THE frosty relationship between Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, and his Deputy, Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, yesterday, took a new twist, as there are alleged plans to supplant the governor.
Akeredolu transmitted power to the deputy governor, after embarking on medical treatment, and is expected back in the country on July 6.
But fresh facts emerged that since the announcement of the power transfer, Mr Aiyedatiwa has reportedly been “undermining the authority of the governor’s office through his actions and decisions.”
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on special duties and strategies, Dr Doyin Odebowale recently raised the alarm that some politicians are using the absence of Akeredolu, who is currently on medical vacation, to capture the state’s treasury.
A reliable government source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, disclosed that the deputy governor has demanded unrestricted access to the state treasury.
The source disclosed that asides from his regular monthly allocation, Aiyedatiwa has insisted on receiving the governor’s allowance and other benefits associated with the office.
It was further gathered that the deputy governor has been interrogating government officials about the governor’s earnings and expenditures.
The source, however, said: “We are not concerned about the political turmoil within the government. Our priority is ensuring due process. The governor’s office does not directly instruct us to release funds.
“There are established procedures for financial disbursements in the government, and all approvals must go through the Ministry of Finance.
“Aside from the running grant accruing to the deputy governor’s office monthly, he has also demanded that the governor’s running grant and other emoluments attached to the office of the governor be
handed to him as acting Governor.
“In the past week, the deputy governor has summoned and threatened two of our officials. He has inquired about the governor’s spending and demanded to know how funds allocated to the governor’s office are disbursed.
“He believes he is entitled to two streams of funding, insisting that the governor’s office allocation should be included as part of his role as acting governor.
“During the encounters with our officials, they kindly explained that even the governor’s office route its approvals through the Ministry of Finance.
“However, the deputy governor remains obstinate, repeatedly demanding immediate funds. Despite our attempts to educate him on proper financial protocols and the responsible use of public funds, he persists.
“He has been confrontational and demanding. We see this as executive recklessness. While we understand tensions may be high, we would prefer not to be involved in any reckless activities.”
Another reliable source, who pleaded anonymity due to his closeness to the government, said the deputy governor has been refusing the schedule of activities as being prepared by the governor’s office.
The source said: “The deputy governor has gone haywire. It is like he has made up his mind to fight his boss openly. There is no other way to fight your boss than refusing the schedules from his office.
“The deputy governor is more concerned about working outside the state so as to get access to allowances and other emoluments.
“On Wednesday, the Deputy Governor was supposed to represent the governor at the 2023 FIDA Nigeria held at the International Centre for Culture and Event (DOME). But he declined, he chose to attend the 2023 NAF Conference World Hydrography Day in Abuja.
“This is just one of the many instances where he declined schedules. The events that were initially accepted by the governor in which the governor had already promised his presence or that of the deputy governor are now being declined by the deputy governor.”
It will be recalled that Ayedatiwa had urged Nigerians not to relent in praying for his boss and also debunked rumours about the disruption of government activities.
The acting governor had said: “We, therefore, enjoin the good people of Ondo State and all friends of our dear Sunshine State not to relent in their prayers for Mr Governor’s quick recovery, so that he can resume duty after his medical vacation, to continue with his good works for the betterment of Ondo State in particular and Nigeria at large.
“Rumours about the disruption of government activities are misplaced and only arose as a result of impatience and lack of proper understanding of the running of the machinery of government.
“Such misrepresentations and baseless allusions are to be expected when political gladiators by their activities in the build-up to party primaries and gubernatorial elections in any state try to heat the polity. Ondo State cannot be an exception.”