Lucky Aiyedatiwa’s rough journey to Ondo Governor’s seat is a self-fulfilling prophecy

Lucky Aiyedatiwa’s rough journey to Ondo Governor’s seat is a self-fulfilling prophecy

When President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua took ill and his vice, Jonathan, became the acting President through the doctrine of necessity in February 2010, many Nigerians believed his name predisposed him to political good luck.

Barely three months in the acting position, Jonathan became Nigeria’s president, due to Yar’Adua’s death.

But unlike Jonathan, Aiyedatiwa’s elevation to the highest political office in Ondo State following his principal’s death transcends the psychology of his first, middle and last name.

There’s a prophetic perspective to his political elevation and fortunately for him, his late principal, Rotimi Akeredolu, was the bearer of the prophecy.

In July 2020, Akeredolu picked Aiyedatiwa as his running mate for his re-election after ditching Agboola Ajayi, his first-term deputy, following an irreconcilable conflict.

While speaking during his second term inauguration ceremony, Akeredolu celebrated Aiyedatiwa, praising his parents for giving him good names which according to him providentially propelled him to become the deputy governor of the state.

Basking in the euphoria of the ceremony, the governor said, “The name we give our children or the name we bear at times matters a lot. I want to congratulate this man. When they gave you ‘Lucky,’ they knew you would be lucky, now you are lucky. You’re also given ‘Orimisan,’ only the fortunate get chosen to be deputy governors. You’re fortunate. Even your parents’ name speaks volumes, ‘Aiyedatiwa’ (Life is good for us). Your life is good now. You have been consistent.”

Akeredolu proceeded to prophesy that Aiyedatiwa was in pole position to take over the administration of Ondo State after the expiration of his second term.

“You’re worthy of this position and I want to thank you for being considered to complete this journey with us. I have a maximum of four years, maybe you can proceed from there. It is for me now to calm down and for you to grow. I must calm down for you to grow, I have done my little bit. So I congratulate you and your wife,” he stated.

As one of the founders of personality psychology, Gordon Allport, put it, “The most important anchorage to our self-identity throughout life remains our own name.” Akeredolu understood the effect of Aiyedatiwa’s name on his political career, but politics — being a game of mischief — prompted him to almost truncate his own ‘prophecy’.

Aiyedatiwa has been a loyal ally of Akeredolu for over a decade. When he picked him in 2020 as his running mate, he said “This person has been with us since the beginning of this political journey in 2012.”

With this submission, one would think the relationship between Akeredolu and his deputy was free of suspicion and treachery. But politics doesn’t usually give room for such cordiality. The game is not the game if distrust and machination are not in the mix.

Rumours about Akeredolu’s death first flew in April 2022. He was rumoured to have died days after he left Nigeria for a 14-day vacation in Germany.

Again, in June 2023, the Ondo State Government was forced to debunk another death rumour about the ailing governor.

However, as the governor’s health worsened, loyalists and cabals began to take a leaf out of Turai Yar’Adua’s book and attempted to sidestep the deputy governor and take control of the affairs of the state.

The machination began with the ailing governor sacking all the media aides attached to his deputy’s office.

The aides, according to reports, were relieved of their appointments because they were allegedly causing disaffection in Akeredolu’s government.

Some of them were accused of wishing the governor dead by allegedly spreading the notion that Aiyedatiwa would complete Akeredolu’s tenure.

Following the dismissal of his media aides, Aiyedatiwa pledged his loyalty to his principal, arguing that some faceless people had been planting stories in the media to cause disaffection between him and his boss.

But his pledge fell on deaf ears as Akeredolu’s loyalists in the Ondo State House of Assembly intensified their plot to impeach him.

While Akeredolu kept battling cancer and remained confined to his sickbed, the lawmakers were seriously bent on impeaching Aiyedatiwa until President Bola Tinubu intervened in the imbroglio.

All the while, the ailing governor, despite his critical condition refused to empower his deputy to govern the state in an acting capacity until activists, civil societies and opposition parties started pressuring him to resume or resign.

On December 13, 2023, Akeredolu bowed to pressure, handed over to Aiyedatiwa and flew out again for another medical leave. Sadly, he did not return from the trip alive.

Akeredolu’s role in the political elevation of Aiyedatiwa underscores the self-fulfilling prophecy maxim that “If another person thinks something will happen, they may consciously or unconsciously make it happen through their actions or inaction.”

Anyway, it has all come to pass. The speculation for which he sacked Aiyedatiwa’s media aides has come to pass. His prophecy about his deputy succeeding him has also come to pass, just not in the way he hoped.

Is it safe to say Akeredolu was the Pharaoh’s providence used to elevate the political standing of Aiyedatiwa to become the Moses of his time in Ondo State? Maybe not.

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