Human rights lawyer Morakinyo Ogele has emphasized that Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu is constitutionally empowered to govern Ondo State from any location within Nigeria, as provided for in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Ogele made this assertion during a press conference held on Wednesday to address the ongoing debate surrounding the governor’s whereabouts.
The lawyer argued that there should be no concerns about the governor’s location, especially since there has been no disruption in the governance of the state. Ogele clarified that the constitution does not mandate a governor to reside within the state they were elected to govern.
The absence of Governor Akeredolu from Ondo State had sparked criticism from various quarters, particularly following his return from a medical vacation in Germany approximately five weeks ago.
Ogele stated, “The constitution is very clear about the issue. Now that the governor is around, nobody has accused him of not performing his constitutional role. Section 189 of the Constitution is as clear as the summer sky. As of now, no one is complaining that the governor has not been performing.”
He further elaborated, “It is one thing not to perform his constitutional roles, it is another thing that he is performing. If he cannot perform as governor, that is where the constitution comes in. There are lots of lacunae in our constitution.
The constitution has not indicted any governor who is not within his state to perform his constitutional roles. That is why we need to amend our constitution.”
Ogele pointed out the constitution’s failure to address whether a governor can operate from outside the state and noted that there is no stipulation in the constitution that limits a governor to operate solely within the geographical boundaries of their state.
In defense of Governor Akeredolu’s tenure, Ogele highlighted the state’s development under his leadership. He stated, “As far as I’m concerned, Akeredolu has exposed this state to development. When you see all the roads constructed by his administration you will commend him for a job well done.”
He further praised the ongoing construction of the first flyover in the state capital and cited the construction of a flyover in Ore during the governor’s first term as unprecedented achievements in Ondo State.
Meanwhile, former representative of Ondo State on the Board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Benson Enikuomehin, expressed concerns about Governor Akeredolu’s absence, stating that it has caused significant challenges for the state.
Enikuomehin noted that before the governor’s medical treatment abroad, there was controversy surrounding the transfer of power to the deputy governor.
He explained, “While he was away, the deputy was not given a chance to rule and make any decision in the Government House.”
Enikuomehin raised questions about the control of the governor’s office during the governor’s absence and suggested that it should not be solely in the hands of the governor’s wife and son.
These concerns add to the ongoing discussion surrounding Governor Akeredolu’s remote governance of Ondo State.
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