The relationship between Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State and his deputy, Mr. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has taken a contentious twist, with alleged plans to undermine the governor’s authority. Governor Akeredolu had transferred power to the deputy governor while he sought medical treatment abroad, with his expected return on July 6.
However, recent developments suggest that Mr. Aiyedatiwa has been exerting his influence and making decisions that undermine the authority of the governor’s office. Dr. Doyin Odebowale, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on special duties and strategies, raised concerns about certain politicians taking advantage of the governor’s absence to gain control over the state treasury.
According to a reliable government source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the deputy governor has been demanding unrestricted access to the state treasury. In addition to his regular monthly allocation, Mr. Aiyedatiwa has insisted on receiving the governor’s allowance and other benefits associated with the office. Furthermore, he has been interrogating government officials about the governor’s earnings and expenditures, seeking detailed information about the allocation and disbursement of funds.
Government officials, however, have emphasized the importance of following proper financial procedures and due process. They clarified that the governor’s office does not directly instruct the release of funds, as all financial approvals must go through the Ministry of Finance. Despite these explanations, the deputy governor remains persistent in his demands for immediate funds and has become confrontational with officials. The officials expressed their concerns about what they perceive as executive recklessness and emphasized their commitment to responsible use of public funds.
Another anonymous source, closely associated with the government, revealed that the deputy governor has been refusing to adhere to the schedules of activities prepared by the governor’s office. This behavior has been interpreted as a direct challenge to Governor Akeredolu’s authority. Instead of fulfilling his obligations within the state, Mr. Aiyedatiwa has shown a preference for attending events outside of the state to access allowances and other benefits.
It is worth noting that the deputy governor, in previous statements, urged Nigerians to continue praying for Governor Akeredolu’s quick recovery and dismissed rumors of government activities being disrupted. He attributed such rumors to impatience and a lack of understanding of how the machinery of government operates, particularly during political events like party primaries and gubernatorial elections.