The Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, on Tuesday, wrote to the state House of Assembly, informing the legislature he was going on a 21-day medical leave. The governor also notified the Assembly that he had handed over to the Deputy Governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, to act as governor while he is away.
Akeredolu, who is said to be ill, has been off public scenes in recent times, while most of his official assignments are being carried out by his aides on his behalf. At many official and social functions of the government, it was the deputy governor, who had been representing Akeredolu while some other aides were sometimes assigned to stand in for the governor.
The Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Olamide Oladiji, on Tuesday, confirmed the receipt of the governor’s letter for medical leave. The Speaker said, “The governor has embarked on a 21-day leave for medical treatment abroad starting from June 7, 2023, to July 6, 2023.”
The Speaker said in the absence of the governor, the deputy governor would act as the governor, while Akeredolu is expected back in the state on July 6. Oladiji described the governor as a lover of peace and an apostle of the rule of law, while wishing him speedy recovery and joyful vacation.
Prior to this time, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party and the Social Democratic Party had raised the alarm about the whereabouts of the governor, with the SDP, last week, demanding that the governor should hand over to his deputy for effective running of the state.
The SDP, in a statement by its chairman, Stephen Adewale, said while it continued to pray for Akeredolu’s recovery, “the state should not and cannot be left without a constitutional head in an acting capacity while he (Akeredolu) is away attending to his health.” The SDP said it noted that President Bola Tinubu had, in the last one week, met twice with state governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress while Akeredolu was neither present nor represented at the discussions.
“During each of those meetings, matters of national importance were discussed. Nearly all the governors were in attendance, and those who could not make it had their deputies fill in for them. The only state that was conspicuously missing, in terms of representation at the two meetings, is our dear Ondo State,” the SDP lamented.
Similarly, the PDP in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr Kennedy Peretei, said, “As mortals, any human being can fall sick, whether in public office or private life. Rotimi Akeredolu is employed by the people of Ondo State, maintained with taxpayers’ money, so, it is criminal and a great disservice to keep mum over his health status and his whereabouts.”
Reacting to Akeredolu’s letter to the Assembly, the PDP said it was the right thing. “There is nothing extraordinary about transmitting power to the deputy governor if the governor is proceeding on medical vacation. It was the void created by Akeredolu’s handlers that gave room for the media speculations and anxiety. But with the letter to the state Assembly, the necessary information has been provided to the question of where is Akeredolu? We are of the point that right thing must always be done in government,” the statement read.