Monday, 29 June 2020 11:12

[OPINION] Ondo: Deputy Governor Ajayi’s Untidy Business - Comfort Obi

Comfort Obi Comfort Obi

If Mr Agboola Ajayi, Deputy Governor of Ondo State, has any honour as a man who had held high positions, and is still holding one, he should quit office as the Deputy Governor of Ondo State.

By his own making, he is no longer qualified to hold the office. He has lost the moral authority to be addressed as the Deputy Governor of the state.

At best, he should be addressed as the ex, or former Deputy Governor of Ondo State.

What he is doing amounts to eating his cake, and still wanting to have it. It is dishonest and belittling to do that.

I know politicians go back to their vomit, but even then, it should be with some measure of decency.  To do so with shameless impunity diminishes one – politics or no politics.

How can a man quit a political party, and still holds tight, to the office attached to it, courtesy of the party, and his principal? And, please, don’t compare it to Dr Bukola Saraki, quitting the APC, and remaining as the Senate President. They are not the same. This is a Governor, and his Deputy. Everybody on the cabinet is of the same party. Ajayi is the only odd man. The enemy within. It doesn’t work.

Ajayi says his Principal, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has sacked some of his staff members since his defection from the APC to the PDP. Why not? He should. Only the civil servants attached to his office should be spared, and reassigned.

He says the Governor is lobbying members of the Ondo State House of Assembly to impeach him. Why not? If the Governor can muster the numbers to impeach him, he should do so, and move Ajayi out of the Government House. He has become a spy in Government.

With the Governorship election just a couple of months away, and with the Governor seeking a second term, and Ajayi  challenging his boss to a duel,  Governor Akeredolu cannot afford to take chances. Nobody sleeps with an enemy.

I am aware of the saying that in politics, there is no permanent enemy or permanent friends.  But there is, also, another saying that, even among thieves, there is honour.

It is difficult to know if Nigerian (political) thieves have any honour.

But if, like me, you are wondering how/why Nigeria has descended to this level, look no further than the scandal in Edo State.

As I watch the Video of Adams Oshiomhole, now being shared on WhatsApp, praising Governor Godwin Obaseki to high heavens, and calling Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu some of the most unprintable names, I just shudder, and ask: How do these guys sleep in the night?

Between 2015 and 2016, the sacked National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, publicly called Pastor Ize-Iyamu a thief, fraudulent, and worse.  One of the reasons he wouldn’t even think of making him, a Councillor Oshiomhole shouted,  “is because Ize-Iyamu is a thief.”

Less than four years down the line Oshiomhole wants to foist the same “thief” on the people. So you ask: What changed?

Even though the Ondo situation is a bit different, it shows how dishonourable a number of our politicians are.

In Ondo, Akeredolu and Ajayi were elected on the same ticket as the Governor and Deputy Governor of the Ondo state, respectively.

Most Governors and their deputies never really have smooth relationships. A number of the Deputy Governors are anonymous. They don’t have any clear job description. They are there at the mercy of their bosses. Most times, they are redundant. They are reduced to reading newspapers in their offices. In a couple of States, Governors are charitable enough to assign a Ministry to their Deputies to oversee.

Indeed, in some states, some Commissioners are more powerful, more influential, and more respected than the Deputy Governors.


Agboola Ajayi

I always wonder, especially, why no Governor wants his deputy as his successor.

I’m told it is because, having not carried them along in the scheme of things, they are afraid their deputies will show them pepper if they succeed them.

Perhaps.

Martin Elechi and his former Deputy, Dave Umahi, who succeeded him. Umahi has so eclipsed his former boss, that it took me time, as I wrote this,  to remember Elechi’s name. He is even out of the party. And, in my calculation, no longer politically  relevant in the state.

Kano is another classical example. Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has banished, almost, his former boss, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, from Kano. At a point, the Police joined in asking Kwankwaso, a former  Defence Minister, two- time Governor, a Senator of the Federal Republic, not to enter Kano for peace to reign.

But I, also, understand that a couple of the deputy governors, from day one, compete with their bosses. From onset, they plan and scheme how to undermine their bosses, so as to replace them in case they get impeached.

Now, this is not like saying that former Oyo State Governor, Alao Akaka, undermined his boss, Rashidi Ladoja, when he was Ladoja’s Deputy. But I still remember Akala dancing and singing on the day he was sworn in as Governor after the impeachment of his boss.

I don’t know much about how the beginning was between Akeredolu and Ajayi before it went sour. But I understand it was not bad; that the Governor gave him a lot of power and responsibilities. And placed his wife on a monthly allowance of over two million Naira, a month.

Yet, their relationship  went sour. I cannot confirm, but I understand that it was the powers given to Ajayi that caused the problem. It, allegedly, got into his head. If so, it was a big mistake.

Atimes, too, it is actually a problem of their Aides and associates. Too much gossip. Too much knocking of heads together to curry favour.

Yet, I believe a deputy is a deputy, and in all circumstances, must remain loyal to the boss.

Once the loyalty is gone, so will trust.

In decent climes, once you lose the trust of your boss, you quit office. Once your loyalty becomes suspect, and you realise that, you quit.

Deputy Governor Ajayi’s loyalty has been suspect for a long time. He had since lost his boss’ trust.

On a number of times, he had been accused of trying to undermine his boss. A number of times, it had been alleged that he was sleeping with his boss’ political enemies. The allegation has been strong that he had been hobnobbing with the opposition PDP. He kept denying the allegations.

Last week, the s..t hit the fan. He resigned from the APC, the party under which he became the deputy governor. To show he had been dinning out, he, immediately, registered in, and picked the membership card of the PDP. But he did something strange, something immoral.

Ajayi said he remains the deputy governor of the state; that he would never quit office as the deputy governor. He says his people, who voted for him, asked him to remain in office; that they have not asked him to resign from office. So, he is out, and still in.

For the records, this man has already purchased the Governorship form, to contest against his boss.

Yet, he wants to remain in office as deputy governor.

And my immediate reaction: Lord have mercy. How comfortable will he be, going to office, and seeing the face of his boss? Perhaps, atimes, they would meet at campaign grounds, debates.

One of his allegations against the Governor is that he is marginalised in everything. Meaning he has been of no use to his people. So, why would the same people want him to remain in office when he had no opportunity to be of use to them?

I think Ajayi is out to play a spoiler’s game. Nobody says he should not quit his former party. But he should be a man of honour, and quit his office.

A few years ago in Anambra state, Peter Obi, as Governor, was running for a second term. Dame Virgy Etiaba was his deputy then. Suddenly, her son, Emeka Etiaba, now, a SAN, turned-coat,  and began to challenge Obi for the Governorship seat.

I was scandalized.

I thought that was immoral. His mother was Obi’s deputy governor, yet he was challenging Obi for that seat. To me, especially, as his mother said not a word against that immoral ambition, it was an untidy business. She ought to have quit office, for her son to challenge Obi.

My opinion on such political rascality has not changed. Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi should do the honourable thing, which is: to quit the office of the deputy governor. He has lost every claim to the office. Sitting tight on that seat is immoral and untidy.

Even among thieves, there is honour, no matter how tainted.

 


*Obi is the Editor-in-Chief/CEO of The Source (Magazine), https://thesourceng.com.  Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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