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Genesis of Ondo Deputy Governor’s trivails

Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi
By Ayodele Oni, Akure

Mr Agboola Ajayi, the incumbent deputy governor of Ondo state will not be the first sitting number two citizen to resign from the party that brought him to power. The immediate past administration of Dr Olusegun Mimiko, of the People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) also suffered similar fate as Alhaji Ali Olanusi threw in the towel to join the All Progressives Congress, (APC) while preparations for the ,2017 governorship election which brought in the present administration was in top gear.

Chief Olanusi had been deputy to Governor Mimiko for eight years before he threw in the towel. The reason for dumping their masters have almost been the same – neglect in the scheme of things.
However, the last week drama occasioned by the dumping of APC by Agboola Ajayi, in Ondo state is the height of his frustration, neglect and total abandonment during the over three years, the Rotimi Akeredolu’s administration has been in the saddle of the office of the deputy governor.
Initially, the complaint against Agboola was that he was not the actual candidate for the position as his name was just used to beat the INEC deadline. But gradually, he emerged and got sworn in as the deputy governor. There were several deliberate efforts on the part of some overzealous aides of the governor to look down on that office. There were complaints of non release of running grants leading to a situation whereby the deputy governor would have to look elsewhere for funds to run his office.
There was an instance a newly purchased Jeep meant for the use of the deputy governor was hijacked by the wife of the governor who in turn sent to him the rickety one. For the period of over three and a half years, the official residence of the deputy governor was under renovation, a situation which forced the embattled Agboola to use a more or less a room and palour apartment within the government house throughout the period he held sway.
Some of the appointees he brought into government were used against him in an attempt to frustrate him while some were outrightly sacked without his knowledge. An Aide disclosed how Agboola had wanted to resign his appointment earlier but Governor Akeredolu prevailed on him. So the incident of last week can be described as the height of frustration and marginalization of Agboola Ajayi.
All along and despite his plight, he prevailed on his Aides from confronting or reacting in any way to all these. Cheap blackmail was used as part of machinery to dampen the morale of this worthy son of Ese Odo, who had served as a local government chairman and a member of the House of Representatives at one time. He was a stabilization force of Akeredolu’s administration at the inception, which was later used against him as trying to get his boss out of office.
He said in his resignation remark that he was quitting the APC but still holds the mandate as the deputy governor. There were precedents to this. The recent one was when Bukola Saraki dumped the APC on whose ticket he became the Senate President but refused to vacate the office.
If an alleged attempt to impeach him suceeds, he will be laughing to the bank at the end of the day just like his predecessor, Alhaji Olanusi who was impeached but later got reprieve at the court.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Tope Okeowo reads “The attention of the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, His Excellency, Agboola Ajayi has been drawn to the illegal move by the embattled Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu to impeach him through illegal and unconstitutional means. The illegal impeachment move would be carried out through financial inducement of members of the Ondo State House of Assembly to the tune of ten million naira each.
“As the moment, Ondo State House of Assembly complex has been besieged by men of the Nigeria Police, while parliamentarians that are known not to believe in the charade are being prevented from entering the complex.
“We wish to state that the deputy governor is a tested politician of note, who is not unprepared for this type of kangaroo and infamous move from the desperate and drowning governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu and his group.
By joining People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Agboola Ajayi has not committed any impeachable offence. He has only exercised his constitutional right of freedom of association. Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) provides as follows:
“Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular, he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any association for the protection of his interests.”
For the avoidance of doubt, we state unequivocally that the Governor and his allies do not have and cannot muster the requisite majority in the House of Assembly for the removal of the Deputy Governor under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 in any free, fair and transparent process.
We remain undaunted in the move to throw off the combined weight of those kneeling on the neck of Ondo State. Our state shall not be allowed to suffocate. At the appropriate time, the people of Ondo State shall decide the right person, who will serve as the arrowhead of the bid to save the state from the nepotistic clique kneeling
However, while reacting to the alleged plot to impeach the deputy governor, the commissioner for information, Donald Ojogo stated that “this is the height of perfidy, another pernicious warp from an intellectually challenged and treacherous personality. Knowledge cannot be procured, but only be acquired. For anyone to aver that lawmakers have been financially induced is a gross display of emptiness.
“It becomes more laughable when such comes from someone who had boasted about having majority members in the Assembly. Clearly, while the Executive led by Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN does not believe in inducement, it is left for our very reputable Legislative Arm to either confirm or debunk this spurious allegation.”
The state APC going by the text if it’s reaction to the defection of Agboola Ajayi showed that it has lost a personality
The party stated that “the State secretariat of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State has received a written decision of the Deputy Governor, Hon. Alfred Agboola Ajayi, from the party, with mixed feelings.
The party views the development as worrisome and unfortunate that the journey commenced in one accord a few years back could go awry this soon.
“We wished Hon. Ajayi had not taken this decision, after series of efforts and attempts by royal fathers and party leaders, from within and outside the State,  to forestall this migration.
Signed by the Publicity secretary of the party, Alex Jalejaye it noted that “the State Working Committee is taken aback by a reported statement credited to Hon. Ajayi that he would remain the Deputy Governor as long as his people have not asked him to quit. This statement is vexatious.
It is imperative to remind Hon. Ajayi that he ran on an APC ticket given to Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, and both were sponsored by the party. Now that he chooses to defect, the party advises Agboola to tow the path of wisdom, and resign honourably as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State.
Ondo State APC wishes him and his followers a safe trip to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. We will, however, be willing to reabsorb them whenever they opt to retrace their steps.”
The drama has just began to unfold as Agboola Ajayi is planning to contest for the governorship on the ticket of the PDP and if he clinches the Party’s ticket, he will be slugging it out with his erstwhile boss, who is equally sweating to flag APC flag for the second time.
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