The return of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu from his three-month medical vacation in Germany has stirred both jubilation and panic in Ondo State.
While most residents, including civil servants, market women, religious institutions, and others, celebrate the Governor’s return, strong indications suggest that the Deputy Governor’s camp was caught off guard by this development
Deluge of congratulatory messages have poured in from various quarters, welcoming the Governor back.
The Minister of Interior, Hon. Bunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Ondo State House of Assembly, the APC in the state, several party leaders, labour leaders, and other prominent individuals have expressed their joy over the Governor’s safe return.
Since his return on Thursday, Governor Akeredolu has held several meetings, signed the local council development areas bill into law, and attended to official business.
An insider in the government, who prefers to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the matter, confided in our correspondent that the Deputy Governor and his camp were taken aback by the Governor’s full recovery.
According to the source, “The Deputy Governor attended the meetings held on Friday in Ibadan. When the Governor walked in on his own two legs, the Deputy Governor appeared astonished.
“He seemed lost and preoccupied to the extent that, during the national anthem, he kept staring at the Governor in surprise.
“A few days before the Governor’s return, Aiyedatiwa, the Deputy Governor, had conversations with some people. During their conversations, when the people inquired about the Governor’s return plans, Aiyedatiwa questioned whether the Governor would be flown into the country on a medical plane.”
“The Deputy Governor’s camp is now in total panic. Several commissioners and special advisers with him are attempting to switch sides, but it seems too late for them.
“We weren’t part of his camp, although we didn’t join the few who resisted Aiyedatiwa. In fact, our names were rumoured to be on the list of those to be sacked if the Governor couldn’t return, and Aiyedatiwa took over. Fortunately, the Governor’s safe return vindicates us.
“Surprisingly, the Deputy Governor even told one of the commissioners from Ondo South that the Governor would never return. This is the same assurance he gave to members of his camp.
“As it stands now, we don’t know what will happen next, but judging by the Governor’s demeanor, he seems inclined to let everyone complete the remaining tenure.”
Another reliable source in Abuja expressed concern about Aiyedatiwa’s disloyalty, alleging that the Deputy Governor had challenged the nomination of Otito Atikase as the state representative on the NDDC board.
“The Deputy Governor called one of our leaders and questioned him about Otito’s emergence, even though he was already aware that the Governor nominated Atikase. His disloyalty is unprecedented.”
Meanwhile, a group within the All Progressives Congress (APC), Progressives Conscience Coalition (PCC), has cautioned the Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa against planting stories against the Governor.
The group also accused the deputy governor of being behind the fake stories about his own impeachment. It added that the move was to gain undue sympathy after his alleged treacherous conducts.
The group, in a statement signed by its coordinator, Yemi Akinbobola, claimed that negative stories about the Governor and the government originated from the Deputy Governor’s camp.
“It has come to our attention that the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, continues to sponsor fabricated, concocted, and spurious stories about the Governor.
“Faceless and paid groups have been mobilized by the Deputy Governor to engage in a smear campaign against the Governor.
“Our investigations reveal that damaging stories about the Governor’s health originated from the Deputy Governor’s camp.
“As a group that cherishes and respects Governor Akeredolu as one of the outspoken leaders of the Yoruba Nation, we will not stand by and allow this perfidy to go unexposed.
“We have information on the arrangements made with individuals by the Deputy Governor to write spurious and damaging reports about the Governor.
“We urge the public to disregard any negative narratives about the Governor, as they are part of a planned effort to tarnish his image.”
However, the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has described the return of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, to work after a medical leave as a rare and commendable commitment to the mandate of the people of the State.
The Deputy Governor led members of the State Executive Council to welcome Governor Akeredolu in Ibadan on Friday on his return to Nigeria from Germany where he had gone on medical leave.
Aiyedatiwa also joined the Governor in a brief meeting with members of the State House of Assembly, as the Governor submitted his letter of resumption of duties to the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Olamide Oladiji.
Aiyedatiwa, who had acted as Governor while Akeredolu was away, said Akeredolu, even while away, was in constant touch, which shows his concerns for the welfare of the people of the State.
He said: “Personally, I am grateful to the Almighty God for answering our collective prayers by granting our Governor an improved health and a safe trip back home.
“Like I had said on a number of occasions, Mr. Governor was in touch with us throughout that period and that was why we continued to assure the people of the State that there was no cause for alarm over his health.
“That Mr. Governor has resumed duties immediately after returning to the country is a testament to his commitment to the mandate given to him twice by the people of Ondo State and his determination to work for them till the last day of his administration.”
Called: News Telegraph