• Ondo Assembly to screen Adelami for deputy governor today• Aiyedatiwa appoints new SSG, CoP• Ondo judicial workers boo sacked Commissioner• Yoruba Progressives Forum urges Southern governors to immortalise Akeredolu
Barely a month after the death of former Ondo State governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa yesterday took full charge of the power levers when he dissolved, with immediate effect, the cabinet and all aides appointed by his predecessor.
Aiyedatiwa, however, nominated Akeredolu’s kinsman, Olayide Adelami, an Owo indigene and ex-Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly, as his deputy.
The reshuffling, certain to cause some disruption in the political calculus of the state gearing for a governorship election in November 2024, is coming 48 hours after he declared that the seat he’s presently occupying isn’t vacant.
Aiyedatiwa made the declaration during the All Progressives Congress (APC) stakeholders meeting he personally called in Akure, the state capital, where notable leaders of the party, including some leading governorship aspirants were conspicuously absent, an indication that the crisis within the party would get intense in the days leading to the APC primary.
Political analysts are of the view that the move is to consolidate his hold on power and marshal out plans for his bid to become governor in the coming election.
Although he is yet to declare for the race in the November election, there are strong indications that he will contest on the platform of the APC, the ruling party in the state.
Taking firm control of the governance structure in the state ahead of the struggle ahead, the governor sacked all members of the State Executive Council. The political appointees affected by the sack include the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief of Staff, Commissioners, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, and Special Assistants.
The sack was disclosed in a statement issued by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Ebenezer Adeniyan.
The dissolution was expected, following the long and heated power play between Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa, which divided the cabinet between loyalists of the deceased governor engineering Aiyedatiwa’s impeachment and the new governor’s henchmen, who waded off the intrigues during the long spell of Akeredolu’s medical vacation before he eventually succumbed to a protracted battle with prostate cancer on December 27, 2023, in Germany.
Aiyedatiwa expressed gratitude to all the political appointees for their contributions to the development of the state. The governor also directed that all the affected appointees should hand over to the most senior administrative officers in their Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), just as they were advised to hand over all government property in their possession.
The fate of the political appointees had been hanging in the balance since the demise of Akeredolu, whose burial is scheduled for February 23, especially as some of the sacked cabinet members had indicated interest in contesting for the APC ticket with Aiyedatiwa. Aiyedatiwa is expected to constitute another cabinet very soon.
The dissolution of the state executive council was expected long before now. Insiders said most of the commissioners saw it coming. One commissioner and some special assistants resigned shortly after Aiyedatiwa took office.
As a shape of what to come, the governor nominated Adelami, as his deputy. The Guardian gathered that the name of Adelami has been forwarded to the Ondo State House of Assembly, which will be officially announced.
Adelami, who was a governorship aspirant in 2020 and kinsman of the late Akeredolu from Owo local government area, was the Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly until his retirement in April 2018.
Already, the House of Assembly is to screen Adelami for the position of deputy governor today, January 25, at 9:00a.m.
Other appointments announced yesterday were that of Tayo Oluwatuyi as the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and Abayomi Olasanya as the Chief of Protocol. The new SSG, popularly known as ‘Tukana’, had served in the same capacity under Akeredolu, when his predecessor, Sunday Abegunde, resigned from office.
Oluwatuyi had also served as Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs under the late Akeredolu, as well as Caretaker Chairman during the administration of former governor Olusegun Mimiko.
MEANWHILE, the erstwhile Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Charles Titiloye, was yesterday booed out of office by civil servants at the Ministry of Justice. Titiloye, who was appointed by Akeredolu was booed by the workers moments after Aiyedatiwa dissolved the SEC.
The Justice Commissioner, who had arrived in his office on Wednesday morning for the day’s engagement, was caught up in his office with the announcement of the sack.
While he was trying to leave his office, he was met with hundreds of workers, who rained insults on him over his alleged highhandedness during his stay in office.
He was, however, whisked away by police operatives, who were mobilised to the ministry after the tyres of his car were deflated by the angry workers.
According to one of the workers, who simply gave her name as Evelyn, “Titiloye Charles frustrated everyone working in the ministry. We really don’t know when the late Akeredolu picked him up and left him in the office all this time.
“There was a time that we judicial workers wanted to go on strike because of his attitude towards us, but we were appealed to.
“Honestly, he has not been a good person. What you should be concerned about is why he was the one who was booed. There are three other commissioners in the complex, but Titiloye was booed. So that says a lot about his time in office.”
AHEAD of his burial next month, a renowned socio-political group, Yoruba Progressives Forum (YPF), has called on the Southern Governors’ Forum to immortalise the late Ondo governor, Akeredolu as a mark of honour for his sterling contributions to the democratic sustainability, promotion of unity, peace, and oneness in Southern Nigeria in particular and the entire country in general.
The Forum noted that the name of the deceased must be indelibly written in the sands of time for the memory of the current and incoming generations, and the world to further appreciate the traits of truthfulness, diligence, sincerity and unwavering commitment to unity and oneness of Nigeria and its democratic sustainability.
The YPF National Coordinator, Lateef Olalekan, made the request while speaking to journalists, shortly after members of the Forum paid a condolence visit to the wife, children and other members of the bereaved family in Ibadan, Oyo state.
The YPF described the death of the late governor as a heavy blow and colossal loss to the people of Owo and Ondo state in particular, Yoruba nation and Nigeria in general.
Olalekan further expressed sadness in the passage of the Governor saying the country has lost a courageous, ebullient, resilient, committed, dedicated and an unrepentant crusader of socioeconomic and political justice, whose substantial part of life was used to serve God and humanity.
Describing the late Akeredolu as an ‘Angel’ in human garment, the YPF National Coordinator, affirmed that, history would forever remember him for all his good deeds particularly for championing a cause that led to the return of power to southern Nigeria after the expiration of the tenure of the erstwhile President Muhammadu Buhari.
Justifying the position of the Forum for the 17 Southern Governors to urgently immortalise the late governor, Olalekan pointed out that the efforts of Akeredolu in using his position not only as a governor then, but as a Chairman of the Southwestern Governors’ Forum in promoting unity, peace, harmonious relationship, and above all, in sustaining national democracy, was enough to accord him the honour.