COVID-19: Akeredolu, deputy spar over handing over of governorship seat

Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State [PHOTO: TVC]
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State [PHOTO: TVC]

The governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, and his deputy, Agboola Ajayi, have disagreed over running of the state’s affairs following the current health status of the governor.

Mr Akeredolu, on Tuesday, disclosed that he had tested positive for Coronavirus and was currently in self-isolation.

He also directed his commissioners and other aides go for compulsory test.

Addressing Journalists in Akure on Friday, the governor speaking through the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, explained why he could not hand over to his deputy.

When questioned whether the government would be handed over to Mr Ajayi following his illness, the commissioner said there was no such plan.

“Though Mr Governor is on self-isolation, the government is not grounded. He is working from isolation, so the state cannot be grounded.

“The governor cannot hand over to the deputy, Agboola Ajayi. The deputy has left governance, though he is still in government. So, you cannot hand over to such a person.

“We are not considering that; no one will advise the governor to hand over to the deputy. Mr Governor is still strong enough to work.”

Deputy kicks

Reacting to the position of the governor, Mr Ajayi said “ordinarily, one expects Mr Governor to bring to the front burner the background of his profession as a lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN) but surprisingly, the Governor has chosen this perversion of justice, by allowing his media aides to go astray in a matter of constitutionality. ”

The deputy governor, who reacted on the matter through his media adviser, Allen Sowore, on Saturday said: “Section 190(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) is apposite in this circumstances. On our part, we will continue to pray fervently for Mr Governor’s quickest recovery. However, it should be noted that, Mr Governor is at liberty to handover or not within 21 days after which the constitution becomes operational.

“Ostensibly, refusal and failure of Mr Governor to handover the running of government to his deputy while in self isolation and temporarily incapacitated underscore his absolute disregard for the rule of law; a spite on the people and a direct assault on the provisions of the constitution which he swore to uphold.

“Not only that, his deliberate obstacles to ensure that government continues to run while he’s in self isolation as a result of the fact that he has been tested positive for the COVID-19 puts lips service to his hypocratic war against the ravaging pandemic.

“The assertion by the commissioner that the Deputy Governor is a threat to good governance is illusionary or perhaps the Honourable Commissioner for Information now suffers amnesia.

“It’s imperative to inform the general public that, Mr Governor and members of his kitchen cabinet have deliberately barred the Deputy Governor from all government activities as all the daily itinerary and work schedules released from Chief Of Protocols, have not allocated any function or duty to the person or office of the Deputy Governor in recent time.”

PREMIUM TIMES reported a series of reports on the war between Mr Akeredolu and Mr Ajayi over the upcoming governorship election in the state.

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Last month, Mr Ajayi dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for People’s Democratic Party (PDP), where he has been cleared to contest for the party’s primary.


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