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Aiyedatiwa’s endorsement turns Ondo lawmakers against speaker

The public endorsement of Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa for continuity by Ondo State House of Assembly Speaker Olamide Oladiji has caused a rift among lawmakers, with…

The public endorsement of Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa for continuity by Ondo State House of Assembly Speaker Olamide Oladiji has caused a rift among lawmakers, with 13 members opposing the move.

The dispute arose after Oladiji claimed that 18 lawmakers had decided to support Aiyedatiwa’s bid for re-election during the governor’s declaration for the November 16 gubernatorial race.

Oladiji, at the declaration event on Tuesday, assured the governor of the assembly’s backing, stating, “We have about 18 (out of 26) members of the Ondo State House of Assembly here with Governor Aiyedatiwa.

He added, “The Ondo House is for Aiyedatiwa; even those who are not APC are in the same struggle with us. My advice to our leaders across the 18 local governments is to go back to your LG and do the needful. Let the reconciliation continue, and come April 24 (primary), we will deliver Hon. Aiyedatiwa. On behalf of the honorable members of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Mr. Governor, congratulations in advance.”

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But 13 of the lawmakers kicked, saying the Assembly has not endorsed any of the aspirants jostling for the governorship race.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, they described the statement credited to the speaker as “embarrassing and disappointing.”

Lawmakers who signed the statement include Oluwole Ogunmolasuyi (Majority Leader), Moyinolorun Taiwo Ogunwumiju (Parliamentary Secretary), Oluwarotimi Fasonu (Chief Whip), Olajide Oguntodu (Minority Leader), Raymond Daodu (Deputy Minority Leader), and Akinsuroju Nelson.

Others are Akomolafe Temitope, Ifabiyi Olatunji, Agbulu Akeem, Christopher Ayebusiwa, Atinuke Witherspoon, Biola Oladapo, and Afe Felix.

The lawmakers also passed a vote of no confidence in Speaker Oladiji, alleging that he lacked the legal authority to pledge support for any aspirant on behalf of the house without explicit member consent.

“At no point did the Ondo State House of Assembly deliberate the governorship ambition of any of the numerous aspirants that have indicated their interests to contest for the state’s 2024 governorship election, let alone agree to support any particular aspirant.

“Mr Speaker has, by his unconventional and false public declaration, misrepresented the honourable House and, in so doing, brought the 10th Ondo State House of Assembly into disrepute, caused needless controversies, and breached our confidence in his leadership,” the statement read in part.

Akeredolu’s ex-spokesman denies late gov anointed Aiyedatiwa

In a related development, Richard Olatunde, the former spokesman for the late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, has faulted claims by the incumbent governor that his late principal endorsed him to continue in power before his passing.

Daily Trust recalls that Aiyedatiwa said on Tuesday, at his official declaration, that his late boss pronounced him the “successor” of the office, saying the former governor was very deliberate and prophetic about his aspiration.

“He (Akeredolu) said it during our inauguration and repeatedly that ‘Lucky will succeed me. Lucky will carry on the work after me.’ At not one, not two nor three sessions of the cabinet meetings had he pronounced Lucky as his desired choice to carry the flag after him,” Aiyedatiwa said.

But in a swift reaction on Wednesday, Olatunde accused the incumbent governor of using ‘deceptive tactics’ to hang on for his governorship aspiration.

He clarified that Akeredolu did not anoint or express a desire for Aiyedatiwa to succeed him, highlighting a strained relationship between the two until Akeredolu’s passing.

“Our late Governor was deeply disappointed and regretful of certain behaviours and character traits displayed by Mr. Aiyedatiwa during his health challenges, which ultimately led to his passing.

“We, therefore, caution Aiyedatiwa to cease these deceptive tactics and focus on his campaign. Akeredolu’s ardent followers, including members of his family, do not support Mr. Aiyedatiwa’s aspiration to clinch the ticket of the party,” Olatunde said.

 

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