Akeredolu deserves credit but should transfer power to his deputy again, says ex-presidential aide, Akande


By Oluwafemi Popooola

Thursday, December 7, 2023 — Former presidential aide and veteran journalist, Laolu Akande, has waded into the lingering political crisis in Ondo State, claiming the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, deserves some ‘credit’ for having previously handed over power to his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, on four different occasions.

Akande noted that some of the media commentaries have not been fair to the governor, insisting Akeredolu doesn’t come across as someone desperate to hang on to power as he advised that the deputy governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, should be allowed to be acting governor again following Governor Rotimi Akeredolu health challenges.

Akande gave this charge on Thursday, December 7, 2023, while featuring on Channels TV’s news documentary programme, Sunrise Daily, as the TV’s in-house political analyst, where he spoke extensively on the power debacle ravaging Ondo State politics.

“Many of the commentaries that I have followed don’t seem to also give the governor some credit. This guy has handed over power at least four times this year. So, we are not dealing with the situation of someone who is trying to hang on to power desperately, “Akande said.

He added, “If the governor is not there, the constitution says that the deputy governor should take over. What I suspect is happening in Ondo State is politics. That has to be sorted out. If you look at Akeredolu very well, he is a very courageous guy. We are not going to find many politicians who are as bold as him.

“Here is a guy when they were talking about whether power should shift to the south and some people felt it should stay in the north, he said no. Look it is going to North and South. Very bold, he comes out and says it as it should be. And in this particular case, he handed over four times to the deputy governor.

“What should happen now is he should hand over power if he is not in place on the government. But we should not have a situation where based on report we have party leaders giving instructions to the state assembly and the security as to what is going to happen”, he stated.

Speaking on the issue where some elements in the corridors of power are said to have ordered security agencies to Ondo State without the knowledge of the President, Akande said such has been the practice regarding the demonstration of power in Nigeria’s political history as he condemned the unwarranted access by these power mongers while commending the president’s timely effort to forestall the impending crisis that may have caused in the state.

“I don’t think it is a new thing because of the informality of the demonstration of power in Nigeria’s political history. You find a lot of the people in the corridor pushing power informally so am not sure that it is unusual but it is not right,” Akande stated.

He added, “People are elected and appointed and given specific authority but a lot of times or some of the times, you find people around them using the authority. It is not new but the point is that it is not the right thing to do and to the credit of the President when he heard about this particular instance, he gave instructions to the security agencies to stand down.”

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Continuing, he said, “Remember the president had a meeting two Fridays ago when he brought all the stakeholders together. We have information reported in the media that what had happened was that we had party leaders going to Ondo State and trying to determine with some people what ought to happen, giving instructions to security operatives. that is why the president stopped it, you can’t do that.

When the interviewer cuts in and asks what could be done to put an end to the undue advantage of those who leverage the access to the President to pursue their own agenda.

In his response, Akande said, “I think there are quite a number of other underlying issues which are essentially speculative but is the nature of politics. Some say that Akeredolu is just being targeted by some of those party interests because of some of his pro-South-West views of the past.

“You could remember when there was a lot of insecurity in the South-West, Akeredolu was the one who rallied all the other governors to start the South-West regional security.

“I think following that theory he earned quite a few enemies like I said these are speculative but these are some of the underlying current that might explain some of the extent that some of these party leaders have gone in trying to solve the problems.

“I don’t think it is an entirely a bad thing to try and bring a political solution but to have gone to the extent of issuing out instructions without proper legitimate authority, I think that is what is a problem here and you must commend the fact that this was effectively terminated before too long,” Akande said.

Commenting on the delayed transmission of power to the deputy governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, Akande noted that the delay and its attendant high-wire politics are moves targeted against the deputy governor saying there are some ‘cabals’ who are not disposed to him becoming the governor of the state.

“We have some people who don’t want the deputy governor to basically take over power. The truth of the matter is that he is the deputy governor. If the governor is incapacitated, by constitution he is supposed to take over. Things have to be done properly. The executive council ought to make that resolution”, Akande stated.

“And while it is alright for political leaders to try and work out a political solution, it is important to also know the limit of a political party or a political leader and what the duty of government officials are.”, Akande concluded.