Dayo Johnson Akure
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo state and the state government weekend had an argument over the alleged ill-health and whereabouts of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in the last three weeks.
Governor Akeredolu who proceeded on his annual leave was expected to resume on the 4th of this month but had since not been since in the state.
However, the governor on Saturday made a surprise appearance in Abuja to receive the African Governor for Innovative Leadership Award by the African Stride International, in conjunction with the Centre for Africa Development and International Studies.
Governor Akeredolu with his wife Betty according to his media handlers “cut short an official engagement to receive the Chief of Staff, Chief Olugbenga Ale , Head of Service , Mr. Dare Aragbaiye,other Cabinet members as well as the Chairman of the Ondo State Council of Obas, Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Fredrick Obateru Akinruntan after receiving the award.
But the Director (Media & Publicity) of the PDP, Zadok Akintoye in a statement in Akure demanded true status of the health of the Governor.
Akintoye said the people of the state are worried that the governor and his deputy Agboola Ajayi were absent during last week meeting of the governors in the Niger Delta states with President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The import of the absence of Mr Governor and/or his Deputy at the meeting of Niger Delta Governors with the President last week, underlines our concern, as Ondo state (being one of the Niger Delta states and a major stakeholder in the happenings at the NDDC) was not adequately represented.
“We take note of a report by an online news medium (Roving Reporters) which published an alleged rumour that the absence of our Governor, His Excellency, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) from the public, may be due to food poisoning and ill health.
“If true, we express our concern on the state of health of the governor and do wish him quick and perfect recovery.
“Our party also wishes to request that the true status of the health of the Governor be made known to the public as soon as possible and that if he is incapacitated in performing his duties, the Ondo House of Assembly should ensure that the process of governance is not impeded by the Governors’ ill health.
“Once again, our prayers go to the Governor and we wish him perfect recovery (if this allegation is true).
But the information and Orientation commissioner Donald Ojogo denied the ill health or alleged poisoning of the governor.
Ojogo said that the exigencies of office had kept him in Abuja for a while and would soon return to the state.
“These are insinuation of those that do not mean well for the state. He is entitled to his annual vacation.
“When his daughter was getting married, he had to cut short his annual vacation to attend to domestic issues. His leave ended on October 4. When he came back, a series of meetings were already lined up.
“He had to stay back in Abuja to attend the meetings. He cannot just be jetting in and out of the state, hence his reason for staying back in Abuja.
The commissioner noted that “The same scenario that played out with the imaginary wedding of the president that never took place is being played out in Ondo State. They are a totality of lies that are unsubstantiated.”
Meanwhile, the APC in the state has congratulated the governor, Award noting that was “an affirmation of the governor’s crave for industrial and infrastructural development, with an unfathomable knack for quality.
The party’s Publicity Secretary, Alex Kalejaye in a statement said: ” Akeredolu has since assumption of office proved repeatedly to be a prudent manager of resources, and faithful to his electoral promises of rapid industrialisation of the state, without mincing opportunity to improve on the workers’ welfare.”
“That the initiatives and development strides of the administration, that have attracted so much recognitions, are products of Mr Governor’s pedigree, unwavering focus, dexterity, uncommon talent, and resilience.”
The party, therefore, called for more support for the administration in its selfless developmental efforts.