Ondo State Government personnel deprived communities of optimal governance during Rotimi Akeredolu’s three-month vacation, said Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties and Strategy Doyin Odebowale on Wednesday.
“I can tell you for free, yes, when he was away, there was little of governance,” Odebowale said on Channels Television’s Politics Today, six days after the governor’s arrival in Nigeria from medical leave abroad, notably in Germany.
“People wanting to contest – yes, they want to be governor, they want to be this, they want to be that. It is within their right but they were distracting us and they were recruiting people.”
With Akeredolu’s second term ending in about 17 months, a vote is expected to be held in the latter half of 2024 to choose his successor.
Odebowale stressed that the primary purpose of governance is the welfare of the people, saying officials must serve the people and relegate politicking to the background.
“The governor is not interested in these petty politics that people have reduced the whole state to in his absence,” he added.
The remarks come on the heels of speculation of a rift between Akeredolu and Deputy Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa, following the governor’s disbandment of his deputy’s media team with the directive that each member submit government properties in their possession with immediate effect.
“Talking about their relationship, I know the governor and the deputy still met a few days ago. There’s no problem at all,” Odebowale said in reassurance.
The senior aide also rejected comparisons to Ondo State, where Governor Godwin Obaseki and Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu are widely believed to be at loggerheads after the deputy governor took the governor to court over an alleged impeachment plot against him.
Though the suit has since been withdrawn, Shaibu has relocated his office farther out of the Government House quarters.
“I don’t want to believe that what is happening in Edo State is what we’re following,” Odebowale argued.
“No, we cannot follow Edo State. This is Ondo State. Ondo State will do what is right.”
A photo combination of Ondo Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu and his deputy, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
Asked if Aiyedatiwa is in the running for the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the special duties aide said, “He has not told me so; he has not told anybody so”.
“But because we are in this state, we know that certain members of this cabinet are contesting and some people who are outside too want to contest and that is legitimate,” he added.
Odebowale however is requesting that the ambitions of interested individuals in the state government not distract others.