Ekiti earned for itself the label of a state of the theatre of the absurd: one day, one trouble, sometime ago. It seems the state is living out its name once again. Once again, there is turmoil in Ekiti. The 19 lawmakers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are pushing for Governor Ayo Fayose’s impeachment. Last Thursday, they asked the Chief Justice of the state, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, whose court the governor allegedly assaulted sometime ago to constitute the impeachment panel within seven days. Will they succeed in unseating Fayose as governor, for the second time in his political life? Will they be hamstrung as a new assembly was elected at the weekend, even though their tenure will officially end in June? The crisis has claimed one casualty, Modupe Olaiya, who was killed at Efon-Alaaye in Efon Local Government Area by yet-to-be- identified hoodlums. Some unidentified thugs and armed men were said to have opened fire at the people at Efon-Alaaye junction, the entry point into the state from Osun State, in the process killing Olaiya. It was during a gun battle, which lasted for hours following the closure of all entry points leading to the state in a bid to stop the 19 APC lawmakers from accessing the state. The death of Olaiya has increased the death toll in respect of the political tussle in Ekiti. DEMOLA ATOBABA gives a run-down of events in the troubled state in the last one week…
Those that have been gruesomely killed in the state allegedly for political reasons since around 2004 included Ayo Daramola from Ijan-Ekiti, Adeleye Awolumate who was killed in 2011, Kehinde Fajuyi in the same year, Mic Ipinlaye, Yusuf Abiola, Ayo Jeje, Juliahna Adewumi from Erijinyan-Ekiti and Foluso Ogundare, a chieftain of Labour Party (LP) from Emure-Ekiti. Others included Akinola Abiola, who was killed a few days to the June 21 governorship election, former Chairman of NURTW in Ekiti State, Chief Omolafe Aderiye and Modupe Olaiya who was killed at Efon-Alaaye-Itawure junction early last week.
The crisis had returned following the return of the 19 APC lawmakers to the state to resume their lawmaking function after about 4 months hiatus. As they returned, they hinted that they would commence impeachment proceedings against Governor Fayose. The factional Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Dr. Adewale Omirin, said they had forwarded a notice of gross misconduct to Governor Fayose. A copy of the notice was also sent to his deputy, Dr. Kolapo Olusola. In the letter by the 19 lawmakers entitled, “Re: Notice of Allegations of Gross Misconduct,” allegedly sent to Fayose, the APC lawmakers listed eight impeachable offences against the governor.
But the impeachment notice was said to have been pasted on line. Fayose in his characteristic manner said the APC lawmakers should stop acting like “jesters”, describing the purported impeachment notice as the “joke of the century.”
Fayose: I’m yet to receive impeachment notice…
Governor Fayose, however, dismissed the purported impeachment notice by the APC lawmakers in the state, saying he was yet to be served any notice. Speaking at an audience participatory programme- “Meet Your Governor”- aired on Ekiti State Radio, Progress FM and NTA, Ado-Ekiti, he said those plotting his impeachment were the “same enemies of Ekiti State that plotted his exit from office in 2006”.
“Nobody served me any impeachment notice. I only saw the notice online like every other person,” he said.
“I’m like Israel that is in the midst of enemies but will always prevail. Whoever wants to remove me will first have to impeach God.”
He said the APC people were trying to get at him because he wholeheartedly supported President Jonathan’s re-election bid.
“They are doing all these just to get at me because of my support for President Jonathan and I have no regret for supporting the president.
“Let me say it again, I have not been served any impeachment notice. The House of Assembly is also on recess and Dr. Adewale Omirin is not the speaker of the State House of Assembly.
“Omirin is in court, challenging his impeachment and he can’t be challenging his impeachment in court and at the same time laying claim to being Speaker,” he said.
•APC lawmakers insist no going back on impeachment move…
In the meantime, the 19 All Progressives Congress lawmakers said there was no going back on the impeachment move against Governor Fayose.
The embattled Speaker, Dr. Omirin, said the governor cannot run away from the process because the impeachment notice served on him was a constitutional matter and contained serious issues of the law.
He said instead of staying in hiding to evade justice, it is better to live with the reality that the rule of law has come to stay in the country.
He said this while reacting to media reports credited to the factional Speaker, Dele Olugbemi, and the governor’s media aide, Lere Olayinka, dismissing the impeachment notice as a joke.
Omirin in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Wole Olujobi, said the move was to rescue democracy from the gridlock of executive lawlessness and impunity into which the state had been driven by the governor.
He said, “It will soon dawn on Fayose and his aides that the matter at hand goes beyond exuberant media skirmishes that are being deployed to rally support for the governor.
“Attention of the world has shifted to Ekiti State following the leaked tape detailing electoral fraud perpetrated to give Fayose victory. After that, several issues in Ekiti State are being questioned on the place of the constitution in nurturing democracy in the country, and as responsible citizens, we must act right to make democracy work.”
•NLC, TUC, JNC converge on assembly, hold protest…
The leadership of Organised Labour, which include the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) as well as Joint Public Service Negotiating Council in Ekiti State were seen on the streets of Ado-Ekiti protesting.
WESTERN POST learnt that the leaders of the unions who resolved after exhaustive deliberations on the state of affairs in the state said they would be going on the streets to prevent the 19 APC lawmakers from entering into the assembly complex for their legislative business.
