Facts emerged on Wednesday on why Taiwo Akerele, former Chief of Staff to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, unceremoniously resigned his position last weekend. Akerele, in his resignation letter dated April 25, had said his decision to resign was based on administrative and governance grounds.
“My decision to exit the government is based on administrative and governance grounds. “I am solidly with His Excellency, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, in his quest to transform Edo State. His mission and vision resonate with mine.
“This is all I have to say. I will like to be given the opportunity to go private as I part ways administratively with the government based on principles. “I thank his Excellency for the opportunity given to me to serve in this capacity and also thanks to His Royal Majesty, Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, for his immense leadership and support during the period I served in this capacity. May his reign be long and peaceful. Amen,” Akerele wrote in the letter.
While many have been wondering why Akerele decided to part ways with Obaseki, given their perceived closeness, a credible source in Edo Government House informed Daily Independent that the former Chief of Staff was blackmailed into doing so by forces opposed to the governor’s re-election.
According to him, Akerele lost the confidence of the governor and was locked out of the kitchen cabinet when it was discovered that he was allegedly leaking out sensitive documents to members of the Edo Peoples Movement (EPM), a political group in the All Progressives Congress (APC) loyal to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, the party’s national chairman, who is at loggerheads with the governor.
According to our source, “Taiwo Akerele was the head of World Bank Edo State Office of State Employment and Expenditure for Results (SEEFOR) project under the Adams Oshiomhole administration. “The project involves infrastructure development in rural areas. While overseeing the project, Akerele took liberty for licence and misappropriated funds.
“There were documents showing that he bought a house in California for $1 million and so on. “Unfortunately for him, by the time the conflict between the governor and Oshiomhole started, he actually supported the governor and was fighting on his side, saying the governor deserved a second term.
“Later, the Oshiomhole team roped him in and showed him documents of houses, of how he misappropriated funds, and they threatened to report him to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). “Following the threat, he panicked and capitulated. They then started blackmailing him to reveal government documents to them. “He then became a mole and started working for the Oshiomhole team, revealing sensitive information to them.
“The governor later became worried about how sensitive information and documents were getting to the Oshiomhole camp. “It was later discovered that he was the one behind it. After that, the governor rejigged his kitchen cabinet and Akerele was locked out.
“When that happened, he was unable to get privileged information to send to the Oshiomhole camp. “Having realised that he was no longer useful to them, the Oshiomhole camp asked him to resign or be exposed, and cause a scare that there is disarray in the Obaseki camp.
“Before he even came to submit the letter to the governor, he had already gone to the media, and that was why Crusoe Osagie, the media aide to the governor, issued a statement that the governor was not aware of his resignation.”
Also speaking, Chief Charles Idahosa, a former Commissioner for Information in Edo State, said on Wednesday that Akerele was a betrayer who failed to justify the confidence reposed in him by Governor Obaseki.
Idahosa, a prominent leader of the APC in the state, said he nominated Akerele for the position of Chief of Staff to Governor Obaseki even though he (Akerele) was lobbying him to make him a commissioner in the Obaseki administration.
According to Idahosa, when Akerele approached him that he wanted to resign as Chief of Staff, he asked him if he was being blackmailed into doing so, but he replied that he wasn’t being blackmailed. He added that Akerele’s resignation was of no consequence as he was a political paperweight in the politics of Edo State.
“It might surprise you and a lot of people to know that I was the one that nominated Taiwo Akerele as Chief of Staff to Governor Godwin Obaseki. “He worked with me in Government House when I was political adviser to the governor.
“That was why I liked him because he was very efficient. He was a secretary of a committee that I chaired in Government House. “He was rolling on the ground when I nominated him as Chief of Staff because he was already lobbying me to assist him in becoming a commissioner, only for the governor to come to me and say, ‘Is there anybody you can suggest to me as Chief of Staff ?’ I immediately said Taiwo Akerele, from Akoko-Edo.
“He came to me and said he wanted to resign and I asked him, ‘Are you being blackmailed into resigning?’ He said no, he wasn’t being blackmailed. “As chief of staff, his action is a betrayal to the governor.
“There are so many things that have been unravelled about him that I don’t want to talk about because, like I told you, it is not an issue. “We have seen it before. The sad aspect is that Oshiomhole is allowing little boys to rubbish him.” When contacted, Akerele, who did not deny that he got the appointment through Idahosa, however, said, as a professional, he had resolved not to join issues with anyone. He said he had resigned and moved on with his life.
“In my resignation letter, I clearly stated that I will like to be given the opportunity to go private. “I will not join issues with anyone. I have resigned and since moved on,” he said.”