Ondo Govt, Aketi Group Trade Words Over Sack of Head of Service, Ogundele

The Ondo State government and a group within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Aketi Legacy Movement, have traded words over the sack of the Ondo State Head of Service, Pastor Kayode Ogundele, who was retired at the age of 57 by the state government.

The state governor, Lucky Ayedatiwa, on Tuesday approved the retirement of Ogundele, who had spent about 33 years in service, with immediate effect.

The retirement notice was contained in a statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Prince Ebenezer Adeniyan, who disclosed that a new Head of Service had been approved by the governor.

According to him, “the Governor has approved the appointment of Mr. Bayo Philip as Acting Head of Service with take immediate effect.

“The Governor appreciates Mr. Kayode Ogundele for his service to the state, while also wishing him the best in his future endeavours.”

But in a swift reaction, the Aketi Legacy Movement faulted the compulsory retirement of Ogundele, describing it as another step towards erasing the traces of the late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s legacy.

In a statement signed by the Publicity Secretary of ALM, Yomi Ayodele, the group alleged that the governor was playing politics over the retirement of Ogundele, as the Head of Service in the state.

ALM maintained that the steps by Ayedatiwa further reinforced the belief that Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa was determined to erase every trace of the late Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu’s legacy.

According to Ayodele, the official statement by Adeniyan, claiming that Ogundele’s retirement was approved by the governor was misleading, saying, Ogundele did not voluntarily resign or retire as he was still under the required number of service years.

“The truth is, Ogundele, who was born on July 28, 1967, still had three more years of service remaining. The official retirement age for civil servants is 60 years.

“Ogundele began his civil service career in 1994 as an Administrative Officer II in the Ministry of Education, so going by his record of service, he should have retired in year 2027 having attained the mandatory retirement of 60 and spent 33 years in service.

“It is therefore crucial for the public to understand that Governor Aiyedatiwa sacked 57 year old Ogundele as Head of Service. He only served for 30 years”, he said.

ALM stated further that Ogundele’s supposed offence was that he requested Pa. Reuben Fasoranti not to intervene in Aiyedatiwa’s impeachment saga late last year.

“Aiyedatiwa accused Ogundele of visiting Pa. Fasoranti’s house and asking him to refrain from interfering in the impeachment and leaving Aiyedatiwa to deal with his problem alone.

“Despite Ogundele’s attempts to provide explanations and clarifications, Governor Aiyedatiwa remained resolute in his decision to sack him.

“Ogundele, who had never previously visited Pa. Fasoranti, has now become a victim of the governor’s vindictive behaviour and fabricated lies, saying the governor was playing politics with the sack of the Head of Service”, the group insisted.

But while reacting to the allegations, CPS to the governor, Adeniyan, said the governor’s action was in order saying “If they say it’s politicised, then they are invariably saying that Ogundele was a politician or that he played politics with his position as HoS.

“The position of HoS is the pinnacle of service for public servants and whoever gets there knows that he or she can leave the position at any time.

“The Governor reserves the right to appoint HoS and he has no need to consider politics before taking such a decision. This decision was taken to revitalise the civil service for optimum performance,”

However, the Aketi group also alleged that some civil servants who previously worked closely with the late Akeredolu at the Government House and Protocol Department had all been reassigned.

“The affected officers, who formerly held positions as protocol officers and were in charge of the Government House under the late Governor, have been reassigned from their duties in the Government House and Protocol Department.

“With the removal of Ogundele as the Head of Service, Governor Aiyedatiwa has returned Ondo State to the unfortunate era of politicising the civil service.

“It is worthy of note that the late Akeredolu championed a responsible governance approach, free from bitterness, which allowed the Heads of Service appointed by the previous administration to complete their tenure until retirement.

“Toyin Akinkuotu, who was appointed by former Governor Dr. Segun Mimiko, was allowed to serve his full term as the Head of Service, despite pressure from various quarters urging Akeredolu to sack him.

“It is evident that Governor Lucky’s style of governance reflects an archaic and primitive form of bitter politics. It is even more disheartening that Governor Aiyedatiwa, who was expected to complete the late Akeredolu’s tenure, is rapidly eroding the legacy of the late Governor.

“As it stands, Aiyedatiwa has replaced an Ikare man with Mr. Bayo Philips, an Ilaje man, as the new Head of Service. He has taken the position to his hometown”, the group maintained.