The peace deal orchestrated by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu faces jeopardy as some members of the Ondo State House of Assembly misinterpret its terms, sparking tension within the state’s chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Ondo State Executive Council.
The turmoil revolves around an alleged plot by some lawmakers to unseat Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, insisting that Deputy Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa should be declared Acting Governor, contrary to the terms of the agreement.
The crisis further intensifies over the dispute regarding whether to conduct local government elections or establish interim management committees. Supporters of Aiyedatiwa claim that the Abuja peace deal has conferred upon the Deputy Governor the authority of the Acting Governor. However, House of Assembly Speaker Olamide Oladiji disagrees, affirming commitment to the agreement reached at Aso Villa.
President Tinubu, mediating between the Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa factions, urged them to resolve their differences. The President met both camps after consulting with Akeredolu on the telephone twice. The weekend meeting included Aiyedatiwa, party chairman Ade Adetimehin, Secretary to Government Oladunni Odu, Oladiji, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim, and others.
According to inside sources, the warring camps reached certain terms, including dropping impeachment moves against the Deputy Governor, withdrawal of pending court cases, non-shuffling of the state executive council, non-tampering with the party’s executive and House of Assembly principal leadership, and Aiyedatiwa consulting with Akeredolu in running the state’s affairs. A three-man panel was established to monitor Aiyedatiwa’s activities and report to the President.
In a statement, President Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, declared that the President advised maintaining the status quo, with Akeredolu as the Chief Executive of the State, Aiyedatiwa as Deputy Governor, and that the leadership of the House of Assembly and APC Chapter in Ondo State should be preserved.
Despite this, tension arises as 11 lawmakers loyal to Aiyedatiwa seek to gain majority support to pronounce the Deputy Governor as Acting Governor, potentially sidelining Akeredolu and discarding Tinubu’s directive. Aiyedatiwa allegedly demands his declaration as Acting Governor, defying the resolutions reached at the meeting with President Tinubu. The situation has led to concerns about unity within the Ondo APC structure.
One lawmaker, speaking anonymously, expressed frustration with Aiyedatiwa’s insistence on forcefully taking power from Akeredolu.
He said: “On Sunday, a number of us received a call from the deputy governor. He informed us that he must be declared acting governor on Tuesday. “When we reminded him that it wasn’t part of the resolutions reached at the meeting with the President, he said the President can’t tell us how to run Ondo State.
“All efforts to make the deputy governor understand that the resolutions would only engender peace and allow the state to move forward failed as he yelled and said over his dead body would Akeredolu remain as governor. “The deputy governor has failed to understand that the President has given the best political solution to the issue at hand. I wonder what Mr. Deputy Governor wants again. The agreement is that you should go and do your job. Represent your boss and get the people together. Is that too hard?
“Why is he hell-bent on becoming acting governor? Is he doing it in the interest of the people of the state? The answer is definitely no. “Aiyedatiwa believes that the only way for him to become governor is if he forcefully takes power from Akeredolu now. “The painful part is the unbridled affront to the President’s directive that the status quo should remain. President Tinubu is a man who should be respected in Ondo State. “Especially if you are a loyal member of the APC, you must understand that Tinubu has invested so much in the party over the years.”
The party chairman, Adetimehin, affirmed commitment to the peace plan, stating that no politician in the state would go against the resolution with President Tinubu. Similarly, Oladiji and Majority Leader Emmanuel Ogunmolasuyi reiterated their adherence to the outcomes of the meeting with the President, emphasizing the agreement that Akeredolu remains Governor while Aiyedatiwa remains Deputy Governor, not as Acting Governor.