By Allen Sowore, Esq.
Following the highly advertised State Executive Council meeting of the Ondo State Government held on Thursday, 30th, 2023, significant discussions have begun trickling into the public domain. Contrary to the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mrs. Bamidele Ademola-Olateju’s briefings that financial commitments were approved; reports from credible sources reveal that such financial commitments were not approved. In fact, the session concluded without any executive decisions due to the absence of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN CON, or an Acting Governor.
While the Deputy Governor, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa, chaired the Cabinet meeting as the Vice Chairman of the Council, crucial decisions couldn’t be made as he lacked the executive authority as Acting Governor to endorse them.
The Ondo State Executive Council convened its first meeting after a five-month leadership vacuum, which arose from a prolonged crisis between the State House of Assembly and the embattled Deputy Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu intervened in this crisis, urging the conflicting factions to lay down their swords and restore peace in the state.
The meeting in Abuja concluded that the status quo should be maintained, with Lucky Aiyedatiwa returning to the state to coordinate its affairs, involving all stakeholders in the decision-making process.
However, just before the deputy governor’s return to Akure from Abuja, members of Governor Akeredolu’s inner circle submitted a list of candidates for the interim Management Committee of the 18 LGs and 33 LCDAs to the State House of Assembly for screening and approval, without informing the deputy governor or considering his nominations.
Moreover, on Wednesday evening, an internal memo signed by the Chief of Protocol, Bola Alabi, instructed the deputy governor to preside over the State Executive Council meeting scheduled for Thursday, November 30, 2023.
At the Thursday meeting, the Secretary to the State Government, Princess Oladunni Odu, who heads the State Executive Council’s Secretariat, presented a list of requests, including over ₦1 billion loan for one of the state’s MDAs, among other items.
However, the deputy governor sought more time and the opportunity to consult with the Governor for clarification and authorization before approving such items. He emphasized his lack of authority as ‘deputy governor,’ having been denied the status of an Acting Governor, as stipulated by the Constitution.
Disagreements erupted during the meeting over the formal presentation of the resolutions reached in Abuja to the State Executive Council, resulting in a heated session as members were divided over the interpretation of the meeting’s resolutions, each favoring their own narrative.
Regrettably, the SSG asserted that Mr. President had instructed her, the party chairman, and the Speaker to supervise and monitor the deputy governor. Constitutionally, the House of Assembly has oversight role, checks and balance as the Legislative arm of government over the Executive. But the SSG and party chairman supervisory role is abnormal !
The meeting ended with no approval secured for any of the listed memos. Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN CON has been indisposed for a significant part of this year and has refused to transfer power to his deputy, resulting in the ongoing leadership vacuum in the state.