Following the death of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, five of his aides have resigned from his successor’s cabinet.
Lucky Aiyedatiwa, Akeredolu’s deputy, was sworn in as governor hours after his death.
BusinessDay, on Wednesday, reported how Akeredolu died after a long battle with prostate cancer.
Richard Olatunde, Akeredolu’s chief press secretary, and Dare Aragbaye, his special adviser on union matters and special duties, are among those who have resigned.
Aminu Raimi, commissioner for infrastructure lands and housing; Olawale Abolade, special assistant on photography; and Doyin Odebowale, senior special assistant on special duties and strategy, have also resigned.
Their resignations suggest they were not comfortable working with the new governor. Some cited loyalty to Akeredolu as their reason for leaving.
Raimi stated in his resignation letter that his decision was based on his conscience and that he served with Akeredolu in various capacities. Odebowale also resigned, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to serve.
Aiyedatiwa’s ally, speaking anonymously, said the aides feared being targeted by the new governor. The source also claimed that more resignations were expected.
“They resigned out of fear of victimisation, which I don’t believe the governor would have time to do. I would like to tell you that more are still going to resign,” the source said.
There were tensions within the cabinet before Akeredolu’s death. While Akeredolu was abroad, Aiyedatiwa acted as governor, but some cabinet members did not cooperate with him.
The state assembly considered impeaching Aiyedatiwa, who then apologised to Akeredolu and pledged his loyalty. Odebowale, however, rejected the apology and insisted on Aiyedatiwa’s impeachment.
Meanwhile, Aiyedatiwa is searching for a deputy governor. Sources suggest he may choose someone from the cabinet who is loyal to him, with the former governor’s chief of staff, Olugbenga Ale, and the commissioner for energy and minerals, Razak Obe, being potential candidates.
Aiyedatiwa’s office declined to comment on the matter, citing the ongoing mourning period.
“I can’t comment, we are still mourning,” the chief press secretary to Aiyedatiwa, Ebenezer Adeniyan, told The Punch.