A group under the aegis of Ondo State Conscience Movement (OCM) have condemned the statement made by lawyers to Governor Rotimi Akeredolu that the governor can rule from anywhere, saying it’s unconstitutional.
It noted that the governor’s absence from office has continued to adversely affect the governance of Ondo State, stressing that the office and seat of the Governor, akin to the office of the President, has a physical location designated for the coordination of state affairs and the administration of its functions and powers.
The group in a statement obtained late Thursday night and signed by the Chairperson, Shalom Olaseni said: “The Ondo State Conscience Movement feels compelled to respond to the recent statements made by the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, through his legal representatives.
These statements raise a significant concern regarding the Governor’s approach to governance, particularly in the context of his absence from office.
“The assertion that the constitution permits Mr Governor to govern the state from ‘anywhere’ is viewed by our movement as a facetious claim, one that challenges the principles of good governance and constitutional integrity.
“This statement was made in response to criticisms raised by our movement and other concerned citizens regarding Governor Akeredolu’s apparent abdication of his duties and his physical absence from the office. We must emphasize that this situation has had a significant impact on the effective functioning of our state.”
“Governor Akeredolu’s impressive professional background as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, former Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, and the Chief Executive Officer of Ondo State, should serve as a reminder that he must uphold the integrity of constitutional provisions and to ensure they are not misapplied to justify actions that appear to violate the principles of law and due process.
“It is our firm belief that it is constitutionally inappropriate to imply that the constitution condones extended absence from the office and permits a Governor to lead the state from virtually anywhere in the world or state.
The group noted that the governance of the state continues to be adversely affected by Akeredolu’s absence from office.
“As a result of his protracted medical hiatus abroad, vital decisions and actions that demanded his leadership and presence were dutifully undertaken successfully by the Deputy Governor, but his return and the transfer of power back to him has seen a stale in leadership at the executive level of the state. This is regrettable and thus inexcusable,” he said.
It, however, urged Akeredolu to promptly, presently and fully resume his duties in office.
“We believe that this is his responsibility to both himself and the people of Ondo state. Furthermore, should his health require further assessment or recuperation, we implore him to honourably transfer state power to his deputy governor to ensure the continuous and efficient administration of the state. It is our firm advice to the Governor to refrain from seeking statutory provisions that do not exist to justify his actions.
“We remain committed to the principles of accountability, transparency, and good governance. We will continue to advocate for the welfare and best interests of the people of Ondo State, as we believe these values should be at the core of any responsible government,” it expressed.