ROTIMI AKEREDOLU: THE ILLITERATE SENIOR ADVOCATE AND A PARTISAN COMMISSIONER OF POLICE
Democracy remains the best form of government because it’s an antidote to demagoguery, dictatorship and fascism. The beauty of democracy is that it clearly defines where power flows from – the people and their laws as enshrined in the constitution. This is the opposite of the rule of man, the rule of force or imperious leadership.
The news hit town this morning, Sunday, June 21, 2020, with trending video evidences about the ordeal of Ondo State Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi in the hands of his boss, Rotimi Akeredolu (Governor of Ondo State) with whom he has fallen out. In a naked show of power and violation of extant principles on which democracy rests, Ajayi was prevented from driving out of his official quarters by the Ondo State commissioner of Police, purportedly acting on the orders of the new Czar and maximum ruler of the state – His Imperial Lawless Rotimi Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
This development is not unconnected with the forthcoming governorship race in Ondo State. It is no longer news that the deputy governor of Ondo State is on his way out of the All Progressive Congress (APAC) to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). The real challenge now is the refusal of the governor, a senior advocate to respect the rule of law, display character and accept the reality that the relationship between him and Agboola Ajayi has broken down irretrievably. Instead of facing the reality of squaring up with his deputy in the coming Ondo elections, Akeredolu has resorted to self-help. One who think that a senior advocate would understand the dangers of being a judge in his own case, but these are indeed trying times.
At a time like this when sentiments, parochial interests, politics and hate might becloud logic, quality reasoning and a sense of what’s right, it is imperative we draw the attention of the public to the serious infractions which the actions of Rotimi Akeredolu signify. Without any equivocation, the following issues, which are generated by the lack of character and respect for the rule of law by the supposed learned governor of Ondo State are worthy of note.
Right to Freedom of Association
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The move by the Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi to join another political party is within his right to freedom of Association as enshrined under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999. This must be respected by everyone including the governor, who ordinarily should know better as senior lawyer and former President, Nigeria Bar Association. The chronic inability of the governor to manage the human resources both in his government and political party as a leader is obviously responsible for the desire of many people to move out of his fiefdom in search of liberty in other political set up. Certainly, the governor cannot begrudge those who desire liberty their right to seek it. It is rather unfortunate that a senior advocate of Nigeria has failed egregiously to appreciate this sacred provision under the different Bills of Right, which classify it as an inalienable right.
The Ignoble Role of the Commissioner of Police, Ondo State:
Typical of the Nigeria police, the Commissioner of Police in Ondo State has demonstrated gross incompetence and bias by his indiscretion and willingness to play the errand boy of the governor; an action which again put question mark on the caliber of people often recruited into the force as well as ridicule the institution. The police commissioner ought to be knowledgeable enough to realise the fact that the decamping of the deputy governor or any elected official was decamping is not the end of his tenure. It is sad that a public officer of law who is paid to be neutral and professional has thrown caution to the winds for pecuniary gains. From his infamous action, the Commissioner of Police, Ondo State Command has revealed himself as a utility player on the side of Governor Akeredolu. Therefore, he can no longer be trusted to do his job as envisaged by law and societal expectations.
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False Imprisonment of the Deputy Governor and Two Members of the House of Assembly:
According to trending reports, the Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi and two members of Ondo State House of Assembly were held hostage in the cold for about four hours by Akeredolu’s Chief Security Officer and the Commissioner of Police. This obviously, is a serious violent violation of the right to personal liberties of the Deputy Governor and the two Assembly members – Honourables Festus Akingbaso (Idanre Local Government) and Hon Rasheed Elegbeleye (Ikare). A legal action in false imprisonment against the irresponsible and incompetent Commissioner of Police together with the Chief Security Officer will be important as deterrence. More importantly, the attention of the public, lovers of democracy and constitutionalism must focus on the violation of the governor’s immunity which his illegal detention at Government House, Alagbaka represents.
False Alarm About Looting of the Deputy Governor’s Office:
It’s obviously misleading and conduct unbecoming for Governor Akeredolu to orchestrate false alarm about looting of the deputy Governor’s office by the latter and his aides. Regardless of Akeredolu’s offensive antics, the Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi remains part of the government of Ondo State. He has not resigned neither has the man been impeached. Clearly, Ajayi will surely not allow himself to be stampeded by governor and his satanic collaborators. Akeredolu as a politician and lawyer must learn to deal with that reality, not matter how painful for him, till the end of the tenure like the case of Obasanjo and Atiku. Agboola Ajayi is like a tsetse fly that is now perching on Akeredolu’s scrotum; any attempt to be reckless would spell doom for him. The way Akeredolu handles the situation in the coming days will either save his fading face and dwindling popularity or bring him more enemies, ridicule, opprobrium and send him to political Siberia.
Power to the People:
Ondo State people remain the real custodians of power. Akeredolu’s misadventure in the governance of the state so far has exposed him as a man, who is incapable of managing a complex and demanding state like Ondo, His poor leadership quality, mis-steps and unforced errors are not unconnected with his congenital lack of character, arrogance, illusion of grandeur, dare-devilry nepotism and clannishness in a plural society. A man that went to the bedroom of the late sage, Chief Adekunle Ajasin to lambast the old man, causing the sage unprecedented trauma leading to his death, obviously lacks character and a heart. A man who has turned the government of Ondo state to his fiefdom, surely has issues in understanding the principles of democracy as a government of the people by the people and for the people.
The Need to Avoid Needless War:
The people of Ondo State are not new to resisting despots and will surely do so in the present situation. It is innate and spontaneous for Ondo people to react to injustice and any attempt to play God. Therefore it becomes expedient to inform Rotimi Akeredolu and his hirelings that while we all have a duty to avoid needless war or unwarranted heating up of the polity, nobody has monopoly of intimidation and harassment. The power drunk governor would do well to heed this advice.
Demand for Immediate Removal of the Commissioner of Police
In order to guarantee and secure the peace of Ondo State in the days leading to the gubernatorial election, there’s need for an impartial, responsible and professional policing. We therefore categorically call for the immediate removal of the Ondo State Commissioner of Police, Mr Bolaji Salami. It is clear that the police high command has given Mr Salami a beat for which he has no character, competence, sense and temperament to handle. He has also demonstrated an obscene inability to maintain the integrity of the police as an institution. Finally, the police must be wary of a repeat of their despicable and infamous role in the 1983 political crisis in Ondo State.
The People Shall Triumph:
We can only call on Rotimi Akeredolu to understand that the game is up. He has squandered his good will and betrayed the trust of the good people of Ondo state by his abysmal failure to give leadership and his inability to put a rein on his rapaciously greedy wife and children. The antics and drunken master approach of Governor Akeredolu notwithstanding, the people are more than ready and determined to take back power or themselves at the forthcoming gubernatorial poll in the state. The people shall triumph and the rein of one man and his family shall be brought to an end in an extraordinary way.
God bless Ondo State