The criticism of the Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, against the zoning formula for the leadership positions of the 10th National Assembly, decided by the National Working Committee of the All Progressives Congress, has sparked controversy among party leaders in the state.
Akeredolu, in a statement, had rejected the zoning, saying the formula represented early signs of steps aimed at attempts to cabin the hard-earned Presidency for our leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, by a few individuals with eyes on ‘Aso Rock Power Buttons.’
The governor also described the position of the NWC of the party as an unworkable arrangement that reinforces injustice and enhances inequity. But some party leaders have frowned against the governor’s comments, saying it was an act of disrespect to the national leadership of the party.
Defending the governor, his Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties and Strategy, Dr Doyin Odebowale, said the governor had not done anything wrong and would continue to kick against any act of injustice in the party.
Odebowole stated this in a statement titled ‘Hustling till twilight: a sad tale of unrepentant misanthropes’, issued on Wednesday in Akure.
The governor’s aide described party leaders criticising Akeredolu’s position on the 10th NASS leadership as old political jobbers who had lost relevance in the state and the country at large.
He said, “The people of Ondo State know these characters very well. They have lost relevance, considerably, in the political circle, both at home and at the national level. The electoral misfortunes trailing their predilections for avarice and myopia are established facts. The President-Elect appears to be the next target of a rapacious band of obsolescent but relentless elements, rootless politically, yet ruthlessly parasitic.
“Let it be known to these bitter adversaries that the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi O. Akeredolu, SAN, CON, will continue to challenge any acts considered unjust, inequitable and indecent. As the Chairman of the South West Governors’ Forum, he has led the platform to play pivotal roles in social engineering regardless of the fact that his party controls the government at the centre. His role as the leader of the Southern Governors’ Forum will be remembered as a stabilising factor when it mattered in the polity.
“Deliberative governance entails wide consultations, engagements, concessions and agreements. No one will be permitted to elevate hypocrisy and sycophancy to the status of an enviable art. The President-elect will be advised but will also be engaged, vigorously, on matters of optimum performance and collective interests by the true representatives of the people of this country. Any politician anxious of losing patronage in the next dispensation should start looking for other means of sustenance.
“Politics should not be a profession. Akeredolu has a viable second address. Let all those who have burnt their boats on the country’s political island worry about the possibility of being marooned as the adventurer sets sail to find new treasures. He will continue to be unsparing and forceful in pushing his viewpoints. To him, sycophancy is not a virtue. It has never been an option. He is a product of tradition. People of his pedigree are few in this clime.”
Earlier, a former Ambassador to Togo, Mr Sola Iji, also faulted Akeredolu’s position as he said the governor as a party leader shouldn’t have condemned the NWC’s action in public, saying the governor acted out of disrespect to the constituted authority of the party.
He said “A highly placed and respected leader as the Executive Governor of Ondo State, should not be heard to make an outburst that is capable of oozing disparaging remarks about the leadership of our great party.
“As a matter of fact, such a matter should not be a subject of discussion on the pages of the newspapers. Rather, it should have been attended to pleasingly. In fact, the governor, as a leader of the party in his own right, has unimpeded access to the leadership of the party, including the National Chairman and other national leaders and members of the NWC, as well as the President-elect, with whom he ought to have had private discussions to articulate his misgivings about the NWC decision.
“In this circumstance, the governor acted out of disrespect to the constituted authority of the party, and the opinions so expressed in the press statement do not represent the position of leaders and members of the party in Ondo State, and at best, are His Excellency’s personal opinion to which he is legitimately entitled.”