Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, on Wednesday, has been sworn in for a second term in office.
Akeredolu was sworn in alongside his deputy, Mr Lucky Ayedatiwa, at the International Culture and Events Centre, Akure, the state capital.
The ceremony was performed by the state Chief Judge, Justice Olanrewaju Akeredolu.
Meanwhile, the outgoing deputy governor of Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi, has credited his political survival as deputy governor to God’s grace and the resolute stance of nine lawmakers in the House of Assembly against his impeachment.
He also attributed his survival to the role played by the judiciary in protecting the sanctity of the Constitution during his trying period.
In a valedictory statement he signed as outgoing deputy governor of the state on Wednesday, Mr Ajayi said he entered political service with the mind to pursue a better quality of life for those he was called to serve.
Mr Ajayi became alienated in office as deputy governor once he began to nurse the ambition to run against his boss, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
Well before the governorship election, the Ondo State House of Assembly was prodded to begin an impeachment process against him, but was unsuccessful because nine of the 26 lawmakers refused the sign up for the impeachment.
With the opposition, which was non-partisan, the House failed to muster the required two-third majority to oust him.
The said lawmakers were eventually suspended and denied their perquisites of office because of their stand against the leadership of the House.
Although they are in court to enforce their liberties, the House of Assembly is still adamant in paying their due entitlements.
Mr Ajayi later crossed to the Peoples Democratic Party where he sought the ticket to run but was defeated. He finally defected to the Zenith Labour Party, and was given the ticket to run.
He came a distant third position in the final count of the votes in the October 10 governorship election, but continued as deputy governor, albeit under strait political conditions.
In his statement, titled, My Appreciation to God for a Successful Tenure as Deputy Governor, Mr Ajayi admitted that he was not perfect and never professed to be the greatest elected official in the just concluded government.
He said he was leaving office “unruffled” and his head “held high to the glory of God and through the support of the good people of Ondo State.”
“God’s grace is sufficient and I can say boldly that from the first day I stepped into office, I never ceased in my pursuit and strive to attain a better quality of life for all those I have been called to serve,” he said.
Mr Ajayi said he is grateful to God for protecting him and his family, adding that amidst the political intrigues and contrivance, he found solace in the Holy Scripture, especially Psalm 1:1 and 3: 1.
“Let me appreciate my family for their undying love and support. On many occasions, I had to return home in the wee hours, but they were there for me,” he recalled.
“My profound appreciation also goes to the nine Honourable Members of the Ondo State House of Assembly, who are code named the Integrity Group, stood on principle of rule law and truly upheld the integrity of the legislature and against all odds (including facing physical harm and political intimidation), like the Rock of Gibraltar against executive recklessness,” Mr Ajayi said.
“I’m happy today that through our little efforts, democratic institutions in Ondo State and in Nigeria have been strengthened.
The outgoing deputy governor said his farewell note would not be complete without acknowledging the selfless services of his staff, “who on many occasions, had to stay overtime to ensure that government work is done.”
“I will not forget to mention my security details- the officers of the State Security Services and the Nigeria Police, they were all dutiful.
“I’m indebted to members of my media team – the online soldiers, who held their ground and delivered incredibly well to the shock and admiration of all, including their traducers.
“I thank all members of the independent press for holding (on) tenaciously to the principles that qualify the profession as the Fourth Estate of Realm.
“I’m most grateful to the people of Ondo State, who gave me the mandate to serve them as deputy governor. I also appreciate them for acknowledging and supporting my potentials to provide a credible alternative towards providing deliverable services to the people without selfishprofiteering.
“I humbly urge Christians, Muslims and all well meaning Nigerians to continue to pray for the peace and progress of Ondo and Nigeria.”
In spite of the animosity between him and Mr Akeredolu, Mr Ajayi wished his former boss and his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, well in their new administration.
Mr Akeredolu, begins his second term of four years in office on Wednesday, after his oath of office at the International Cultural and Event Centre, Akure.