The return of Ondo state governor Rotimi Akeredolu after a three-month medical visit to Germany may have begun to change the political dynamics of the state ahead of another gubernatorial election, SEYE OLUMIDE reports.
The return of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu can only cause confusion for those who thought he would not play a major role in who gets what in next year’s governorship election. For some of his core loyalists, this restoration of faith was a continuation of his own agenda.
Regardless of the camps, his three-month absence and several months of inactivity have left fissures in the internal politics of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
In the next few months, therefore, the ruling party faces a gladiatorial conflict of interests, in which Akeredolu and other forces that have found their voice will unite in the selection of potential successors. It has emerged that President Bola Tinubu has a big role to play in winning next year’s governorship election considering that the former governor of Lagos State has made several efforts to get his candidate into the state in previous years. did not succeed
In 2008, President Tinubu, who was seen as the leader of Southwest politics, “invested” heavily in a court battle that eventually brought the former governor, then Olusegun Mimiko of the Labor Party (LP), into office. Tinubu and Mimiko later divorced.
In 2012, Tinubu supported Akeredolu to oust Mimiko but the incumbent lost to the former governor who was re-elected for a second term. But in 2016, President Tinubu showed interest in Segun Abraham, one of his political protégés, but Akeredolu, who then broke with Tinubu but still enjoyed the support of the Abuja cabal under former President Muhammadu Buhari, got the APC ticket and later. became governor, ending his eight-year reign under LP Mimiko. Sources in the party said Tinubu’s interest in Ondo politics has always been high and unrelenting and will not lack in the coming year. A third point of interest is likely to be the various aspirants for the ruling party platform and the zoning scheme, which may favor Ondo South. This is likely to aggravate the intrigues of the ruling party apart from the absence of Akeredolu in the last three months.
But with Akeredolu returning to Ibadan, Oyo State instead of Ondo on Wednesday, the game and the permutations before 202
will change depending on how strong and physically fit the current governor can be to handle political issues. about the country and his party in the coming months. Three months away from the governor What has happened in the last three months will determine how the governor intends to handle things as the forces are already aligned and redeployed. It is no longer news that Akeredolu’s prolonged malaise has created tension in the ruling party and especially among gubernatorial hopefuls fighting for the party’s 202
The fragility and absence of the governor adversely affected members of his cabinet who formed into a political rift when illness demanded more from Akeredolu.
One of the contentious issues was the governor’s failure to properly hand over power to his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, when he traveled abroad for treatment.
Some stakeholders were angered that Akeredolu, who was one of the fiercest critics of late President Umaru Yar’Adua for not handing over power to his then Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan, could have gone abroad for medical treatment without handing over power to his deputy.
It initially split the ruling party in Ondo State, with Aiyedatiwa’s supporters demanding devolution, while another faction, which felt that the transfer of power to the deputy would give Aiyedatiwa an added advantage in the party’s governorship election next year, opposed the devolution argument. . . Most of the party supporters involved in the plot were from Ondo South Senate zone, an area that could probably produce the next governor in 202
if the zoning order is strictly followed.
Prominent names said to be linked to the power grab include former National Legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), now leader of APC, Chief Olusola Oke; Current Deputy Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa; Commissioner for Finance, Wale Akinterinwa; Legislator-elect for Ondo South, Jimoh Ibrahim; Akeredolu candidate in the 2012 governorship election, Paul Akintelure; National Vice Chairman APC Southwest zone, Isaac Kekemeke and many others.
These stakeholders come from all over Ondo South and are said to be vying for the position of governor next year. Akeredolu’s wife, Betty-Anyanwu and the governor’s son Babajide are also mentioned in the power play.
As soon as the governor left, Aiyedatiwa was accused of being desperate to take over from his boss, but forces led by the governor’s wife, his son, the finance commissioner and others were said to be trying to stop him. This despite the fact that the governor did not “deliberately” transfer power to the deputy as required by the 1999 constitution.
