The ailing Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, is set to return to Germany for further medical treatment, according to a statement from his Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde. The governor, who has been reportedly battling cancer, will transmit a letter to the state House of Assembly, handing over power to his deputy, Lucy Aiyedatiwa, who will serve as the acting governor during his medical leave. Akeredolu has been on medical vacation since April 3, 2023, with his last return to Nigeria in September. The leadership vacuum during his absence led to a division in the executive council and controversies within the ruling party.
Ondo State House of Assembly Declares Aiyedatiwa as Acting Governor
The Ondo State House of Assembly has officially declared Lucky Aiyedatiwa as the acting governor following the receipt of a letter from Governor Akeredolu about his medical leave. The Speaker of the House, Olamide Oladiji, confirmed the receipt of the letter and stated that Aiyedatiwa’s assumption of the acting governor role is in line with Section 190 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The awaited letter’s arrival dispelled concerns about the governor’s ability to issue it, and it has ended speculations about adopting the doctrine of necessity to appoint an acting governor.
Crisis and Controversies During Akeredolu’s Absence
Akeredolu’s prolonged medical leave had created a leadership vacuum, causing a split in the executive council and internal disputes within the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state. Attempts to resolve the crisis, including a meeting with APC leaders and President Bola Tinubu, did not lead to the implementation of agreed resolutions. The governor’s recent decision to return to Germany for further treatment has reignited concerns about governance and stability in Ondo State.
Allegations of Signature Forgery and Calls for Investigation
Amid the political turmoil, a group called the Ondo State Conscience Movement has called on Acting Governor Aiyedatiwa to investigate allegations of the forgery of Governor Akeredolu’s signature. The group emphasized the potential consequences of such forgery on the credibility of the state’s leadership, resources, and reputation. The movement urged Aiyedatiwa to champion transparency by initiating an immediate and thorough investigation to ensure accountability and the rule of law.
Legal Practitioner’s Perspective on State Crisis
Legal practitioner Dr. Tunji Abayomi emphasized that the resolution of the crisis in Ondo State lies within the state and not external bodies. He stated that the President’s role is to assist but the power to resolve the issue belongs to the executive of Ondo State. Abayomi stressed that leaders in Ondo State need to come together to find a resolution to the political crisis and that external intervention cannot replace local efforts.