June 11, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

Lucky Aiyedatiwa survives impeachment threat, becomes gov within a month

THE man’s given name is “Lucky.” That has become his fate.
Lucky Aiyedatiwa, up till yesterday deputy governor of Ondo State who only last battled to avert impeachment by the state house of assembly, has been sworn as governor substantive.
This is coming as Gov. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s demise is confirmed from his hospital bed in Germany. His doctors had given him January 2024 “terminal prognosis.”
Aiyedatiwa now becomes Ondo State’s seventh governor, and says Akeredolu’s death is “unfortunate, devastating.”
After surviving an intricate impeachment plot and having forced President Bola Tinubu’s intervention to activate the “doctrine of necessity” twice before power was transmitted to him, Aiyedatiwa has transmuted from deputy governor to acting governor and now governor ultimate.
One report says that “a somber and queer kind of ‘luck’ smiled on Lucky Aiyedatiwa when the oath of office was administered on him” by Ondo State chief judge Justice Olusegun Odusola, proclaiming governor, following the death of Akeredolu after a prolonged battle with prostate cancer.
Aiyedatiwa says he is sad over the death of his principal. “It is with heavy heart that I accept this onerous responsibility of taking over the reins of governance and affairs of our state following the unfortunate loss and passing of our beloved governor, leader and dear boss, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON.
“The death of our governor is indeed a devastating shock to us all, as we have all been praying earnestly for his quick recovery and subsequent safe return to Ondo, having embarked on another medical leave on Wednesday, December 13. Indeed, there is no armour against fate, death lays his icy hand on kings.”
Aiyedatiwa commiserates with the immediate and extended family of Akeredolu, Olowo of Iwo Oba Gbadegesin Ogunoye III, the people of Owo and indeed the entire people of Ondo State over the monumental loss.
He also describes the deceased as a man of courage who always stood with the truth, even to his own detriment, especially on national issues, some of which sometimes made him square up against the Federal Government as the chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum, like his campaign against RUGA, clamour for return of presidency to Southern Nigeria in 2023, instituting Amotekun and federalism issues like arming state security apparatus.
Aiyedatiwa said the people of Ondo and the entire Southwest would not forget in a hurry the creation of Amotekun that checked banditry and kidnapping in the region.
“The demise of Akeredolu is indeed a great loss to me as an individual, as our relationship dates back many years, having closely worked with him when his gubernatorial journey started in 2012.
“The loss of the election then did not affect our relationship as we continued to maintain close political and personal relationships, which climaxed in 2020 when he graciously picked me as his running-mate for his second term as governor.”
The new governor has declared three days of mourning in the state and ordered that the national flag in all establishments in the state should fly at half-staff.
Yesterday’s transition was the culmination of the long-standing feud and cold war between Aiyedatiwa and Akeredolu, which came to light earlier this year during the first long spell of Akeredolu’s medical vacation.
As a consequence of the transition, some of Akeredolu’s close aides have announced their resignations, beginning with the late governor’s chief press secretary Richard Olatunde.
Then the special adviser to Akeredolu on special duties and union matters, Dare Aragbaye, also resigned from the cabinet. Aragbaye stated that he will be loyal to Akeredolu even in death.
With Aiyedatiwa’s swearing in, the dust may have finally settled over the political crisis that rocked Ondo in the last few months, especially after Akeredolu’s return from his medical vacation in September.
Akeredolu stayed in his Ibadan residence in the Oyo State capital and Aiyedatiwa was faced with impeachment threats following allegations of misconduct against him by the state assembly.
Impeachment proceedings against Aiyedatiwa were, however, stalled by the state chief judge Justice Olusegun Odusola, who cited an existing ex-parte order against his reasons for setting up a seven-man impeachment panel.
With the position of the chief judge, the camps of Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa refused to sheathe their swords as the strained relationship continued to widen.
Following the development, the situation took its toll on the governance of the state as noticeable cracks became evident in the state executive council.