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Conflicting claims on return forehadow major decisions as Governor Akeredolu resumes on Monday

Gov Rotimi Akeredolu

● Mulls far-reaching changes in cabinet, others

The news of the return of ailing Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu, to the country from Germany has been conflictual.

While a report published on August 31, 2023 by a section of the media said that Akeredolu had returned quietly to Ibadan from Germany, another report credited to the governor’s wife, Betty, claimed that the governor has just returned.

The first report on August 31 said that Akeredolu landed at a Nigerian airport around 4:47 pm. on Thursday, August 31.

In a swift riposte, media aide to the governor, Richard Olatunde, debunked the report, saying governor Akeredolu was still on medical vacation in Germany.

He said in a statement dated August 31, 2023, said: “We would like to assure the good people of Ondo State and Nigerians in general that the Governor’s return will be widely publicized.

“While we acknowledge that his return is imminent, we urge our citizens to disregard any false information and preemptive mischief orchestrated by jittery politicians.

“For emphasis, Governor Akeredolu has not yet returned to the country.”

A week after, the governor’s wife announced that her husband had returned to the country from Germany after a three-month medical vacation.

Contrary to the promise by the governor’s media aide that the governor’s return would be well publicised, his return was simply disclosed via a picture shared by the governor’s wife, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, on her X account on Thursday, September 7, 2023.

“Homebound,” the Ondo First Lady had captioned the picture.

But a source in the APC who is close to the government confirmed to THE CONCLAVE that the governor actually returned on Thursday, August 31, 2023 and not on Thursdsy, September 7, 2023 as announced by the wife.

The source said that the governor’s wife made the Twitter announcement preparatory to the governor’s planned resumption of official responsibilities Monday, next week.

He said: “Many of our APC members who are loyal to the governor had visited him before yesterday ( September 7) in his Ibadan home.”

According to him, “The news doing the rounds is that next week, the governor will resume official functions.

“The first assignment is to sign the newly created Local Government development area bill into law and appoint caretaker chairmen to them.

“Owo LG, for instance, has been split into four Local Council Developmrnt Areas (LCDAs). All the LGs in Ondo state will now be 51 from the previous 18 LG.”

He added: “The possibilities that he will likely make some changes within the cabinet by dropping some perceived disloyal commissioner including his chief of staff Chief Gbenga Ale are rife in the state.”

Recall that Governor Akeredolu, had, on June 7, 2023, written the Ondo State Assembly informing it of his intention to proceed on medical leave abroad.

He later wrote the House for an extension of his medical leave.

The Assembly Speaker, Olamide Oladiji, who made this known via a statement issued on Monday, July 10, 2023, had noted that the governor’s action was in line with Section 190 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

Oladiji had stated that the governor’s request for the extension of his medical leave followed his doctor’s advice to take adequate rest in order to recuperate.

The Speaker said the letter provided further that the deputy governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, would continue to act as governor until there was a written declaration otherwise.

The governor had also said he was on the path to recovery, assuring the people of Ondo State he would return to office once his doctors deem it expedient.

Recall also that there has been reports of a cold war between the governor and his deputy who has been acting in his stead, bordering on alleged disloyalty by Lucky Aiyedatiwa (the deputy governor, acting for him)

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