Shopping For Deputy: ‘Datiwa Crossing The First Hurdle

By Dupson Collins

It is no longer news that Hon Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa has been sworn-in as the 7th Executive Governor of Ondo State following the demise of his boss, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu SAN CON, but what is trending that needs urgent attention is who deputise him..

Meanwhile, shopping for loyal Deputy if not properly managed might be the beginning of failure for Aiyedatiwa ahead of the party Governorship Primary.

It could be recalled that Aiyedatiwa enmity among the political class didn’t start with the ailment or alleged disloyalty to AKETI, but could be traced to the inauguration speech of Akeredolu where he openly “prophesied” (if I am permitted to use the word) Aiyedatiwa as possible successor after the expiration of his tenure.

“The name we give our children or the name we bear at times matters a lot. You have been loyal and consistent. You are worthy of this position, and I want to thank you for being considered to complete this journey with us.

“I have a maximum of four years; maybe you can proceed from there. It is for me now to come down and for you to grow. I must come down for him to grow. I have done my own a little bit; I must congratulate you.”

This statement is more of an endorsement for Aiyedatiwa considering the personality of the Governor who was Mr Talk & Do. Some of the cabinet members eyeing the seat of Akeredolu saw the ailment of the late Governor to strike, thereby created rift and division between Akeredolu and Aiyedatiwa.

In ensuring he picks the best man for the job of Deputy Governor, the Governor has been consulting political leaders within and outside Ondo State. For equity and balancing, the shopping of Deputy Governor ordinarily should be limited to the Central Senatorial District but Aiyedatiwa is at cross road as lot of interest and groups outside the central have begun to show interest in the slot.

Meanwhile, to Aketi people, compensating Owo with the position is not a favor too much to ask from Aiyedatiwa, believing his present position was at the mercy of late Governor Akeredolu who picked him as Deputy.

Eventhough, it is suicidal to his aspiration as a northern Deputy Governor has no electoral value for Ayedatiwa as far as 2024 Governorship election is concerned but to the advocate of Central for Deputy Governor, the permutation is all about which zone produces the next Governor and if all parties are looking forward to the Southern Governor in 2024, the central should automatically produce Aiyedatiwa Deputy now.

In the struggle for survival during the impeachment saga, some cabinet members stood with Aiyedatiwa and these people are also eyeing the number two position as compensation. Leading the pack of interested people are Razaq Obe, Chief Olugbega Ale, Dr Olumuyiwa Adu, Hon Princess Omowumi Olatunji, Hon Ifedayo Abegunde Abena, Dr Olubunmi Ademosu, immediate former Rep Member, LAF, Hon Tukana, Pharm Kehinde Fasoranti among others.

Some political pundits while x-raying the chances of Aiyedatiwa picking the ticket of the party in April, believe whoever he picks as deputy has a role to play. Having Crossed the road of becoming the Governor through destiny, luck might not work for him in April if he fails to take the necessary steps desirable of person wishing to govern the state beyond February, 24, 2025.

The fact that the so called “Cabals” who have started disengaging themselves from the new administration may be ready to put resources together in ensuring that he (Ayedatiwa) does not clinch the party ticket is an understatement. But, a known problem is a solved problem they say, he may not have any other choice than to humble himself before them by wooing them over to his side.

Obviously, in the next five months or so, the state affairs will definitely find it’s shape but for now, people of the state shouldn’t expect much governance from Aiyedatiwa because most of his energy would be channelled towards clinching the governorship ticket of his party. In order words, whatever he does now will be ninety percent political.

Who says Abuja doesn’t have influence on who becomes the Deputy Governor? Aiyedatiwa will willingly give the slot to the Presidency in exchange for 2024 if the opportunity comes his way. Aside the fact that the dagger of impeachment which escaped his head was made possible with the intervention of Mr President, there is no way the National Working Committee of the ruling party wouldn’t determine who flies the party flag as far as Ondo 2024 is concerned.

Notwithstanding, whether the party structure at the state level likes it or not, the method to be adopted for APC primary would be determined by the National/Presidency which means whoever sees the favour of President Tinubu automatically picks the ticket and might eventually becomes the Governor, going by the manner the main opposition party is becoming weak everyday in the state due to internal wrangling.

In Aiyedatiwa shopping for Deputy, his choice will either make or mar his political journey ahead of the APC Governorship Primary. Being the Governor of the state won’t give him automatic ticket as some political gladiators who Alagbaka Government House ambition have become every four-four years business are ready to slug it out and play dirty to get the ticket not minding the consequences.

However, while trying to please those that stood by him during the struggle, he should consult widely with people who are ready to give selfless and sincere advise. Peradventure, the ticket slip his hands, the focus and loyalty of every party member would be shifted to the Party’s Governorship Candidate which might be the end of his political career. So, O’Datiwa must brace up and disallow this golden opportunity to flip away from him.

His Excellency, Lucky Orimisan Aiyedatiwa, governing Ondo State beyond February 2025 lies on how he plays his Chess and Cards among the political gladiators within and outside Ondo State. No doubt there are political hurdles that requires political gimmicks to solve before him. All these and many more is a matter of tim

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