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Kolawole Johnson: We Should Separate Criminality From Politics, Akeredolu’s Signature Forged Since September 

He said numerous documents had been forensically examined and found to be forgeries.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has officially requested a medical leave, according to a letter received by the Ondo State House of Assembly. The confirmation came from the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr. Olamide Oladiji, who accepted the letter on behalf of the lawmakers.

In an interview with ARISE News on Thursday, Kolawole Johnson, the head of the Directorate of Research and Strategy at Acts of Positive Transformation Initiatives, shared his perspective on the situation.

“I think with my experience thus far, it’s not what we should have expected in Ondo State, especially with the leadership of Akeredolu. The kind of person we have known him to be is a man that will speak the truth to power even when you don’t expect. So it’s unfortunate that all of this is now at the centre of unnecessary drama that shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” Johnson stated.

He further expressed concerns about the political implications of this development, stating, “It was an unnecessary political game that, of course, did not consider the people who will bear the brunt.”

Regarding the potential impact on Deputy Governor Aiyedatiwa, Johnson commented, “There is a tendency that he will have the mileage to be a very strong force in the contest, barring any other unforeseen things that make it a hard ride for him.”

On the state’s governance and potential, Johnson emphasised the need for a healthy political contest: “The state is weak in governance as we speak now, and we can’t continue like that. Ondo State has potential that we can tap into and turn into another financial hub.”

In a surprising twist, Johnson revealed that they had been working on a matter unrelated to the medical leave: “Let me come around to that. We did underground work, and they confirmed they were forged. It wasn’t a process of spot the difference; it went through a machine, there’s equipment used for such. We took this to local authorities, and by Monday, a formal letter was submitted, and investigations were carried out.”

Johnson revealed that their investigation into certain matters began as early as October, taking a serious turn in November when startling revelations emerged. Razaq Obe, a key figure in the current scenario, later approached them. 

He clarified that their work started before Razaq Obe, a key figure in the unfolding events, contacted them: “We didn’t start the work with Razaq Obe; the work started long ago in October but got serious in November when some revelations came out.”

According to Johnson, Obe expressed a readiness to stake himself for the truth, drawing parallels between their actions and what Governor Akeredolu might have done in a similar situation.

Their investigation involved sending documents, including those from Obe, for forensic analysis. The Association of Forensic Professionals handled the examination, certifying the documents for verification. Johnson stressed that they had already sent these documents to India for analysis before seeking the local certification.

When questioned about the specific body in India that certified the documents as forged, Johnson was cautious, stating, “There are some things we can put in the public space; however, there are things that we won’t. I would like to stay with the document that is out already.”

Johnson urged those involved in the political game to act without delving into the arena of the witnessed controversies stating,

As the controversy unfolds, Deputy Governor Lucky Aiyedatiwa finds himself in an acting capacity amid Governor Akeredolu’s medical leave. Johnson emphasised that, based on information from the villa, there were no apparent conditions placed on Aiyedatiwa. However, he advised the acting governor to act sensitively, considering the governor’s health, as there are expectations of Akeredolu’s imminent return.

The situation in Ondo State remains fluid, with the revelations of forgery adding another layer of complexity to the ongoing political developments. The public awaits further clarification and resolution as the state navigates these challenging circumstances.

Kiki Garba

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