Indeed, some hawks in and outside the cabinet wanted to exclude Aiyedatiwa to prevent him from acting. The agenda was that if Akeredolu did not survive the illness, his deputy would not be well positioned to succeed him.
The feeling was that if Aiyedatiwa is allowed to intervene as an actor for the governor; this gives him an edge over other aspirants for the party’s ticket next year.
But as if the governor himself knew what was at stake, he claimed to have strategically placed his son in government to ensure sufficient power through the agency he heads, making all commissioners, special advisers and heads of agencies directly accountable. Babajidee to investigate before they could do anything.
Political commentators say that Akeredolu, who has an idea about his illness, must have planned it in advance by giving his son such enormous power to render the deputy governor’s office incapacitated.
It was learned that Governor Akeredolu allegedly sidelined his deputy with the consent of his wife who was said to be against Aiyedatiwa as her husband’s successor.
The governor’s wife is said to prefer Oke, who hails from Ilaje, Ondo South State, to take over from her husband because there might be a gubernatorial ticket.
For example, former Governor Mimiko who hails from Ondo Central served for eight years, Akeredolu from Owo, Ondo North will be eight in 2025 so the ticket will automatically revert to Ondo South. Oke and Aiyedatiwa are from Ilaje, Akinterinwa from Ile Oluji, Akintelure who was Akeredolu runner up in 2012 is also from Ondo South. The Guardian concluded that since the governor’s wife had enormous influence in Ondo politics, she probably facilitated the appointment of the current deputy governor before they parted ways.
This may not be due to the fact that he felt Aiyedatiwa was too ambitious. But attempts to remove Aiyedatiwa failed. The recent Speaker of the Ondo House of Assembly, Bamidele Oloyeloogun, was involved in a plot to initiate impeachment against Aiyedatiwa, but Oloyeloogun refused to participate.
Another dangerous game was propaganda to the immediate past Speaker of the Ondo House of Assembly, whose forces wanted to agree on the impeachment of Aiyedatiwa. Unfortunately, the strategy didn’t work. The plan was to ensure that Oloyeloogun would start an impeachment against Aiyedatiwa, but the former speaker got chills from the move.
The idea to force Oloyeloogun to resign was to bring in another speaker, perhaps from Owo, Ondo North, to remove Aiyedatiwa if Akeredolu does not return, but the new speaker, who was supposed to come from Owo, Ondo North, simply resigned. . to complete the governor’s mandate. The new speaker will then have no chance to contest the governorship primaries next year because he is not from Ondo South. Unfortunately, the plan failed. Therefore, Oloyeloogun’s signature on the resignation letter was forged and made available to the media, but a speaker in close proximity shouted that his signature was forged.
Aiyedatiwa, who was informed of his impeachment plan, quickly contacted the party’s National Secretariat and the Presidency, who sent security agents to surround the Ondo State House of Representatives to prevent Aiyedatiwa from being impeached or Oloyeloogun resigning as Speaker.
Following the March 18, 2023 State House of Assembly polls, the Oloyeloogun-led Ninth House of Assembly was dissolved and a new Speaker, Olamide Oladiji, who hailed from the Central Senate Zone, was elected. This shut down the plan to bring in another speaker from Owo North. to end Akeredolu’s tenure.
But the plot to get rid of Aiyedatiwa did not stop, his bad guys also organized another plan claiming that he molested his wife which failed again. Opponents of Aiyedatiwa also believe that although he hails from Ilaje, the southernmost largest constituency, their argument is that Aiyedatiwa does not have the capacity to govern Ondo and is not as deeply rooted as Oke, Akinterinwa, Akintelure and others in Ondo region. politics For them, Aiyedatiwa also lacked the necessary leadership.
For example, the deputy governor is said to have started presenting himself as the governor even though power has not yet been transferred to him, portraying the behavior of someone who can intimidate other members of the cabinet.
Other party sources said Aiyedatiwa’s ordeal could worsen now that the governor is back. Whatever the case may be, experts are crossing their fingers to see how Akeredolu handles the various security reports and other intrigues and the inclusion of all over time.