Ondo crisis: How Tinubu blocked moves to oust Akeredolu

Ondo crisis: How Tinubu blocked moves to oust Akeredolu

•Aiyedatiwa to remain dep gov, sign undertaking •Terms of settlement

The over six months political logjam in Ondo State appears to have been resolved by President Bola Tinubu who intervened in the matter at the weekend and asked that the status quo be maintained by the feuding parties.

In essence, ailing Governor Rotimi Akeredolu retains his seat while embattled deputy governor, Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, will not be removed from office as Akeredolu’s loyalists would want it.

But Aiyedatiwa’s retention of his office, according to Tinubu’s directive, is dependent on his maintenance of the peace in Ondo State.

Infact, Sunday Vanguard learnt that he is to sign an undertaking to be of good behaviour while the President allegedly appointed three persons to monitor his activities and report back to him.

Tinubu’s position emerged after he met with parties to the crisis behind closed doors for over six hours at the Aso Rock Villa on Friday.

Those who attended the meeting included the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Umar Ganduje; Aiyedatiwa; APC state Chairman, Chief Ade Adetimehin; Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Olamide Oladiji, and Senator Jimoh Ibrahim.

Also in attendance were members of the House of Assembly; Secretary to Ondo State Government (SSG), Princess Oladunni Odu; Akeredolu’s ’s aides including Dare Aragbaiye and Aminu Raimi; and the governor’s son, Babajide Akeredolu.

Sources at the meeting told Sunday Vanguard in Akure that the President directed that the status quo should be maintained.

“The President frowned at the move to declare Aiyedatiwa as acting governor and warned that such must never happen in the state”, one of the sources said.

“President Tinubu directed that the deputy governor should go and resume work as deputy governor and not as acting governor.

“He also directed that the State Executive Council should remain intact; ditto for the party exco, contrary to threats.

“The President went further to ask Aiyedatiwa to do a letter of undertaking and maintain peace in the state.

“Mr. President also appointed the SSG, Princess Oladunni, Party Chairman, Adetimehin and the Speaker of the House, Oladiji to monitor and report the deputy governor if he deviated from the resolution reached at the meeting.”

Status quo
A statement by the presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, confirming the development, said, “This means that Governor Akeredolu remains Chief Executive of the State, Aiyedatiwa remains Deputy Governor, and members of the State Executive Council continue their respective duties, even as the leadership of the State’s House of Assembly and the APC Chapter in Ondo State is preserved.”

Aiyedatiwa, who declared his decision to maintain the status quo and unite all the factions, said: “I want to say that I pledge to all of you that I embrace every one of you. I put behind all that has happened before now. I’ve let go and also let God, just as the President has advised us.

“And I want to say that with no offence, no guile in my mind whatsoever. All that has happened is politics. Impeachment is part of politics. If you survive it, it is also politics. It has come. I’ve survived it, and every other thing is in the past.

“It is one big family and our father has intervened to bring all the children together to remain under the same family and with the position that I occupy, I will carry every one of you along in every decision that needs to be taken and in everything that we do, we will work together; the executive and the legislature will work together to ensure that governance is on the right track.”

He pleaded with all members of the State Executive Council to rally around the governor and himself to “bring the dividend of democracy” to the people of Ondo State.

“All the Executive Council members, I want to plead with all of you to cooperate with me, with the Governor, so that we can bring the dividend of democracy to our people.

“We should respect one another regarding the offices we occupy and our age differences. So, it’s going to be mutual respect.

“And I want to assure the party structure that we will work together because the party is supreme. We will always give you your due respect,” the Ondo State Deputy Governor pledged.

Olamide, the Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, who read the details of the resolution, said, “Our resolution is that one, we shall embrace peace. Secondly, there would be no more dissolution of the cabinet, and the deputy governor would maintain the status quo as far as the House of Assembly leadership is concerned.

“We will maintain the status quo as far as the party leadership in the state is concerned and maintain the status quo as far as the leadership of the State House of Assembly is concerned. Thank you, Mr. President.”

On her part, Odu, the SSG, stated, “Our Father, the President, has taken the trouble to settle our rancour in Ondo State. We owe you all the gratitude, Sir. We will not disappoint you. We have taken every word you said. And we are going home as one united family under the party, APC.”

In his remarks, Adetimehin, Ondo State APC, expressed delight at the outcome of Friday’s late night deliberations, affirming that the party will remain a watchdog to ensure that the new commitments are adhered to.

“The President also gave a marching order to the deputy governor to withdraw all cases instituted by him and his group in the court with immediate effect”.

Window dressing
In a related development, opposition People’s Democratic Party, described the intervention of Tinubu in the political logjam as mere window dressing.

A statement by the Publicity Secretary of the party in Ondo State, Kennedy Peretei, said: “It is not yet Uhuru, the cat and mouse race will still continue. The siege is not yet over.

Peretei said that “From what we have read about the outcome, Tinubu’s intervention is a mere window dressing.

“To Aiyedatiwa’s supporters, their worries about impeachment are over.

“Let us pray that, the Presidential intervention will not go the way of the Bello Masari Reconciliation Committee set up by APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Ganduje.

“ Out of respect for his office, the impeachment of the Deputy Governor will no longer see daylight, but as long as Akeredolu remains in hiding, it is not yet Uhuru, the cat and mouse race will still continue. The siege is not yet over.

Recall that 11 members of the state House of Assembly had planned to hold plenary to declare the deputy governor as acting governor.

The lawmakers were alleged to have been infiltrated by some powerful forces outside Ondo who were pushing for Aiyedatiwa to be declared as acting governor.

It was also learnt that Ganduje bought into the plan before the intervention of the President.

Ailing governor

Akeredolu has been ill for sometime, a situation that necessitated his being flown abroad for treatment. While abroad, and following pressure, Aiyedatiwa was approved as acing governor by the state House of Assembly despite resistance by the governor’s allies. But since his return to Nigeria after treatment abroad, Akeredolu is reportedly staying in Ibadan, fueling speculation that he is not fit to return to office.

The governor’s loyalists have, in the meantime, moved against the deputy governor, instigating impeachment proceedings against him in the state House of Assembly while his allies are rooting for the sack of Akeredolu on account of incapacitation to continue in office and inauguration of Aiyedatiwa as governor.

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