“That the peace, which has been existing since the assumption of duty of the present administration led by Dr Peter Ayodele Fayose, is sacrosanct and should be sustained without any distraction from any quarter,” they said.
The union had state: “That entire workforce of Ekiti felt comfortable and happy with the present administration because of its workers-friendly disposition to all categories of workers in the state; the entire workforce rejects outright any attempt to disrupt the existing peace in Ekiti State.”
They also resolved that the meeting critically considered the sacred mandate freely given to Governor Fayose by the entire people of the state and would be protected at all time.
Soldiers prevent Ekiti APC lawmakers from sitting…
Armed soldiers prevented the 19 All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers in Ekiti State from sitting to deliberate on the impeachment notice served on Governor Fayose.
The lawmakers who were allegedly acosted at border point at Itawure Junction by the soldiers on the order of Brigade Commander in Akure, General Momoh, were prevented from gaining entry into Ado-Ekiti, the state capital for continuation of the impeachment notice served on Governor Fayose.
The lawmakers were turned back by the armed soldiers despite the police and SSS protection provided by the State Police Commissioner, Taiwo Lakanu.
Addressing newsmen in Osogbo, Osun State Capital, the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Hon. Churchil Adedipe, on behalf of other lawmakers condemned the attack on the lawmakers by the armed soldiers describing the action as barbaric and unfashionable in modern society.
While stressing that the impeachment process initiated by the APC lawmakers was meant to promote the course of justice and democracy, he said the administration of Fayose was using seven lawmakers to run the affairs of the Ekiti State House of Assembly for more than seven months under the protection of armed political thugs allegedly hired by Governor Fayose.
“We rely on strong power of 1999 constitution, which regulates our duties even without coming to the assembly complex; we are still doing our constituency responsibilities.
“Last week Wednesday, we delivered a letter to Governor Fayose and it behoves on us to seek the mandate of the Chief Judge of the state to investigate the matter.
“We also resolved that we will be sitting today (Tuesday). In order to fulfil that, we proceeded to Ado Ekiti, we are surprised that at the criminality of the Governor when we are engaged by armed soldiers led by General Momoh”.
Court declines to stop impeachment proceeding…
However, in a new twist, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has refused to halt the impeachment proceedings against the governor and his deputy, Kolapo Olusola.
The court, however, granted prayers contained in the ex parte application relating to service of the court processes on the defendants.
Justice Ahmed Mohammad ordered the defendants in the suit, including the APC factional Speaker of the House of Assembly, Dr Adewale Omirin, and the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, to appear in court on April 16.
The court ordered the defendants to appear in court to show reason why the order of interim injunction being sought by the plaintiffs halting the impeachment proceedings should not be granted.
Other defendants in the suit are the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The plaintiff in the suit are the Speaker of the House of Assembly (described as being occupied by the Peoples Democratic Party factional Speaker, Dele Olugbemi); Ekiti State House of Assembly, Fayose and Olusola.
•Fayose petitions IGP, Rights Commission
Governor Fayose has, however, petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba and the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Prof. Bem Angwe, over the killing of Olaiya.
Fayose’s Special Assistant to the Governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said in a statement that the governor called for immediate and thorough investigation of the murder with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.
The petition personally signed by the governor was titled; “Murder of Mr. Modupe Temitope Olaya; call for investigation and prosecution of culprits.”
It read in part: “I write to call your attention to the murder of Mr. Modupe Temitope Olaya, in Efon-Alaaye Junction, Ekiti State yesterday.
“Modupe Olaiya was said to be going about his lawful business peacefully when gun shots were fired at him and other people at Efon-Alaaye junction by rampaging All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers, who were coming to Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital in two unmarked Toyota buses.
“The APC lawmakers were escorted by some fully armed mobile policemen, who I later discovered to have been brought from MOPOL 20 in Lagos State.
“To my surprise, instead of the police arresting the lawmakers, they were allowed to return to Oshogbo, Osun State where they came from.
“As I write, the entire Efon-Alaaye community is tense, with the people expecting justice to prevail on the gruesome murder of Modupe Olaiya”.
APC lawmakers ask Chief Judge to raise impeachment panel…
The impeachment proceedings against Governor Fayose, however, moved one step forward on Thursday with a resolution by the House of Assembly, under the leadership of Speaker Dr. Omirin, asking the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Ayodeji Daramola to set up an impeachment panel to probe the allegations of gross misconduct against the governor..
The resolution was signed by the Speaker and two other members of the “G19”, the 19 majority members of APC who want the two-time governor removed from office.
WESTERN POST learnt that the House membership claimed to have met at a Model High School in Ado-Ekiti to discuss the way forward following the notice of impeachment they served on Fayose on March 3rd 2015.
Appearing on a live radio and television show on Tuesday, Governor Fayose had bragged, “I’m like Israel that is in the midst of enemies but will always prevail. Whoever wants to remove me will first have to impeach God.”
In October 2006, Fayose and his first-term deputy, Mrs. Biodun Olujimi, were impeached on corruption charges.
If impeached in the ongoing drama, he would become the first in Nigerian history to be impeached twice from the same position.
The big questions?
The big questions being raised in some quarters now are legion and varied: what would happen next in Ekiti? Will Ekiti know peace? With the APC lawmakers have their way? Again, with the election of new members of the state House of Assembly, can the 19 APC lawmakers still bite, though their tenure will end officially around June?