Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, who assumed office on Friday, is yet to cross the Rubicon on who among his core loyalists should be the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), the Chief of Staff and the Chief Press Secretary.
Most state governors in Nigeria normally name the occupants of these offices immediately after their inauguration.
The governor’s failure to name his appointees last Friday is linked to fresh intrigues trailing possible choices hence Akeredolu did not name the occupants of the sensitive positions both at the inauguration venue and at the gala night at the weekend.
Three weeks to his inauguration, Governor Akeredolu was alleged to have settled for a former member of the House of Representatives from Akure, Hon Ifedayo Abegunde (Abena) for the office of SSG.
The decision to pick Abena for the slot was said to have been influenced by the Mines and Steel Development Minister, Dr Kayode Fayemi, after the choice of the current Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, as running mate to Akeredolu.
But a few days to his swearing in, Governor Akeredolu reportedly moved to dump the Abuja deal brokered by Fayemi and opted for an old university days’ friend, Mr Ade Oluwajana, from Ifedore but he was allegedly prevailed upon by forces in the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) to still settle for Abena. It was unclear if he had succumbed to the pressure at the time of filing this report.
For the office of Chief of Staff, there are two contenders from within the traditional ACN camp in the APC. They are Hon Solagbade Amodeni, the former chairman of Akoko South East Local Government Area who later became a commissioner under the immediate past governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, and the current Deputy State Chairman of the APC, Hon. Ade Adetimehin, who stood behind the governor during the crisis that trailed the governorship primary last year.
A source close to the governor claimed that Akeredolu wanted a man with some intellectual capacity, which may work against Amodeni and Adetimehin because they are believed to be graduates of technical colleges. That perhaps informed why Governor Akeredolu shortlisted a former banker, Timehin Adelegbe and a retired permanent secretary, Gbenga Ale, as possible appointees for the position of chief of staff.
To placate both Amodeni and Adetimehin, Governor Akeredolu is said to have promised to make the former commissioner return to the state cabinet as Commissioner for Works while Adetimehin takes the position of the state chairman of APC as the incumbent, Isaac Kekemeke, has perfected plans to vacate the position soon.
It was, however, unclear if both men have agreed to the overtures from the governor, who reportedly called a meeting in Owo, on Saturdaynight, to discuss the issues surrounding the appointments.