The Ondo State Government has urged the public to ignore rumours of the death of the state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, describing it as a “wicked fabrication.”
The state government’s reaction followed anxiety in the state on Friday after the Social Democratic Party (SDP) called on the government to give details of the health situation of the governor.
The party, in a statement, said it was the citizens’ right to know the true state of health of their governor following reports that he was critically ill.
By Saturday morning, the rumours had thickened that Mr Akeredolu had died in a hospital abroad.
A video was later shared on social media in a home setting watching on a large television screen the FA Cup final match between Manchester City and Manchester United played Saturday afternoon.
The state government said the rumour of his death was the handiwork of his enemies.
“We have been inundated with calls and messages concerning the state of health of the Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, CON,” the statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju.
“We had chosen to ignore this wicked fabrication until it appeared that certain persons seek to draw political mileage from the disinformation.
“Though the Governor has been indisposed, he has been attending to state matters and delegating functions to functionaries of the Government, when necessary.
“We enjoin the members of the public to ignore the rumour. Aketi is very much alive.”
The Peoples Democratic Party in the state also berated the governor’s aides for mismanaging information on his health challenge.
The spokesperson for the party, Kennedy Peretei, said in a statement on Saturday that since the report that the governor was bedridden and incapacitated, his media handlers’ response had fueled public anxiety and suspicion.
He said they should have told the truth or getting him to address Ondo State from wherever he is on planet earth.
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“When Akeredolu did not return to his duty post after his celebrated annual leave in March this year, tongues started wagging,” he said.
“At the inauguration of President Bola Tinubu in Abuja, Akeredolu was conspicuously absent.
“The deafening silence from government information machinery suddenly saturated social media space with old videos of Akeredolu dancing and singing praises.
“On the eve of the inauguration of 10th Ondo State House of Assembly, there were reports of an ‘Owo cabal’ led by Akeredolu’s heir apparent, Babajide mobilising Members-elect to make a legislator from Owo Speaker, as a fall back position to retain the leadership of the state in Owo, in the event of the worst happening, after impeaching the incumbent Deputy Governor.
“These speculations almost put the state on edge until this morning when the Ondo State House of Assembly retained the present power structure of Speakership of the Assembly in Ondo Central Senatorial District.
“If Akeredolu’s handlers had done the needful, the state would have been spared the unnecessary anxiety.
“As mortals, any human being can fall sick. Whether in public office or private life. Rotimi Akeredolu is employed by the people of Ondo State, maintained with taxpayers’ money. So, it is criminal and a great disservice to keep mum over his health status and his whereabouts.
“The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Ondo State Chapter demands that those hiding the governor should tell the people where he is to save the state from speculation.
“In 2010, when then-President Umar Yar’Adua was incapacitated due to ill-health, Akeredolu was one of the most vociferous voices, calling for his resignation and allowing the then Vice-President to take over.
“If for whatever reason, Akeredolu can no longer discharge his official responsibilities, the most reasonable thing to do is to hand over to the Deputy Governor as required by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“Our party joins millions of Ondo State people to pray for Akeredolu’s quick recovery, but nobody should play politics with his ill-health. Nobody should ground the state beyond its present state. Let Akeredolu resign, if he is no longer fit to be governor.”
The governor’s ailment had in January elicited an outbursts from his wife, Betty, who accused an aide to the governor, Bunmi Ademosu, of “sneaking” concoctions to her husband for his treatment.
Ms Ademosu is the Special Adviser on Public and Inter-Governmental Relations to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu.
Mrs Akeredolu warned the aide to steer clear of her husband.
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