unpaid salaries is not only affecting one state, it is a problem of many states, except one or two,” he explained.
“We will develop means to increase the internally generated revenue in the efforts to get out the challenge.”
The governor said his administration is determined to break down the barriers that had caused stagnation in the state.
“We will break down the barriers to honest leadership, to comprehensive development, to physical growth and social security,” he promised.
“This we intend to do through the promotion of transparent leadership, rule of law, extensive consultation, quality and accessible public utilities and social security, all in a sustainable manner”.
Mr. Akeredolu, who was sworn in along with his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, said there would be job creation through agriculture, entrepreneurship and industrialisation.
He also listed infrastructural development and maintenance, provision of functional education and technological growth, provision of accessible and qualitative health care, social service delivery and rural development and community extension services as some of the issues he would be tackling in the next four years.
His oath of office was administered to him by the Acting Chief Judge of the state, Temitayo Osoba.
Other dignitaries at the swearing in ceremony include Senate President Bukola Saraki; Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Lasun Yusuf; Minister for Information, Lai Muhammed; Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal; his counterpart from Kano State, Uman Ganduje; Kogi State Governor, Yahyah Bello; Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, and former chairman of the APC, Bisi Akande.
Governor Akeredolu is the son of Ola Akeredolu of Akeredolu family in Owo and Grace Akeredolu of Aderoyiju family of Igbotu, Ese-Odo.
He was born on July 21, 1956 in Owo, Ondo State.
He became the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Ondo State between 1997 and 1999. He was conferred with the title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 1998.