Anxiety over the health status of Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu fizzled out yesterday.
The governor received at his Ibadan residence four of his Southwest colleagues, who were on a goodwill visit to him.
Wearing a light purple dress (Buba and Sokoto), with his trademark cap to match, Akeredolu was in high spirits as he exchanged banters with the visitors.
The governors – Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos State), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Biodun Oyebanji (Ekiti) and Seyi Makinde (Oyo) – reviewed the state of the nation with their host, who is the chairman of the Southwest Governors’ Forum.
They discussed security and peace of the geo-political zone.
Osun State Governor Ademola Adeleke was absent.
The visit, according to a source, was at the instance of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who had expressed concern over the reports on Akeredolu’s health.
It was Akeredolu’s first public appearance since his return from medical leave in Germany on September 7.
The governor has been operating from Ibadan, where he signed the bill on the creation of local council development areas.
Although reporters were not allowed into the Akeredolu residence in Ibadan, where he hosted his colleagues, sources at the meeting indicated that the visitors were happy with the way they met the Ondo State governor.
A source said: “The governors were happy that Akeredolu is now recuperating speedily and also gaining weight as against the image that was seen when he arrived from his medical vacation.”
An elated Akeredolu thanked his colleagues for their solidarity.
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He spoke on continuous collaboration and sustenance of the spirit of regional brotherhood among Southwest states.
Makinde was quoted as saying that Southwest Governors’ Forum would intensify its prayer for speedy recovery for Akeredolu, assuring that he has the support of the region.
There have been some protests in Akure in the last two weeks, by some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supporters, seeking the whereabouts of the governor.
Also, there were insinuations that Akeredolu had become incapacitated.
In the governor’s absence, the rift between his deputy, Lucky Ayedatiwa, and the House of Assembly over allegations of gross misconduct deepened.
Although the APC National Working Committee (NWC), had intervened in the crisis and brokered truce, the reconciliation broke down, following Ayedatiwa’s refusal to withdraw the case against the lawmakers from court.
Supporters of Akeredolu have alleged that the deputy governor was behind the protests, press conference and rallies by people calling for the governor’s resignation.
In a frantic move to avert impeachment, the embattled deputy governor urged the Chief Judge of Ondo State, Justice Olusola Odusola, to ignore the request of the lawmakers for the setting up of a seven-man panel to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against him.
Also, a group of lawyers of Ondo State origin, who are against Aiyedatiwa’s impeachment, said Akeredolu should declare his health status.
Ayedatiwa, in a seven-page letter of October 24, 2023 by his counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), to the Chief Judge, denied that the injunction granted by the Federal High Court, Abuja, had expired.
He said the Assembly’s letter to Justice Odusola that the panel should be constituted was based on conjectures, misconceptions, inconsistencies, undue desperation and misconstruction of the law. He maintained that the orders granted by the Federal High Court, Abuja on September 26 were still in force, adding that they are valid and subsisting, contrary to the erroneous conclusion of the Assembly that they have expired.
Ayedatiwa stressed that the order of the court should last till the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for interlocutory injunction, which is still pending before the Court.
He pointed out that based on the proceedings of the Federal High Court, Abuja on October 9 and 16, the order has not been set aside.
The deputy governor chided the Assembly for inconsistency, saying that the lawmakers who claimed the order had expired are also on appeal in court.
He queried: “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 had expired?”
Ayedatiwa urged the Chief Judge to stick to his principled position as stated in his letter to the Assembly on October 3 that all parties should await the hearing of the cases in court.
He said nothing has changed to warrant a departure from the stand of the chief judge.
Lawyers to Akeredolu: declare your health status
The lawyers, Joshua Sebiotimo, I. I. Bewaji, Myson Nejo, Vincent Adodo, Kehinde Olowe, Abayomi Olahanmi, Michael Ojimba, Oluwaseun Bawa, Adeyoriju Omowole and Victoria Lipo, asked Akeredoku to declare his health status.
They said the governor should organise a press conference to declare his fitness.
In their letter to Ayedatiwa, Secretary to Government and other members of the Ondo State Executive Council, the lawyers said Akeredolu has not resumed office in Akure, the state capital, since he returned from medical vacation in Germany.
They added: “Since the governor had failed to address the people, the exco should declare pursuant to Section 189 (1) of the 1999 Constitution that he was incapacitated and unable to perform the functions of his office.”