Ondo 2020: Akeredolu, deputy trade words
• You are incapacitated, hand over to me - Agboola Ajayi • Issues Akeredolu 21 days ultimatum
The last might not have been heard in the lingering dispute between Ondo state governor, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, and his estranged deputy, Hon. Agboola Ajayi, as Ajayi on Saturday, made a U-turn and insisted on taking over the reins of government as acting governor.
Akeredolu had on Friday, said he would not hand over power to his deputy after dumping the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) saying he has left governance in the state but only remain in government with no active role to play again.
The deputy governor has earlier said on Friday through his Chief Press Secretary, Babatope Okeowo, that since the governor is not incapacitated, there is no need for the doctrine of necessity and would not be bothered about power being handed over to him.
But in a twist of event, Ajayi in a statement issued and signed by his Media Adviser, Mr. Allen Sowore, who took a swipe at the governor for not living up to his exalted legal profession as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
Sowore in the statement said: “Ordinarily, one expects Mr governor to bring to bear on governance his background as a lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN).
“But it is rather surprising and worrisome that the governor has chosen the part of perversion of justice, by allowing his close aides to go astray in a matter of constitutionality.
“Section 190(2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) is apposite in the prevailing constitutional aberration in Ondo State. On our part, we will continue to pray fervently for Mr. Governor’s quickest recovery.
“However, it should be noted, that Mr. Governor is at liberty to handover within 21 days after which the constitution becomes operational.
Sowore stated that the refusal of Akeredolu to transmit power to Ajayi while he is in isolation would amount to disregard to the nation’s constitution.
He said, “ostensibly, the refusal and failure of Mr. Governor to handover the running of government to his deputy while he is temporarily incapacitated in self- isolation underscore his absolute disregard for our nation’s supreme document, 1999 Constitution (as amended) as well as the tenets of rule of law.
“The Governor’s position is a spite on the Ondo State people and a direct assault on the provisions of the constitution which he swore to uphold.
“Governor Akeredolu’s deliberate mounting of obstacles to smooth running of government machinery while he’s in self-isolation as a result of the fact that he has been tested positive for the COVID-19 privileges the hypocritical nature of Ondo State government’s war against the ravaging pandemic”
Akeredolu at the weekend made a formal declaration foreclosing the possibility of handing over governance to Ajayi.
The Commissioner Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, while speaking on behalf of the governor said, aside from the loss of trust and alleged treachery on the part of the deputy governor, governance was not grounded as Akeredolu remained active in the line of duty.
Ojogo’s position notwithstanding, the deputy Governor insists Governor Akeredolu remained partially incapacitated and had no choice than to hand over the reins of governance to him and issued a 21-day ultimatum to the governor.
Akeredolu, last week disclosed that he had tested positive for COVID-19 but allayed the fears of the people of the state, especially his supporters that he was fit to work from self-isolation.
Following this development, some supporters of the deputy governor have commenced a social media pressure on Akeredolu to hand over to Ajayi.
Ajayi two weeks ago, defected to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) to run for the governorship ticket of the party even as he insisted he will not resign his position as deputy governor.