Former political aides to the late governor of Ondo state, Rotimi Akeredolu, have hurriedly tendered their resignation letters, citing their loyalty to him.
They include a commissioner, Special Advisers, and Assistants appointment by the late Governor Akeredolu.
This is coming as the new governor, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa took charge of the affairs of the state after being sworn in as the seventh civilian governor of the state on Wednesday by the state’s Chief Judge, Justice Olusegun Odusola.
The aides hinged their decision to resign on the demise of their benefactor, the late Governor Akeredolu.
But findings by vanguard revealed that the fear of being dropped by the new governor was the reason behind their actions.
A reliable source told Vanguard that ” those throwing in the towel, were just being clever by half. They knew the parts they played during the crisis.
“They’re only afraid of what’s to come. They knew that the new governor would soon reshuffle the cabinet, hence they threw in the towel.
“They were just being jittery. They don’t want to be disgraced by being dropped by the governor ahead of changes that would eventually come.
“So they played a fast one by resigning even on the exact day the new governor was sworn in.
“It was pre-planned. It’s like they wrote the letters before the death of Governor Akeredolu and when it happened, they just signed it and inserted the dates.
“They are being hunted by their past. They didn’t support the new governor becoming the acting governor not to talk of becoming the substantive governor.
“Now that God has vindicated Aiyedatiwa and he has been elevated, they can’t stand working under him.
Why we resigned – sources
However, one of those who resigned confided in the vanguard that they had no choice but to resign because of their loyalty to the late governor Akeredolu.
According to him” Nobody should expect us to have a divided loyalty. Our loyalty is to Akeredolu even until death.
“There’s no doubt even if the new governor don’t victimise us, his supporters would victimise us if we remain in government.
“I think the best thing to do in such a situation is to resign and allow the new governor to empower those he used to discredit the late governor when he was still alive. They’re his foot soldiers. Let’s see how far they can go.
“We’ve no apology for being loyal to Governor Akeredolu, he was our benefactor and he remains.
“I think the new governor should get down to serious business and shut his door to all those sycophants milling around him looking for patronage.
We’re loyal even in death- Appointees
Meanwhile, those who resigned include the infrastructure, lands and Housing commissioner, Raimi Aminu, the Special Adviser to Akeredolu on Union Matters, Mr Dare Aragbaye, Chief Press Secretary to the late governor, Mr Richard Olatunde, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties and Strategy, the Special Assistant to the governor on photography, Olawale Abolade
Aragbaye said in “I write to refer to the subject above and to resign my appointment as the Special Adviser to the Governor on Union Matters and Special Duties with effect from today, Wednesday, 27 December, 2023
“My decision to resign is based on the unfortunate death of my Principal a fearless and honest leader, Governor Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN CON, whom I am loyal to oven in death
“I sincerely thank his excellency for the opportunity granted me to serve in his administration as a member of the State Executive Council first as a Head of Service and now as Special Adviser”
Also, the infrastructure lands and Housing commissioner, Raimi Aminu, said that his” decision is anchored on my conscience, as my leader and dear boss, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON, joined the Saint Triumphant.
“I sincerely thank our dear Arakunrin and the good people of the State for the opportunity to serve in his cabinet as Senior Special Assistant on Lands and Infrastructure, Special Adviser on Lands, Works and Infrastructure and Commissioner for Infrastructure, Lands and Housing.
Also, the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties and Strategy, Dr Odebowale, thanked the state for the “rare opportunity for service.”
On his part, the Special Assistant to the late governor on photography, Olawale Abolade, said that his decision was ” based on the unfortunate death of my principal, a courageous and honest leader, Rotimi Akeredolu.
The atmosphere at the governor’s office remained pensive as many of the workers didn’t show up yesterday.
A condolence register has been opened at the governor’s office.
Over 70 persons have signed the register as of noon yesterday.
Workers praise late Akeredolu
Workers especially at the governor’s office were seen in groups discussing the development i and the change in the governance.
Some of those interviewed said that they will miss the late governor Akeredolu.
According to one of the civil servants, Dele Omotola said that ” the people of south west would never forget the role played by the late governor Akeredolu in the establishment of Amotekun.
Meanwhile, notable personalities have continued to condole with the family and the state government over the death of Governor Akeredolu.
Former governor of the state, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media and Digital Communications, John Paul Akinduro, described the death of Akeredolu as a big loss to the people of Ondo state, his community of Owo and the nation at large.
Mimiko said “Beyond the rhetorics of politics, Aketi was a patriot who did only what he believed in and was never shy of expressing his personal beliefs no matter how controversial.
“From our days as unionists in the then University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Aketi was and remained a dogged fighter for causes he believed in and a jolly good personality.
” His departure will no doubt be felt by his wife, children, immediate associates and residents of our dear state”.
The former governor asked the people of the state to support Akeredolu’s family in prayers, saying all must be united at these trying times.
“I enjoin all the people of our dear state to shed all toga of partisanship and sentiments to mourn the departed compatriot and join in praying for strength to the family to bear the loss.
“Aketi has done his bit and left this shores for good. We all must endeavour, for all that life is worth, to do our best to honour his memory and for the good of our dear State and country.
Also, two first-class monarchs in Ondo state, the Olowo of Owo, Oba Ajibade Gbadegesin Ogunoye and the Deji of Akureland, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, have described the death of the state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, as tragic, sad and painful.
In a separate statement issued by their spokespersons, the monarch said that the late governor was a courageous and patriotic personality.
The Olowo of Owo, said through his SA Media, Sam Adewale, that the death of “the Governor an illustrious son of Owo was an irredeemable loss to the Government and people of Ondo State, family and the entire Owo kingdom.
