Did Akeredolu Really Say That?

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Olurotimi Akeredolu

Nseobong Okon-Ekong writes that a mockery of the former Lagos State governor, Senator Bola Tinubu accredited to Governor Olurotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State is one of the most asinine statements ever made by a Nigerian public official

You have probably heard a lot about Olurotimi Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Governor of Ondo State and his surprisingly durable beef against the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu. Everybody is talking about how the governor made a public show of the smallness of his mind in a most unfortunate statement fired at Tinubu. The Ondo State chief executive barely concealed his hatred for the former governor of Lagos State. He has been captured on camera looking at Tinubu with apparent dagger in his eyes. Anytime the two men meet at public functions, they rush through courtesies and keep the distance from one another. All of these should not be a surprise if you have been following the political career of Akeredolu who is sometimes called Aketi.

Recently, Akeredolu was widely reported in the news to have advised the management of a private radio station, Adaba 88.9 FM, in Akure, to ask their ‘oga’ (boss) to construct the road that leads to the station. The station is a subsidiary of TVC Communications owned by Tinubu. The governor spoke at the dinner and award night to mark the station’s 10th anniversary. He said, “The moment everybody sees Television Continental (TVC) and Adaba FM, they all know who the parents are, but I will not say more than that. “So, if we have these two big organisations and we all know who their parents are, it could be a form of Corporate Social Responsibility if they can help them build their road. We are not seeing much here in Ondo State, but a lot is being done in many places. The road to TVC in Lagos was built by him. So, you can help us tell your Oga that this road is not too long for him to do in Ondo State. Or am I lying? No. It is not too long for him to construct.”

Close to two years after he became Governor of Ondo State, Akeredolu is still bellyaching over the decision of Tinubu to support another candidate for the party’s governorship ticket. The animosity towards Tinubu is tearing at him inside so much that his victory at the 2016 governorship poll is not enough antidote to heal the trauma.

The contentious primary election had already claimed a major casualty in the former National Chairman of the APC who Tinubu openly called out for his role in Akeredolu’s emergence.

The 2016 governorship election in Ondo was a big gamble for Tinubu. He lost. The hype emerging from that ill-fated incident of missing his target suggested that the APC National Leader’s influence in the South-west was on the wane and that it won’t be long before he was completely disgraced.

A mockery of Tinubu such as was accredited to Akeredolu is one of the most asinine statements ever made by a Nigerian public official. Does it mean Akeredolu is still in doubt or shock that he is the governor of Ondo State? That invective from the Ondo governor exposes a worrisome side to his mind which should spark a conversation about the stability of public office holders. On the other hand, it could be that Akeredolu actually understands the over-sentimental nature of politics in Nigeria. It is very normal for a governor of a Nigerian state to turn a blind eye to a particular part of the state where he did not record a good score on election day, even if it is brimming over with opportunities to turn-around the fortunes of its economy.

The entire stupidity of such mind set is, in part, responsible for the backwardness that pervades the country. Akeredolu did not accuse the management of Adaba FM of not paying tax. It did not matter to the governor that employees (most of who are probably indigenes of the state) are gainfully employed. In a very vulgar manner that is unexpected of one in the exalted office of a governor, Akeredolu explained away his ineptitude and offered a rather spongy alternative that unwittingly shoots back the mockery at him.

The statement does not reflect the sagely mien conferred on Akeredolu by the mat of grey beard and his professional status as a senior ‘learned’ citizen.