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Ondo State Acting Governor, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, has admitted that he and other players in the politics of Ondo failed to act above board during the period of political crisis occasioned by the prolonged absence of Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

He called on members of the Ondo State Government and residents of the state to embrace unity and put the events of the past months behind them.

In a statewide broadcast on Thursday morning, Mr Aiyedatiwa who has been in the eye of the storm, expressed regrets over the conflict which had bedeviled the state in the last six months following the squabbles within the government following the ailment and absence of the Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.

He noted that what happened in the past was a temporary delay in the administration. “We have recovered,” he said.

He said he was addressing residents with mixed feelings given the events of conflict of the last several months, but noted that 

the events are a watershed in the annals of the state’s history.

Mr Aiyedatiwa was formerly empowered to act as governor by the state House of Assembly, after months of intrigues within the government, after a failed attempt to impeach him.

Mr Akeredolu had been severely ill and had not been able to set foot in Akure, the state capital since he returned from medical leave in September.

His returned prompted an attempt to oust the deputy governor on the allegations of disloyalty and gross misconduct by the House of Assembly.

However, by the order of the court, he survived the onslaught and a resent intervention by the President calmed frayed nerves leading to the event of Wednesday’s approval of the assembly for Mr Aiyedatiwa to Act as Governor.

Allegations of forgery of the Governor’s signature on official documents of the state was the climax of the inferno that was about to consume the administration, prompting protests and calls from legal luminary for the governor to resign and transfer power to his deputy.

There were indications that Mr Akeredolu was too ill to even sign documents, giving rise to suggestions that the assembly should activate the doctrine of necessity to transfer power to Mr Aiyedatiwa.

However, a letter of request to proceed on a medical leave was sent to assembly, putting an end to the imbroglio.

“It is not a moment of celebration, but rather a moment of sober reflection,” Mr Aiyedatiwa said. 

“A moment for us to really appreciate the collective burden of moving our State forward. The events of the past months have indeed challenged our love for our state and indeed democracy which we all profess.

“Throughout the whirlwind and the storm, we held fast to our firm believe that we owe it a duty to ourselves, the people and posterity not to allow the suspense and confusion go on without end because of its dire implications for our development and progress in Ondo State. 

“At no time in our history has unity among our people been so vital as it is at the present time. Unity of purpose, unity of effort and unity of spirit which are all essential to accomplish the task before us. 

“It is necessary for us to acknowledge with pride, the profound legacies and the place of our leader and father of the State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON, the Governor of Ondo State. We acknowledge the sterling leadership and character he has provided for the state. 

“Mr. Governor is a transformational and courageous leader who has turned around the fortunes of the State in the last six an-a-half years. His records of performance are monumental and here with us.”

Mr Aiyedatiwa noted that while it was difficult to explain what happened in the last few months,

few months, it was even more painful when nature sets in to hinder human performance.

“It is in this regard that we admit with all sense of responsibility that the intrigues that ensued due to Mr Governor’s health challenges were indeed avoidable distractions,” he said.

“We ought to have done better so as to keep giving Ondo State the seamless and solid governance which Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON, had established in the State in the last six-and-a-half years.

“As a government, we must appreciate the sovereignty of the people that voted us into office and we regret in no unmistakable terms the toll which this whole episode had inflicted on the psyche of the People and the development of the State. 

“Despite all these, my dear people, I come to you today, to urge you all not to relent, as you have always done, in your prayers for the quick restoration of good health and strenght to our leader, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Odunayo Akeredolu, SAN, CON.

“Also of paramount importance is the expectation of our people that we continue to deliver on the mandate given to Mr. Governor and my humble self . We must return quickly to the path of accelerated progress that has eluded the State in the last few months. We must excuse unnecessary distractions. We can no longer be separated in interest or divided in purpose. We must stand together until the end. 

“We must come back stronger and more determined to advance the welfare and security of our people, being the primary object of government as encapsulated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended. Let us build a shared future from a divided past. 

“We owe no less to the good people of the Sunshine State.

Bearing in mind that the very huge responsibility of governance, I must emphasise that the task is indeed not one that one individual can accomplish alone. It is a gigantic task that requires inclusive engagement, focus and collective actions from both the government and the governed. 

“We, therefore, implore you all across the State, young and old, to contribute your utmost commitment, cooperation and support towards advancing the State in our development trajectory.”

Mr Aiyedatiwa expressed gratitude to President Bola Tinubu, party leaders and elders and traditions rulers for their roles in ending the impasse in the state.

“At a personal level, I am confident that our democracy would be further enriched with the hard lessons learnt from this episode. For us in government, this whole experience should open a new place in our hearts; a place where we must appreciate that the trust vested in us as a part of the small privileged percentage of people, must be used for the best welfare of the larger percentage of the people,” he further said.

” We must rise far above the intrigues and instability of the past and roll up our sleeves in service of the people. 

“We are nothing but trustees of the people with whom we share a common humanity. We must and we will exercise with utmost discretion the privileges conferred on us by the great people of Ondo State.

“Finally and bearing in mind the foregoing, I therefore wish to assure you all that it is with a deep sense of humility and a heart of absolute commitment to the good of our Sunshine State that I accept the onerous assignment, during this temporary absence of Mr. Governor, to serve you as the Acting Governor of Ondo State. 

Yesterday is already behind us. 

“This is the time to carry aloft, with love and affection for one another, the laudable vision and mission of the. Governor for the State. I appeal to every member of the Government of Ondo state for your genuine support, cooperation and dedication. 

“We need a renewed unity to berth 

the significant and accelerated development clearly envisioned and vigorously pursued by Mr. Governor.

My good people of Ondo state, what happened in the past was a temporary delay in our democratic journey. As a government we have recovered.”

He then called for prayers for the ailing Governor for his quick recovery  and return to office.

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