AFTER wading into the dispute between Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and his deputy Lucky Aiyedatiwa, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has urged both parties to “bury the hatchet and maintain the status quo.”
This was contained in a statement by the special adviser to the President on media and publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, on Saturday, November 25.
The statement said the parties involved in the dispute, including lawmakers in the state, expressed willingness to comply with the President’s directive. The decision was reached during a meeting between Tinubu and parties to the crisis on Friday, November 24.
“This means that Governor Akeredolu remains the chief executive of the state. Aiyedatiwa remains deputy governor, and members of the state executive council continue their respective duties, even as the leadership of the state’s House of Assembly and the APC chapter in Ondo state is preserved,” the statement noted.
Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa had been involved in a months-long feud over the governor’s insistence on retaining power despite being unable to function optimally due to ill health.
On Friday, November 24, The ICIR reported that Akeredolu had been out of Ondo state for 171 days, nearly six months since he was flown out of Nigeria to receive care for an undisclosed ailment.
Although he returned to Nigeria in September, the governor has remained in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital, and has governed Ondo state from there.
Since the governor arrived in Ibadan, he has made botched moves to impeach his deputy.
During the meeting with Tinubu, Aiyedatiwa accepted to remain in his position as deputy governor, describing the crisis as part of politics.
“I want to say that with no offence, no guile in my mind whatsoever. All that has happened is politics. Impeachment is part of politics. If you survive it, it is also politics. It has come. I’ve survived it, and every other thing is in the past.
“It is one big family, and our father has intervened to bring all the children together to remain under the same family and with the position that I occupy, I will carry every one of you along in every decision that needs to be taken.
“In everything that we do, we will work together; the executive and the legislature will work together to ensure that governance is on the right track,” Aiyedatiwa said.
In 2009, former Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua was ill in office. During the prolonged illness that later led to his death, Yar’Adua refused to hand over power to his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan, after he was flown out of Nigeria.
Akeredolu, then president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), had urged Yar’Adua to hand over power to his deputy, arguing it was a Constitutional requirement.
“It is not your party or your wife that will decide whether you are capable of handling state matters; it is only your doctors that can decide that. The bar is not asking the President not to come back and take his seat, but the right thing must be done,” Akeredolu had said.