The Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, has rejected the apology tendered by his deputy, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, over the embarrassment that the ongoing political crisis must have caused in the state.
The governor, who reacted to Aiyedatiwa’s apology through his Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties and Strategy, Dr Doyin Odebowale, also rejected some of the claims made by Aiyedatiwa in his apology and insisted that his deputy had a question to answer before the state House of Assembly.
Aiyedatiwa, who blamed the ongoing crisis on desperate politicians in the state, had said he remained loyal to the governor and also denied sponsoring any protest against Akeredolu.
The deputy governor stated this while speaking with journalists in his office in Akure on Thursday.
Aiyedatiwa said, “I am deeply saddened by the embarrassment and discomfort that Mr Governor has faced due to the barrage of negative news in the state as a result of the events of the last few months. I tender my sincere apology to Mr Governor on this as our leader in the state.
“Our beloved state has witnessed a series of events triggered by the health challenges faced by Mr Governor, which gave rise to a lot of assumptions, falsehoods, insinuations, misunderstandings, misconceptions, and exploitation by political contenders preparing for the upcoming 2024 governorship election in the state.
“We have continued to read in the media all sorts of lies fabricated to create crisis just for the purpose of election. The recent impeachment attempt by the House of Assembly and the ensuing reactions have further created division and chaos, with my loyalty to Mr Governor being questioned.
“It is, therefore, imperative for me to put on record that there has never been any issue between Mr Governor and myself and I have never undermined him. Political actors have only taken advantage of his absence to create a non-existent crisis for their own selfish interests.”
The deputy governor commended Akeredolu and the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress for their intervention and roles in resolving the crisis. He specifically thanked the governor for persuading members of the Ondo State House of Assembly to embrace the political solution offered by the APC in the face of the impeachment move.
“It is in reference to all of the above that I tender my unreserved apologies to Mr Governor for the embarrassment and discomfort that the political chaos of these past months has caused him and the good people of Ondo State.
“I remain fully committed to the principles of good governance that Mr Governor has established, and I pledge my unwavering loyalty to him, and I will continue to submit myself under his able, courageous and selfless leadership.
“I completely distance myself from any group or individuals holding protests or calling on the governor to resign. I have never commissioned any individual or group to engage in such protest or campaign,” he said.
However, Odebowale, in his reaction on behalf of the governor, disagreed with the deputy governor’s point that Akeredolu had intervened in the crisis by asking the House to embrace political solutions to the crisis.
Odebowale also faulted the denial of the deputy governor that he had never sponsored any group to protest against the governor.
He said, “Governor Akeredolu does not meddle in the affairs of the House of Assembly of Ondo State, as subtly suggested at the (Aiyedatiwa’s) press conference. There has never been any time when the governor ‘persuaded’ the ‘distinguished members of Ondo State House of Assembly to embrace the political solution offered, by the APC, ‘in the face of an impeachment move against’ the Deputy Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
“The governor, a senior advocate of over two decades, possesses a deep understanding of constitutional democracy. Any snide suggestion of meddlesomeness in the business of the second arm of government by the governor is repudiated with vehemence. Mr Governor cannot descend too low.
“The deputy governor referred to the allegations of malfeasance levelled against him by the House of Assembly as ‘all sorts of lies against my person in the media.’ It is only decent that we advise him to take this defence to the same House of Assembly which came up with 14 allegations of gross misconduct against him.”
Odebowale also took exception to Aiyedatiwa’s reference to Akeredolu’s ill health, saying, “More instructive is the unfortunate reference made to ‘a series of events triggered by the health challenges faced by Mr Governor, which gave rise to misunderstandings, misconceptions, assumptions, and insinuations, and exploited by political contenders preparing for the upcoming 2024 gubernatorial election.’”
According to him, “the good people of Ondo State are too discerning to be hoodwinked with dissembling equivocation.”
He said, “Keen observers of events, as they have been unfolding in the state, cannot miss the import of the malicious intents, insensitive posturing and diabolical projections of the last six months in the government of the Sunshine State.”