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Ondo govt slams Ajulo over Akeredolu’s signature claim

The Ondo State Government, on Monday, described as baseless the claim by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Kayode Ajulo, that the signature of ailing Governor Rotimi Akeredolu was being forged by some officials.

The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of the state, Mr Charles Titiloye, described the allegation as baseless and mischievous.

Ajulo, who appeared on Arise Television’s Morning Show programme on Monday, had said, “I have it on good authority as a lawyer. Some of the commissioners, about five of them, sent memos to the governor, and they all returned with approval.

“Going through the approval compared to what the governor had approved when he was hale (sic) and hearty, there are notable disparities in them.

The Police and Administration of Justice Acts have made it clear that there can be private investigators into the issue as such, and they have been contacted, but their results after the investigation are so damning.

“The purported signature is not from the governor. It is so apparent.”

Titiloye said, “It is very sad when lawyers are saying these kinds of things because as a lawyer, you should know the implications of spreading misinformation. You must have your facts with you before you spread such information. The only person who can claim the signature is forged is Mr Governor; nobody can say that on his behalf.

“I think these rumours are politically motivated and a lawyer should not be part of this scenario, because a signature is personal, and nobody can speak for Mr. Governor. All these are aimed at causing political commotion in the state.

“Nobody is a computer; it is only a computer that will write and everything will be the same. There are a lot of variations when we append our own signature even on the spot, that’s why recognition of signature can only be asserted by the owner of the signature. Governor has not alleged that his signature has been forged.

“Governor has two types of signatures. These people are not acquainted with the signature of Mr Governor. He has the short signature for a quick memo and he has the longer one that is official. There is no way that signature can be forged, and the memo that goes to Governor to sign cannot be taken to somewhere else to sign.

“These are baseless allegations. Unless they say those documents are not taken to Mr Governor, they should come out straight so that we can know where they are coming from.”

Similarly, the state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, denied the allegation, describing it as mischievous. She insisted that the signature of the governor was not forged.

“Nobody forges the signature of the Governor. As of today, we have to work for the progress of the state. Those mischief makers should desist from doing so,” Ademola-Olateju warned.

Meanwhile, a lawyer, Allen Sowore, has called on the Ondo State Executive Council to investigate the alleged act of forgery of the signature of the state governor.

Sowore, in a statement issued on Monday, said there was a need for the state exco to investigate the alleged act and bring the perpetrators to book.

He said, “I strongly urge the State Executive Council to establish a technical panel promptly, initiating a comprehensive investigation into this disconcerting situation. This step is crucial in uncovering the circumstances behind the existence of multiple signatures purportedly belonging to the governor on sensitive government documents.

“Furthermore, it is imperative for all accounting officers, heads of agencies, and establishments in the state particularly, the Accountant-General, to exercise greater diligence and caution in the discharge of their official duties.

“Emphasis must be placed on the fact that public office holders in Ondo State exploiting the governor’s temporary absence for personal enrichment will inevitably be held accountable for their actions and stewardship.”

The ailing Governor Akeredolu is still recuperating in his Ibadan residence, where he had been since returning from a medical vacation in Germany.

Ogechukwu Ukekwe

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