Agbola Ajayi, deputy governor of Ondo state, has asked Rotimi Akeredolu, the governor, to hand over to him.
Akeredolu has been in isolation since Tuesday when he tested positive for COVID-19.
While announcing that he would be going into isolation, the governor appealed to the people to keep safe and observe the safety protocols of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
However, he was silent about transmitting power to his deputy.
When the issue of handing over to the deputy governor was raised at a media briefing on Friday, Donald Ojogho, commissioner for information, said the governor will never allow Ajayi take control of the state.
“Handing over the governance of the state to Agboola is a non-issue and we are not even considering that. I know as a matter of fact that nobody would want to do that… He (deputy governor) has created an unusual scenario upon which he wanted to climb into the next step in his political ambition and we have seen this as a misadventure.We cannot toil with what we have built over the years. We cannot risk and attempt to hand over to someone who has exhibited the widest scenario of betrayal. So, it is unthinkable,” he had said.
But in a statement on Saturday, Ajayi said he ought to be the acting governor since Akeredolu has been partially incapacitated.
He said the refusal of the governor to allow him take charge of the state amounts to a “flagrant disregard for the country’s constitution”.
“Section 190 (2) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) is apposite in the prevailing constitutional abberration in Ondo State,” Ajayi said in a statement Allen Sowore, his spokesman, issued on his behalf.
“However, it should be noted, that Mr Governor is at liberty to handover or not within 21 days after which the constitution becomes operational.
“Ostensibly, the refusal and failure of Mr Governor to handover the running of government to his deputy while he is temporarily incapacitated in self- isolation underscore his absolute disregard for our nation’s supreme document, 1999 Constitution (as amended) as well as the tenets of rule of law.
“The Governor’s position is a spite on the Ondo State people and a direct assault on the provisions of the constitution which he swore to uphold.
“Governor Akeredolu’s deliberate mounting of obstacles to smooth running of government machinery while he’s in self isolation as a result of the fact that he has been tested positive for the COVID-19 privileges the hypocratical nature of Ondo State government’s war against the ravaging pandemic.”
Akeredolu and Ajayi have been having a running battle, which reached its height when the deputy governor resigned his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and joined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The governor had fired all the aides attached to Ajayi’s office and his police escort was withdrawn until Mohammed Adamu, inspector-general of police, intervened.