Wednesday, 24 April, 2024

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S-West govs visit Akeredolu as motorcyclists avert protest in Ondo


ON a day four South-West governors visited Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State at his Ibadan residence, a mild drama ensued in Akure, the Ondo State capital, yesterday, as a protest planned by the Ondo Liberation Initiative, over the continued absence of the governor from the state, was averted by over 200 commercial motorcycle operators.

But in a counter move, another youth group alleged that the protest was aimed at disrupting the existing peace in the state.

In a show of solidarity, Governors Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos, Prince Dapo Abiodun of Ogun, Engr. Seyi Makinde of Oyo and Mr Biodun Oyebanji of Ekiti, yesterday, visited Akeredolu, who is Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Governor Ademola Adeleke of Osun State was, however, absent at the meeting.

Journalists, who monitored the visit, were denied access to cover further activities of the governor at his residence.

Their visit is coming after Akeredolu’s three-month medical vacation abroad.

Although the meeting was held behind closed doors, Vanguard gathered that the visit was at the instance of President Bola Tinubu.

Why S-West govs visited Akeredolu —Source

A source told Vanguard that the President mandated the four governors to go and get first-hand information about the health of Akeredolu.

The source said: “The four governors came visiting Aketi to ascertain his health status following various lies that our governor is incapacitated.

“I am sure that the governors have seen for themselves that Aketi is not incapacitated as being rumoured by the evil people. They will brief the president after the visit.

“The South-West governors assured Akeredolu of maximum support and their cooperation. They also discussed the development in the South-West and how more collaboration can be made for progress in the region.

“Again, the governors prayed for Governor Akeredolu and encouraged him to take more rest while attending to state matters.”

Also speaking, Akeredolu’s Chief Press Secretary, Richard Olatunde, in a statement, said that the governors met with their chairman and that they discussed issues of interest.

Olatunde said: “The governor, who appreciated the Governors for their solidarity, harped on continuous collaboration among the South-West states.

“Governor Makinde of Oyo State said the Forum is praying for Governor Akeredolu.

“Makinde added that he has the support of all the governors in the region.

“The governors discussed National and other issues affecting the region and the people.”

Our gov is being caged —Youths

The NUJ secretariat, which was the venue of the protest and press conference, was invaded by the commercial motorcycle operators as early as 8 a.m.

The motorcyclists took over the venue and prevented the members of the group that had earlier paid for the hall.

The spokesperson for the group, Alabi Johnson, who later addressed other members at the entrance of the NUJ secretariat, expressed concern about the state of health of the governor.

Johnson said that the group perceived that the governor “has been caged by either his immediate family or his aides, who are his handlers and prevented him from accessing quality health care abroad because of reasons best known to them.

“We all know that when anyone is sick, as our Governor is now, he/she remains at the mercy of whoever is managing his/her health. As it is now, we perceive that our Governor is very ill and at the mercy of these handlers.

“Nobody has access to him. Nobody has seen him in any public place since his claimed resumption of office. This is why our concept of Jare e gba becomes necessary in Ondo.

“Aketi needs to be rescued and taken out for better medical care. The Governor is no longer a private person but a public officer.”

Protest meant to discredit Akeredolu, Ondo youths allege

However, some youths, under the aegis of Ondo Youth and Masses Conscience, alleged that the protest was aimed at disrupting the existing peace in the state.

The state coordinator of the youth group, Adetunji Benjamin, said: “The plan involves the mobilisation of youth, primarily from Ilaje in Ilaje local government area, who are expected to present a distorted account of Mr Governor’s health status.

“Even worse, they intend to employ the slogan ‘Jara e gba’ to mislead the people of the state and garner support for actions that may incite discord against the Governor.

“We strongly condemn these actions and call on the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress, APC, to take notice of this treacherous endeavour, even after their previous interventions.

“We have evidence of the planned press conference and protest, during which mocking statements were made about the people of Ondo State.

“This action undermines the efforts of the National Working Committee of the APC.”

Aiyedatiwa disowns protest against Akeredolu

Meanwhile, the embattled Deputy Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, yesterday, denied endorsing any planned protest against the governor’s continued absence from the state.

Aiyedatiwa, in a statement, disowning the protesters, said he remains loyal to the governor.

He said: “My attention has been drawn to some false publications in which it was alleged that a group loyal to me is planning to hold a protest against Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.

“This is to inform the good and peace-loving people of Ondo State that I am not aware of any such protest and no group or association has my endorsement to carry out public demonstration of any kind.

“I affirm my commitment to the ongoing reconciliation efforts of the National leadership of our party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, on the political situation in our state which is already yielding much-needed tranquillity in the state.

“Therefore, I enjoin the security operatives in the state to continue to maintain peace and ensure that the good people of Ondo State go about their daily activities without any disturbance.”

CJ urged to ignore assembly on probe panel

Similarly, the deputy governor urged the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Olusegun Odusola, to ignore the request of the Assembly to constitute a seven-man panel of investigators to probe allegations of gross misconduct against him.

Aiyedatiwa, in a letter by his lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, SAN, forwarded to the Chief Judge faulted the position of the Assembly, which he said was based on conjectures, misconceptions, inconsistencies, undue desperation and misconstruction of the law.

The Assembly, on Monday, wrote to the Chief Judge asking him to constitute a seven-man panel to probe the Deputy Governor, claiming that the orders of injunction granted by the Federal High Court in Abuja, had expired.

But, Aiyedatiwa, through his lawyer, argued that the Orders granted by the Federal High Court, Abuja, on September 26, 2023, were still in force and remained valid and subsisting, contrary to the conclusion of the Assembly that the said Orders had expired by operation of law.

He said: “Contrary to this misconception of law and the facts, the same House of Assembly filed a Motion on Notice dated 20th October 2023, before the Court of Appeal, Abuja in respect of the same orders of the Federal High Court, praying for abridgement of time to hear its appeal against the said orders.

“If it is true that the orders expired by operation of law on 18th October 2023 as being falsely canvassed, why would the same House of Assembly file a fresh application two days later, in pursuit of its desire to set aside the said orders that it claimed have expired? While the Assembly is pursuing its appeal to set aside the orders in Court, it is deviously asking My Lord to set aside the same orders in Chambers, purportedly by operation of law.”

Credit: Vanguard News Nigeria

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