WHERE IS GOV. AKEREDOLU OF ONDO STATE?
Dr. Akeredolu O.N.
*After conspicuously missing out on this month’s NEC meeting of the governors with the president, the weekly Ondo State’s Exco meeting has been suspended. There had been no October 1st Independence broadcast, and rumours of Aketi’s deteriorating health status have permeated the political atmosphere in the Sunshine State. So, who is ruling Ondo State, and why the desperation to remove H.E. Lucky Aiyedatiwa at all costs? This much I know: history won’t be kind to Aketi and other silent political leaders who allowed Arakunrin to make God’s darling state a mockery in Nigeria.*
The latest unending drama in the Sunshine State calls for the attention of all its well-meaning citizens. The unnecessary political topsy-turvy orchestrated by Aketi and his foot soldiers is disturbing and unfortunate. It’s no longer news that our exiled governor, after returning from a medical leave of almost three months’ duration, decided to stay away from the state, ruling us by proxies from far-away Ibadan. This is the first of its kind in Nigeria and in the history of our darling state in almost five decades since its creation. After returning to Nigeria, the administrative and political structures in Ondo State were shamefully summoned to the former capital of the Western region to have their first meeting with Arakunrin. Aside from that, the governor refused to do a broadcast and address the people, his well-wishers. Instead, he engaged in the wild goose chase of prosecuting his deputy governor on unfounded charges.
The media aides of this Ilaje-born man were first fired, alleging them of spreading false information about the governor’s death. Unimaginably, the House of Assembly members issued a query to H.E. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, claiming he used over 300 million naira to purchase an armoured bullet-proof jeep. Having realized how baseless and unacceptable their falsehood was, the honourable members backtracked on this and started another set of shenanigans aimed at removing him at all costs. In another twist, the Senior Special Assistant to Aketi on Special Duties, who is renowned for vulgarism and several allegations of physical assaults on the citizens of the state, including a pregnant woman, Dr. Doyin Odebowale, came on air to insult the leadership of an entire senatorial district, Ondo Southern Zone, comprising six local governments (Ilaje, Okitipupa, Ese-Odo, Odigbo, Ile-Oluji Okeigbo, and Irele). In the same vein, this Ogun State-born Prince, who had been fired on many occasions by the University of Ibadan for misconduct, openly called the number two citizen in the Sunshine State a political nonentity. However, he failed to mention that H.E. Lucky Aiyedatiwa had a bullet-proof jeep that Aketi borrowed when the one given by Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu had mechanical faults during the 2012 governorship election. Arakunrin mentioned this during his campaign for a second term while unveiling H.E. Aiyedatiwa as the next deputy governor when he had a problem with H.E. Agboola Ajayi.
Ondo State will never forget Arakunrin in a jiffy on a bad note. However, we were warned by Dr. Olusegun Mimiko against him becoming the governor. In a widely monitored debate before the 2012 historic governorship event, Iroko of Ondo State politics, who had been Arakunrin’s friend since their days as undergraduates at Great Ife, judged from their records in the public domain, said that ten members of his executive members as then Nigerian Bar Association’s president signed a petition for Aketi’s removal on the grounds that he awarded contracts to his company, AKT Venture Limited, in which he, his wife, and child were stakeholders. Also, when he was the Attorney General of Real Admiral Anthony Onyearugbulem led military administration in Ondo State under the late Gen Sanni Abacha-led anti-people Junta, he was indicted by a probe panel that looked into his tenure, constituted by the subsequent administration.
The government of Aketi, almost seven years in power, is a replica of AKT Venture of Dr. Olusegun Mimiko’s political jabs. Arakunrin, his wife, Betty Anyanwu Akeredolu, and their beloved son, Babajide, have held the state by the jugular. It has reached a point where we don’t know who is actually the governor among these three family members. In fact, lobbyists prefer to go through Babajide or his mother, Betty, instead of Aketi in their dealings with the current government. The badly dented popularity of Arakunrin has gone down beyond repair, as it is obvious to the people, I mean the despotic tendencies of our governor. To buttress this, having known the implications of Aketi’s present move to remove his immediate subordinate, a group loyal to Aketi’s presumed anointed candidate, Mr. Wale Akinterinwa, dissociated the incumbent commissioner for finance from Arakunrin’s egocentric and self-centred actions.
Likewise, former members of the respected Ondo State House of Assembly, like Hon. Akogun, Hon. Olajide, Rt. Hon. Ogundeji Iroju, and others, have condemned the activities of this 10th assembly. Many things are calling for the urgent attention of these honourable parliamentarians, but they seem to have lost focus due to their palms that were said to have been recently greased with several thousands of dollars to carry out their present mission at the expense of their political future. Nobody is asking questions among them about the increase in the streams of monthly allocation inflow into the state, which almost doubled the projection for the year due to subsidy removal, then what happens to the excess? The oversight functions for the various committee members were neglected as they burdened themselves with the anti-masses’ aspiration of satisfying the desires of Aketi. Based on the political history of the state, I can assure them that most, if not all, have committed political Seppuku (the Japanese word for suicide). It’s only a matter of time.
The whereabouts of our governor in the state are unknown, the weekly Exco meeting has been suspended, and nothing is moving in the state. To add insult to injury, the governor was conspicuously absent from the monthly National Executive Council meeting. The popular Canadian-based human rights activist of Ondo State origin, Comrade Jimmy Adekanle, popularly known as JAF, has insinuated that the present health status of the governor is not pleasant, i.e., his health has deteriorated and he is to be flown to Germany any moment now. Extrapolating from his previous rumours through JAF’s popular online newspaper, The Savannah News, the Irele-born acclaimed Lion, who has been a thorn in Aketi’s family government’s political flesh, might be right. At least he (JAF) predicted that Aketi would return to Nigeria but not to Ondo State because the governor believed there were demonic spirits who were after his life in the Sunshine State, and it happened likewise. The questions are these: Where is Aketi? What is the current health status? Who is ruling Ondo State? Why the desperation to remove H.E. Lucky Aiyedatiwa at all costs while the governorship primaries are less than seven months away? These and more are calling for urgent answers. However, this much I know: history won’t be kind to Aketi and other silent political leaders for allowing Arakunrin to make this God’s darling state a mockery in Nigeria.
*Dr. Akeredolu O.N, Leader of the Medical Team (2016), Vice Chairman of the Aketi-Aiyedatiwa Medical Committee (2020)*