Aiyedatiwa searches for deputy in Ondo, lobbying intensifies  

Ondo State Governor Lucky Ayedatiwa has come under immense pressure from various vested groups in the state over his choice of deputy, The Nation gathered last night.

The groups and stakeholders are understood to be getting messages across to him on who will not only serve him, the state and the All Progressives Congress (APC), better as deputy governor but also help the party’s fortunes in next year’s governorship election.

More sympathisers, including a delegation of South West Governors and the Senator for Ondo South,Chief Jimoh Ibrahim, yesterday visited the family of the late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in Ibadan to offer their condolences.

The governors said they would collaborate with Ayedatiwa to give the deceased a befitting burial while Jimoh said the Akeredolus should not mourn because the deceased would make heaven.

The Ekiti State government declared three days of mourning in honour of the late governor.

Party sources told The Nation in Akure that the new governor needs a deputy who will help him in uniting the APC in the state.

With Aiyedatiwa hailing from Ondo South and the Speaker of the State Assembly, Olajidi Olamide, from Ondo Central, some party members expect the deputy governor to come from Akeredolu’s Ondo North for the purpose of balance of power.

Those who have been tipped to likely emerge deputy are immediate past Minister of State for Transport, Prince Ademola Adegoroye; a former Secretary to the State Government, Ifedayo Abegunde; Commissioner for Energy and Water Resources, Engr. Rasaq Obe; Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Victor Olabimtan; Chief of Staff, Chief Olugbenga Ale; and a son of the leader of Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti.

A chieftain of the APC who pleaded anonymity said the issue of deputy governor would be discussed after the three days mourning period for Akeredolu.

“There is supposed to be a stakeholders meeting after the mourning period. We cannot talk about it while the mourning is still on,” the party chief said.

President Bola Tinubu had tasked Governor Aiyedatiwa to unite the party and the first step, according to a party leader, would be the extent of consultation by the governor in picking his deputy.

An APC chieftain said: “It is the prerogative of the governor to pick his deputy. The consultation will be mere formality because he has a bigger task of winning the primary.

“Some of these people being paraded are not on the cards.

“What Aiyedatiwa needs is a politician because he is not a politician.

“The party is not united. He has been told to bring everybody together. His manner of consultation before picking his deputy would determine how far he is willing to go to ensure party unity.”

It was gathered that Aiyedatiwa might pick his deputy from Owo to appease Akeredolu’s kinsmen and loyalists some of whom have already resigned from Aiyedatiwa’s administration.

Another permutation is that he might move to have his trusted men in key positions by picking his deputy from Akure thereby paving the way for the removal of Speaker Oladiji and the new Speaker to emerge from Ondo North.

Southwest governors to collaborate family, Ondo govt on Akeredolu’s burial

The Governors of Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ekiti under the aegis of Southwest Governors Forum plan to collaborate with their Ondo State counterpart to give the late Akeredolu a befitting burial,their spokesman and Ogun State Governor,Dapo Abiodun said yesterday.

The Forum said it had communicated same to the family of the late governor adding that a joint committee would be set up to achieve the cause.

Abiodun, Ademola Adeleke (Osun), Abiodun Oyebanji (Ekiti) and Oyo State Deputy Governor, Bayo Lawal who represented Governor Seyi Makinde were at the Ibadan residence of the Akeredolus together.

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Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu came later in the day.

Makinde is currently out of the country on holiday.

Akeredolu was, until his death on Wednesday, Chairman of both the Southwestern Governors Forum and the Southern Governors Forum.

The governors arrived the Akeredolu’s residence at about 1:15PM in a convoy of over 20 cars.

Journalists were barred from entering the room where the governors were received.

There was also a sign post banning the use of videos, cameras and or recording on the door leading into the large room.

A stern looking man was also on hand to ensure compliance with the directive.

However, journalists were allowed to sit inside the compound where a canopy and drinks had been provided for sympathisers.

Addressing journalists in company of the three other governors shortly after the visit to the family, Governor Abiodun said the late governor Akeredolu would be sorely missed by all his governor-colleagues and that the void he left behind would be very difficult to fill by everyone.

Governor Abiodun said: “We are all here, governors of the Southwestern state of Osun, Ekiti, Oyo and Lagos will soon be here, he had some flight issues.

“We are here to commiserate with the Akeredolu’s family and also the Ondo state government on the passing of our senior colleague and brother, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu who the Lord has called to his side.

“Without a doubt, we are all still in a state of shock and disbelief. When we heard the news, we were shocked and in dismay but we cannot question God. In all things we are to thank God.

“We thank God that Governor Akeredolu lived a life of impact on every side. He did well, not just in Ondo State but in the Southwest, the whole South and entire country.

