Another round of hostility may have resumed between the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, and his former deputy, Agboola Ajayi, over the latter’s alleged refusal to submit his official vehicles to the state government.
Reports emanating from the Alagbaka Government House have it that the former deputy governor had rebuffed all entreaties to return his official vehicles after his tenure ended in February.
His refusal had prompted the state government to petition the Commissioner of Police, Bolaji Salami, to help retrieve the vehicles.
But the former deputy governor has replied his former principal, saying that only two vehicles were with him and that they were his entitlements.
The letter to the police, which was signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Duties & Strategy, Doyin Odebowale, and made available to journalists in Akure on Wednesday noted that Mr Ajayi was still holding on to four government vehicles despite leaving office almost two months ago.
He said all entreaties to him to return the vehicles for the use of the incumbent deputy governor were rebuffed.
“Our record confirms that Mr Agboola Ajayi, the immediate past deputy governor of Ondo State, is still holding on to four vehicles owned by the government,” Mr Adebowale said.
“All entreaties to him to return these vehicles for the use of the incumbent occupier of the office have been rebuffed. Please, Sir, find attached copies of the letters dated February 16, 2021 and March 1, 2021 respectively.
The governor’s aide said the state government opted to lodge the complaint, believing that the police would use all lawful means within their reach to look into the matter.
He also described the former deputy governor’s action as a “brazen act of conversion.”
“Any person who keeps/detains the property of another with the intent to deprive the owner, permanently, of the use right conferred therefrom, has committed an offence known in law as stealing,” said Mr Adebowale.
“The vehicles in Mr Ajayi’s possession, unlawfully, are Land Cruiser SUV, New Toyota Hilux, New Toyota Hilux and Toyota Hilux.”
Ondo Deputy Governor Agboola Ajayi (PHOTO CREDIT: Twitter)
However, responding to the allegations, Mr Ajayi, through his media aide, Allen Sowore, denied he was in possession of four official vehicles.
He said only two official vehicles were still left with him, and that they were his entitlements.
He said he returned all vehicles in his possession on February 23rd, the day his tenure ended except two vehicles – a Land Cruiser and a Hilux Jeep.
Mr Ajayi stated that he was entitled to those two vehicles just like other former deputy governors in the state.
He said one of the vehicles being demanded was at a mechanic workshop in Okitipupa while the other was still with the dealer because full payment had not been made.
The former Deputy Governor said Mr Akeredolu should be prepared not to take any government vehicle at the end of his tenure if he (Ajayi) was made to return the two vehicles.
“The former Deputy Governor has joined senior citizens in this state. He should be accorded such respect,” the statement, signed by Mr Sowore said.
“On February 23rd when his tenure ended, civil servants came and collected all government vehicles except a Land Cruiser and Hilux jeep which are part of his statutory benefit.
“He is to go home with those two vehicles. He is not holding onto any government vehicles. All other former Deputy Governors in this state are using government vehicles.
“Nobody should because of politics use indecent language on the former Deputy Governor.
“Let the police invite him. He will explain himself. He is not afraid. One of the other two vehicles had accident. It is at Okitipupa while the dealer is yet to deliver the second one.”
Both politicians fell out with each other on account of their governorship ambitions, forcing Mr Ajayi to abandon his party, APC, for the PDP and finally the Zenith Labour Party to contest against his former boss.
Attempts to impeach Mr Ajayi as deputy governor were hatched by the state legislature, but failed due to lack of the required two-third majority.
His action to contest against Mr Akeredolu while still his deputy was the reason for the bitter politics and heated attacks from both sides before, during and after the election, which held on October 10, last year.
Mr Akeredolu went ahead to win his reelection, while Mr Ajayi came a distant third position during the election.