The Governor of Osun State, Gboyega Oyetola, has reportedly appointed the wife of the Attorney-General of the state, Oyinkansola Akande, as a Special Assistant in the office of her husband, Femi Akande.
This development has triggered controversy among cabinet members who suggest that the action depicts nepotism and could be a breach of oath of office.
Many within and outside the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state have wondered why Mrs Akande would be on the payroll of the government as her husband.
Mr Akande is the son of a leader of the APC and former governor of the state, Bisi Akande.
A close ally of the governor confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES Sunday that the appointment was, indeed, made.
A governor’s approval
On February 4, 2020, the state government in a letter by the secretary to the state government, Oluwole Oyebamiji, communicated Mrs Akande’s appointment to her in a letter marked SS/EX/02/VOL.195.
“I am pleased to inform you that the Governor of the State of Osun, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola has approved your appointment as Personal Assistant to the Attoney-General and Hon. Commissioner for Justice with effect from 24 October, 2019.
“While congratulating you on this well-deserved appointment, the State Government counts much on you that this elevation would enhance your performance with a view to moving the State of Osun to greater heights.
“Congratulations and best wishes for a fruitful tenure of office,” the appointment letter read.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered from sources in the government house that Mrs Akande has been acting in the capacity and receiving salary as personal assistant to her husband till early 2021.
The appointment letter reportedly got leaked in early 2021 and has triggered a lot of controversies among cabinet members.
“We discovered this in late 2020 and called the attention of the governor to it that it amounts to nepotism to have the wife of the Attorney-General serving as his personal assistant under the same government.
“You will agree with me that having accountability in such ministry would be difficult to achieve,” a cabinet member who is familiar with the matter told PREMIUM TIMES.
Another source, a special adviser to Mr Oyetola who requested anonymity, confided in PREMIUM TIMES that “the governor claimed ignorant of the appointment when the issue was raised but there was evidence that the woman got appointment letter. This development has really caused disquietness among stakeholders.”
PREMIUM TIMES reached out to different allies of Mr Oyetola and members of the ministry of justice who confirmed to our correspondent that “truly Mrs Akande was appointed as personal assistant to her husband and she served in the capacity.”
The sources ,who did not want their name on print because of fear of victimization,told this newspaper that the Attorney-General’s wife also has her office where she works as an assistant to her husband.
An aide to the governor told our correspondent that it was true that his principal made the appointment but “it has since been reversed after it was leaked.”
“I must be sincere with you that truly the appointment was made but it has since been reversed by the governor after he discovered.”
He did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ enquiries as to the reason Mr Oyetola made such an appointment in the first place.
The aide said “I can’t lie to you the appointment was not made but I don’t want to be quoted. The governor frowned the development and has since reversed the appointment.”
This newspaper could not verify as of the time of this report whether truly the appointment has been reversed.
PREMIUM TIMES reached to the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Oyebamiji, for his reaction on the matter but his telephone did not connect after several attempts.
Our correspondent has left a text message for him but he is yet to respond.
Mr Akande, the Attorney-General of the state and his wife, did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES calls and text messages.
Public affairs analysts told PREMIUM TIMES that the development borders on moral bankruptcy.
“It is sad and reckless that a serving Attorney General of the state will have his wife as his personal assistant and all getting paid by the government. It is not acceptable on moral ground”, Olowolafe Dunsi, a public commentator, said.
“It is not monarchy and that should not anyway be condoned. Whether they have reversed the appointment or not, it should not have occurred in the first place. This is the state government that appointed commissioner for governors office despite owing pensioners.”
“I see this as nepotism of the highest order. Mr Oyetola needs to address this quickly and should not be tolerated”, Mr Dunsi said.
Speaking on the matter, another commentator, Kunle Azeez, said “the commissioner having his wife as personal assistant is a breach of the oath of office.”
“A compound reading of 5th Schedule of 1999 Constitution, Code of Conduct for Public Officer, Code of Conduct and Tribunal Act, and Federal Character Commission Act posits that there is abuse of office, conflict of interest and a violent breach of the law,” he said.