Elder statesman and former federal commissioner of Information, Chief Edwin Clark has urged President Bola Tinubu to act urgently and firmly to resolve the political impasse in Ondo State involving the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa.
The elder statements who likened the situation in Ondo State to that of late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua and the Vice President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010, asked the president to adopt the doctrine of necessity created by the Gen Yakubu Gowon’s Eminent Persons Committee.
The Gowon committee comprising eminent Nigerians like late President Shehu Shagari, late Interim Head of State, Ernest Shonekan, late Dr. Alex Ekwueme, one time Vice President of the country, three former Chief Justices of Nigeria namely Alfa Belgore, Mohammed Uwais and Idris Legbo Kutigi, had helped designed the doctrine of necessity which ensured power to transferred to Jonathan who was Vice President to ailing Yar’adua in 2010.
The political impasse in Ondo over the health concern of Governor Akeredolu and the refusal to hand over power to Aiyedatiwa, took a twist with an allegation that the governor’s signature was forged on a document.
But Clark, in an open letter made available to LEADERSHIP, said the president needs to intervene fast because the country cannot afford another security crisis sparked by political impasse.
While he acknowledged the president’s previous intervention, Clark said it was not enough in light of the subsequent actions of State Assembly which allegedly asked the deputy governor to sign a resignation letter.
Clark said, “Mr. President, I wish to state that we have enough insecurity in the country which has largely stretched our security forces. This is why you must urgently and firmly act in the current situation in Ondo State, under a doctrine of necessity. And if I may add, also in Rivers State, for which I will be addressing a separate letter to you in the next few days.“
Likening the on-going impasse in Ondo State to what happened when Yar’Adua did not transmit a letter to the National Assembly, to enable Jonathan to act as president, Clark said , “Today, we are again faced with a Constitutional debacle.”
Commending the President for his earlier intervention in the crisis, “both as President of the country and as leader of your political party, the APC,” Clark lamented that every facet of the state has remained divided over the lingering impasse.
“However, what is confusing to some of us, is how the Speaker of the House of Assembly told his members that the Deputy Governor is to sign an unwritten resignation letter, without stating what should give rise or what gave rise to that action. And whether the Speaker has the powers to direct such resignation,” Clark said.
He continued, “President I think there is need to act fast because we have seen that despite your good intentions, the crisis is brewing much tension rather than abating. There is a growing agitation for and against each of the parties.”
Clark further underscored the concern over the allegation that the governor’s signature was forged on an official document.
The elder statesman cited claims by Kayode Ajulo and the Ondo State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources alleging that the governor’s signature was forged on an official document.
He however also acknowledged the dispelling of allegations by Ondo state Commissioner of Information and Orientation, Mrs. Bamidele Ademola-Olateju and the State Attorney General, Mr. Charles Titiloye.
Clark said, “Like I stated earlier, this matter is building up tension. It is, therefore, my opinion that Mr. President, as leader of his ruling APC political party, may want to amend his earlier terms of settlement.
“And since there is no constitutional provision for such quagmire, because under Section 5 (2) of the Constitution, the State Governments are autonomous and are not subsidiaries of the central government.”
He added they “are fully in-charge of their State. It is only the National Assembly that is empowered to do so under Chapter 1, Part 2, Section 4 Legislative Power.”
The former federal commissioner said “Let me add that beyond any constitutional provision and your leadership of your political party, the APC, it is Your Excellency’s moral obligation as father of the country to use your good office to intervene and resolve all manners of political crisis around the country.
“The action of the Ondo State House of Assembly by going to court to prevent the National Assembly from interfering in the matters of the State House of Assembly is also escalating the issues.
“Every facet of Ondo State is currently sharply divided; the executive and legislative arms all have people either supporting the Governor or the Deputy Governor,” he said.