“He was a senior advocate of law and a highly intelligent governor. He played a prominent role in ensuring that the Presidency returned to the South and he stood firm his ground. He worked so hard. He was reliable and dependable and we all feel very hurt at his death.

“We as the governors of the Southwest have agreed that we will give him a befitting burial and we have people who will work with the family and government of Ondo State for befitting funeral rites.

“Governor Akeredolu was the Chairman of the Southwestern Governor’s Forum, he was the Chairman of the Southern Governors Forum, a position that he held very courageously, very fearlessly. He was a learned Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a successful second term governor of Ondo State.”

He said further, “All of us are here on behalf of our families, the entire people of our various states of the Southwest, to commiserate with the family and people and government of Ondo State.

“Our prayer is that the Almighty God will forgive all his sins and grant the repose of his soul. We also pray that he grants the wife, his children, his family members, the people and government of Ondo State the heart to bear this very sad and shocking and painful exit.

“This is a man who was an advocate for the Southern presidency. We recall vividly the reinvigorated Southern Governors Forum meeting in Delta about two and half years ago and he championed that course that the Presidency must come to the South and he stayed with it, amongst several courses that he championed and fought successfully.

“Collectively, we will be partly, majorly responsible for the funeral rites in according him a farewell that he deserves. We have expressed that to the family, we will be setting up a joint committee of the Southwestern states to work with the family and collaborate with the government of Ondo State to ensure that we give him a deserving farewell.”

Earlier before the visit to the Akeredolus’, the Southwest governors had gathered at the Oyo State Government Secretariat, Agodi Ibadan separately.

On arrival, the governors were ushered into the private chamber of the governor for a closed door meeting.

They were received by Makinde’s deputy, Bayo Lawal, proceeding in a convoy to the Akeredolus.

Akeredolu sure to make heaven, says Jimoh Ibrahim
Jimoh, who was accompanied by his wife Dupe and son Seun,said Akeredolu’s good deeds while he lived would fetch him a place in heaven.

“It is normal for us to cry when we lose our loved ones, but Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s death is not painful,” he told Akeredolu’s widow,Betty.

“Death is only painful when you are not sure of heaven. So, Aketi’s death is not painful because he’ll surely make heaven.

“Let us console ourselves by his dealings and relationship with people both the high and lowly in the country.

“As the governor of Ondo State, his programmes were people -oriented and related with everyone

“As a Senior Advocate, he fought for people’s rights pro bono and pressured all governments at the center to ensure Nigeria is governed on platform of true federalism.

“No doubt, we will miss him a great deal for a long time to come.”

Adebayo mourns Akeredolu
Immediate past Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, described the death of Governor Akeredolu as a sad loss to the progressive family and the nation at large.

In a statement yesterday , the former Minister said the late governor was a man who worked tirelessly for the good of the common man.

He recalled his role in the setting up of the South West security outfit, Amotekun when the region was facing attacks from bandits who were killing and kidnapping the people of the region, saying Akeredolu rallied his fellow governors to address the insecurity and ensure that relative peace returned to the region.

Adebayo said the late governor not only excelled in his profession as a legal luminary by getting to the pinnacle of his career as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) but also led the profession as its national president.

He noted that both in his chosen career and public life, the late governor demonstrated his commitment to the good of the people.

Describing him as a nationalist, he said Akeredolu made a serious impact in ensuring that there was a shift of power to the southern part of the country in the last general elections.

Ekiti State Governor Biodun Oyebanji, yesterday declared three days of mourning for Governor Akeredolu.

During the mourning period,all flags at public buildings across the state are to be flown half- mast for the three days of mourning.

Oyo State governor, Mr Seyi Makinde, had also earlier declared a three-day mourning in his state in honour of the late Akeredolu.

His declaration came on the heels of that of Ondo State, which had led the way in declaring a three- day period of mourning in honour of Akeredolu.

Akeredolu died at 67, in Germany, where he had gone for medical treatment for prostate cancer.

Group urges Aiyedatiwa to nominate deputy within constitutional time frame

Ondo State Conscious Movement has urged Aiyedatiwa to urgently nominate a deputy governor within the constitutionally stipulated time frame.

The organisation stressed the need for the governor to allow the rule of law to reign supreme to foster an era of unity, progress, and the enhanced welfare of the people.

Chairman of the group, Shalom Olaseni in a statement also expressed the organisation’s condolence to the bereaved family , the Ondo State Government, and the people of the state.

Olaseni said the late governor’s indomitable spirit, courage, and tenacity in the face of leukemia’s relentless grip, have left an indelible mark on the people’s hearts.

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