Oba Ogunoye who commiserates with the family, friends, Owo kingdom and Government of Ondo State, prays for the repose of the soul of the Governor who had left an indelible footprint on the sands of time in legal profession and governance.
He declared that ” the death of Aketi, as he was fondly called by his numerous admirers, is an unfortunate occurrence that came to the entire kingdom as a rude shock and prays the Almighty God grant eternal bliss to his precious soul.
Also, the Deji of Akureland, Oba Aladelusi through his Chief Press Secretary, Micheal Adeyeye, expressed deep shock at the demise of Akeredolu
Oba Aladetoyinbo described the death of Akeredolu as a huge colossal loss to the good people of Ondo State and the Country at large.
He described Akeredolu as a fearless and resilient fighter for the course of justice and the interest of the Masses.
“There is no gainsaying that Governor Akeredolu lived up to his name of Mr Talk and Do who will always pursue his strong conviction into a logical conclusion.
“The maintenance of internal security in the South west through the establishment of Amotekun had remained one of the enduring legacies of Late Odunayo Akeredolu.
Oba Aladetoyionbo commiserated with the Government and good people of Ondo State over this irreparable loss.
He declared that ” There is no doubt that, the death of Aketi is a huge loss to us in Ondo State and Nigeria at large.
The Monarch equally commiserated with the immediate family of Late Governor Odunayo Akeredolu and pray that the Almighty God will grant them the fortitude to bear this huge loss.
“Indeed, Akeredolu has fought a good fight, he came, he saw and he conquered, Oba Aladetoyinbo said.
Ondo pensioners mourn Akeredolu
The Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP), Ondo State, has described the death of the state governor Rotimi Akeredolu, as a rude shock.
A statement by its chairman, Hon Johnson Osunyemi and Secretary, Comrade Akin Sunday, in Akure, the state capital, said that they would miss the ” pensioners friendly governor.
It reads ” l blanked out on hearing of the rude and shocking news of the demise of our Pensioners-friendly Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State.
“On regaining my poise I started, in a soliloquize to question the entity called death on why it should always allow wailings, tears and sorrow to trail his paths.
“I then said: ‘Oh death, why did you refuse to allow our Governor to complete the redemption work he had been doing for our Pensioners?’
“This was the man who met us with six and seven months arrears of pensions for State and LG retirees respectively and paid them off.
“This was the governor who implemented the 33% and consequential increases in our Pensions, even when other Governors were not willing to do so.
“Oh death, I said; you are a leveller for no creator ever escaped your unpleasant visitation. You are unyielding and no reservation for class.
“You have been so wicked to us as all our pleas to you to spare Akeredolu’s life so he could complete his work of restoration fell on deaf ears.
“Death, you have done your worst, but we wish to remind you that God is very much around and ready to rescue our famished Pensioners from the stranglehold of the circumstances we found ourselves.
They said that “The struggle continues! Aketi is gone but Ondo State remains. Rest in Peace our dearly pensioners’ friendly governor.
NBA Owo, former Speakers mourn Akeredolu
The Nigeria Bar Association NBA, Owo, in Ondo state has said that the late governor Rotimi Akeredolu would be greatly missed by the association.
Also, a former of the state House of Assembly Rt Hon Victor Olabimtan, said that Akeredolu’s death has “created irreparable void not just because of the office you occupied but also because of who you truly were: A true friend and leader per-excellence.
The chairman of the NBA, Owo, Oladele Oladejo, said in a statement that ” It is with deep sadness and a personal sense of loss that we record the death of our governor, grand patrons, benefactor, and colleague, Oluwarotimi odunayo Akeredolu SAN CON.
“His generosity and guidance have kept the branch afloat in difficult times and his energy, kindness and belief in the branch have kept us going.
“He will be greatly missed. Words alone cannot adequately express our gratitude for the tremendous support of Aketi to the Owo Bar.
On his part, the former Speaker, Rt Hon Victor Olabimtan, said that “The news of your death jolted me and I am yet to recover from the shock. Naturally, your protracted illness should have prepared me for the eventuality, but the desire to continue to enjoy more of your physical presence overrode my rational thinking.
“Despite your frailty when I saw you last, your determination and struggle to live strengthened my hope for a possible recovery. But who are we to question God?
“Your last words to me were, “Victor, don’t worry I’ll be fine.” I have no doubt in my mind that you are indeed fine now.
” Away from the pains and stress of illness and now resting in peace as you rightly deserved. Your demise created an irreparable void not just because of the office you occupied but also because of who you truly were: A true friend and leader per excellence.
“Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON, you were uniquely different in many ways and there can never be another Aketi. Your passion for the development of Ondo State and the unity of our dear nation will forever be in our memories.
“The story of how you put your second-term ambition on the line in defence of the Yoruba race will be shared with generations to come.
“Thank you for your service and dedication to the well-being of our people. Your indelible mark in the education, health, governance and infrastructural development in Ondo State are priceless legacies for which we are all grateful.
Also, another former Speaker, Rt Hon Abdulsalam Taofik Olawale, said that ” Akeredolu was not only a well-respected and renowned lawyer but also a brave leader who dedicated his life to the betterment of the people of Ondo State.
“His commitment to justice and the rule of law was exemplary, and his passion for serving his constituents was unparalleled.
During his tenure, Governor Akeredolu made significant strides in various sectors, particularly in the area of infrastructure development.
“As the former Commissioner for Works under his administration, I had the privilege of witnessing firsthand his unwavering determination to transform the state through various developmental projects.