The political crisis and uncertainty over the leadership of government in Ondo State may have come to a halt as President Bola Tinubu on Friday night waded into the matter and elicited commitment from the opposing factions to embrace peace and maintain status quo.
The embattled deputy governor, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, pledged to carry all commissioners and government officials along in handling the state’s affairs while the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Oladiji Olamide, promised to halt all impeachment moves against Aiyedatiwa.
This was part of the resolutions reached after nearly six hours of deliberations between Tinubu and the warring factions in Ondo State as well as members of the All Progressives Congress, who converged at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, until late on Friday night.
Aiyedatiwa, who promised to maintain the status quo and unite all the warring factions, said: “I want to say that I pledge to all of you that I embrace every one of you. I put behind all that has happened before now. I’ve let go and also let God, just as the President has advised us.
“And I want to say that no offence, no guile in my mind whatsoever. All that has happened is politics. Impeachment is part of politics. If you survive it, it is also politics. It has come. I’ve survived it and every other thing in his past.
“It is one big family and our father has intervened to bring all the children together to remain under the same family and with the position that I occupy, I will carry every one of you along in every decision that needs to be taken and everything that we do we will work together; the executive and the legislature will work together to ensure that governance is on the right track.”
He pleaded with all members of the State Executive Council to cooperate with the governor and himself to “bring the dividend of democracy to the people of Ondo State.”
“We should respect one another regarding the offices we occupy and our age differences. So, it’s going to be mutual respect.
“And I want to assure the party structure that we will work together because the party is supreme. We will always give you the due respect,” he added.
Speaker of the House, Oladiji, who read the resolution, said: “Our resolution is that one, we shall embrace peace. Secondly, there would be no more dissolution of the cabinet and the Deputy Governor would maintain status quo as far as the House of Assembly leadership is concerned.
“We will maintain status quo as far as the party leadership in the state is concerned and maintain status quo as far as the leadership of the State House of Assembly is concerned. Thank you, Mr. President.”
On her part, the Secretary to the State Government, Princess Oladunni Odu, said: “Our Father, the President, has taken the trouble to settle our rancour in Ondo State. We owe you all the gratitude, sir. We will not disappoint you. We have taken every word you said. And we are going home as one united family under the party, APC.”
In his remarks, Ondo State APC Chairman, Ade Adetimehin, expressed delight at the outcome of Friday night”s deliberations, affirming that the party will remain a watchdog to ensure that the new commitments are adhered to.
“Today is my happiest moment. And I know sanity has come to Ondo State. So, on behalf of the teeming supporters of our party in the state, we appreciate our leader, Mr. President.
“PDP has crumbled in the state, virtually they decamp every day. The only problem we have is the one you have solved for us today. And that problem has been resolved permanently,” Adetimehin stated.
Friday’s meeting came barely two days after Ondo State Elders and Leaders called on the President to urgently intervene in the constitutional crisis in the state and avert the looming breakdown of law and order.
The Elders and Leaders also called on the state and national leaderships of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to provide the required guide to those in government and ensure discipline in their camp.
In a letter addressed to Tinubu, which was signed by the convener, Reuben Fasontanti, and secretary, Bakkita Bello, the elders urged the House of Assembly to impeach neither the governor nor his deputy.
“All unelected persons should allow the three arms of government to find a lasting solution to the current crisis,” they had appealed.
Ondo state has been the centre of political uncertainty in the past few months following Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s medical treatment in Germany.
Although Akeredolu returned to Nigeria in the first week of September after a three-month medical leave, he had been operating from Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
In his absence, his deputy, Aiyedatiwa, faced an impeachment process initiated by Ondo lawmakers over allegations of gross misconduct.
Meanwhile, Tinubu had ordered the police to withdraw from the premises of the Ondo State House of Assembly complex in Akure.