The Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has denied being responsible for the altercation between the state’s commissioner of police, Bolaji Salami, and the deputy governor, Agoola Ajayi, on Saturday.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how Mr Salami prevented Mr Ajayi from leaving the government house with an official vehicle.
Mr Salami said he recently caught wind of Mr Ajayi’s moves to defect from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), an action he said should render him unqualified for some official benefits.
In response, Mr Ajayi argued that he ought to enjoy the perks of office as an incumbent deputy governor. He said he used his personal funds to buy the Toyota Hilux truck from which he was being denied access.
After several hours of delay, the deputy governor eventually left the government house to his private residence in another vehicle.
PREMIUM TIMES understands that the drama may not be unconnected to the move by Mr Ajayi to contest against his boss, Mr Akeredolu, at the upcoming governorship election.
The deputy governor’s spokesperson, Tope Okeowo, confirmed to our correspondent that his principal has perfected plans to decamp to PDP this week. He was, however, silent on whether his princpal will seek the PDP ticket.
Mr Salami also told PREMIUM TIMES that he was only at the scene on Saturday evening to keep peace amongst opposition supporters of the governor and deputy governor.
The commissioner said he asked the deputy governor to provide paperwork proving his ownership of the vehicle, but this was not immediately done.
In addition, the police boss denied being used by the governor, saying the deputy governor called him on Sunday morning during which the issue was properly addressed.
In his reaction on Sunday afternoon, Mr Akeredolu in a statement signed by his spokesperson, Segun Ajiboye, said reports linking him to Saturday’s incident were false.
He said he did not ask the commissioner of police to restrain his deputy from leaving the Government House.
“It should, however, be placed on records that it is a time-tested code in government’s business for officials to take inventory of offices and quarters before and after an official is moving in or out of offices or quarters.”
He alleged that Mr Ajayi and his aides were intercepted when they wanted to leave the government house “with items wrapped in unclear ownership as late as 11 pm.”
“Accordingly, the CP’s intervention which was at the instance of an almost manipulated security apparatus at the Government House was most desirable to restore law and order. It becomes particularly worrisome and suspicious when aides of the Deputy Governor insisted on leaving the premises with items wrapped in unclear ownership as late as 11 pm.”