Aiyedatiwa’s Stormy Walk To Becoming Ondo Governor

Aiyedatiwa's walk to becoming the governor of Ondo State was a long and stormy one that lasted at least one year.

The Acting Governor of Ondo State, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, sworn in as governor on Wednesday, December 27, 2023.


On Wednesday, December 27, 2023, Ondo State Acting Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa was sworn in as the substantive governor of the Sunshine State after the sad passing of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in faraway Germany where he was being treated for prostate cancer. 

Aiyedatiwa, who will celebrate his 59th birthday on January 12, 2024, got an early birthday gift as the number one citizen of the South-West state when he was sworn in as Ondo governor by the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Olusegun Odusola.

Aiyedatiwa, a school teacher turned businessman and politician, took the oath of office at 5:18 pm in the presence of All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains and top government officials at the Cocoa Conference Hall in the governor’s office in Akure, the state capital.

In his acceptance speech, Aiyedatiwa recounted how his relationship with Akeredolu dated back many years ago, “having closely worked with him when his (Akeredolu’s) gubernatorial journey started in the Year 2012”, adding that “the events which culminated in today (Wednesday’s) ceremony is a watershed in the history of Ondo State as this is the first time we are having a transition in an administration”.

Aiyedatiwa’s walk to becoming the governor of Ondo State was a long and stormy one that lasted at least one year since Akeredolu suffered health challenges before he eventually succumbed to the claws of death on Wednesday in faraway Germany where he was being treated for prostate cancer.

Aiyedatiwa, a former commissioner of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), survived an impeachment plot by Akeredolu’s allies in the Ondo State House of Assembly and stark opposition by his late principal’s foot soldiers.

Controversy had enveloped the state’s politics in the last few months with activists and constitutional lawyers calling on Akeredolu to transmit power to Aiyedatiwa in line with the 1999 Constitution.

Akeredolu was in and out of hospitals abroad before he breathed his last on December 27, 2023.

Eventually, Akeredolu, a second-term governor before his death, transmitted power to Aiyedatiwa on December 13, 2023, as he embarked on a fresh medical trip overseas, the second in 2023.

Akeredolu, 67, could not make it back to Nigeria as he died of complications arising from prostate cancer.

What Zone Will Produce Next Dep Gov?

With Aiyedatiwa now the governor of the state, the next major hurdle in the politics of Ondo is who becomes the next deputy governor of the Sunshine State and from which of the three senatorial districts in the state.

There are three senatorial districts in the state and the politics of rotation of power also operates locally. While the new governor, from the Ilaje Local Government Area, is from Ondo South, the late governor was from the Owo Local Government Area in Ondo North.

With the new twist and the emergence of Aiyedatiwa as governor, the cynosure has shifted to Ondo Central, the zone likely to produce the new deputy governor but only after consultations between the new governor and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Will Aiyedatiwa Contest 2024 Ondo Gov Poll?

Considering the inconsolable and sober mood in the state caused by the death of Akeredolu, it is too early for Aiyedatiwa to show interest in the 2024 governorship poll in the state but ambition is progressive.

Already, the Independent National Electoral Commission has fixed the Ondo State Governorship Poll for November 16, 2024, barring last-minute changes.

Aiyedatiwa, who will complete Akeredolu’s second term by February 2025, is constitutionally permitted to run for office with his name on the ballot and remain the governor of the state even for eight more years if the electorate so decides.

However, the question on the lips of keen observers reading the political barometer in Ondo is: Will Aiyedatiwa run for office or silently bow out by February 2025? Can he win the hearts of gladiators in Akeredolu’s camp and get them to support him for possible electoral victory? Only time will tell.