The Ondo state Governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has disowned a statement credited to him through one of his aides, Doyin Odebowale.
Odebowale, the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on special duties, had reportedly abused some representatives of the Yoruba race at the 2014 National Confab.
Akeredolu described the said statement which also insulted a monarch in Akokoland, as unfortunate.
In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Segun Ajiboye, the governor noted that, “the attention of the Ondo State government has been drawn to a news report which claimed that the state governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, made some disparaging remarks about some Yoruba leaders and a paramount ruler in the state
“It must be noted that the governor was represented at the said programme by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Hon Ifedayo Abegunde. No other person could have spoken on behalf of the governor and nobody did”, Akeredolu opined.
He insisted that, “I wish to make it clear that the governor, a gentleman with deep respect for culture and traditions did not at any time abuse or cast aspersions on anybody.”
Governor Akeredolu had been reported to have thrown tantrum at two prominent Yoruba representatives on the 2014 National Confab, describing the confab as a gathering of “thieves and fraudulent personalities”.
The governor was also said to have taken a swipe at the paramount ruler of Arigidi Akoko, Oba Dr. Yisa Abu Olanipekun, the Zaki of Arigidi of being Fulani descent, saying the coordinator of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Gani Adams was a mere carpenter who became successful through thuggery.
The governor, was said to have made the statements through his Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties, Dr. Doyin Odebowale, during the inauguration of leadership of the National Association of Ondo state Students (NAOSS) held at Babafunke Ajasin auditorium, Akure, the state capital recently.
Akeredolu said he did not ask Odebowale to represent him let alone, saying Yinka Odumakin had never achieved anything in life other than being a mere reporter with the Punch newspaper or accusing leaders of Yoruba Pan socio-political Organisation, Afenifere of being largely responsible for the leadership backwardness and underdevelopment in Southwest Nigeria.
However, Odebowale in a post on social media made reacted thus:
He said “I have been inundated with calls and messages on what I said at a programme organised by NAOSS, the umbrella body for Ondo State students.
“ In addition, I proceed to assert, without fear, my right as a citizen of this country to contribute to debates in Nigeria. I have no personal issues with anyone”.
“I am not unaware of the frustration of some professional students who had written to the government for financial assistance without success. I suspect that those behind this diabolical scheme are the same characters who wrote fraudulent proposals and offered funny awards to a governor who has not spent six months in office”.
“I did not call Gani Adams and Yinka Odumakin thieves. I simply expressed my opinion on my inalienable right to be consulted before serious decisions, such as secession of my space from Nigeria, are taken
“I did not abuse the Zaki of Arigidi. I have no reason to do so. I only used his title, Zaki, which means “a lion” to explain what binds us as a people than what appears to separate us.”