In the midst of escalating political turbulence in Ondo State, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu is set to return to Germany for further medical treatment, leaving a leadership void that Deputy Governor Lucy Aiyedatiwa is poised to fill as the acting governor. The announcement, made by Akeredolu’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Richard Olatunde, on Tuesday, has reignited concerns about the governance vacuum and the underlying power struggles within the state.
Akeredolu, who has been battling an undisclosed illness believed to be cancer, previously took medical leaves in April and July of 2023. Despite returning to Nigeria in September, his absence from Ondo State has left a leadership vacuum, leading to divisions within the executive council between supporters of the governor and those aligned with Deputy Governor Aiyedatiwa.
The political discord intensified in November, with conflicting resolutions and power plays. President Bola Tinubu’s meeting with state All Progressives Congress (APC) leaders and the Deputy Governor on Monday failed to yield concrete resolutions, further highlighting the persistent challenges facing the state.
Olatunde emphasized Akeredolu’s commitment to the constitutional practice of delegating power to his deputy during medical leaves, citing previous instances in 2021 and 2022. However, the absence of the governor’s letter formalizing the power transfer raised uncertainties within the state Assembly.
Sources within the Assembly indicated that the president directed the House to adopt the Doctrine of Necessity if the letter from the governor did not arrive promptly. As of the time of reporting, the Assembly had yet to receive the formal communication.
Meanwhile, the Ondo State Conscience Movement has called on Aiyedatiwa to investigate allegations of signature forgery involving Akeredolu. The group stressed that such actions could compromise the state’s democratic integrity and financial resources.
In a related development, legal practitioner Dr. Tunji Abayomi emphasized that the resolution of the ongoing crisis lies within Ondo State itself. He argued that external interventions, including those from the president, can only assist and that the responsibility to resolve the issues ultimately rests with the state’s leaders. As the political drama unfolds, the people of Ondo State await a resolution to the multifaceted challenges facing their leadership and governance structures.