Amidst jubilation last Friday regarding the official end of the Dr. Adewale Omirin-led House of Assembly in the state and commencement of a new one, residents urge Governor Ayodele Fayose to make good his election promise to alleviate poverty, writes Sulaiman Salawudeen.
It was a joyous mood for the teeming supporters of Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose who trooped out in their thousands, chanting songs in support of the governor seen to have escaped the plot of the immediate past State Legislature to impeach him.
The supporters had gathered at the popular Mathew area of Ado-Ekiti, capital of the State as early as 9 am, in response to earlier invitation by Governor Fayose himself the previous day for a victory walk.
The Governor who rode into view on the back of a van about 11 am, alongside his wife and few personal aides, moved through popular streets of the capital, sometime riding on a motorbike, acknowledged cheers from the crowd of people who lined the way through major streets from Mugbagba, old garage, New Garage, Okeyinmi, Okesha, Fajuyi and Bank Road before heading for the premises of the state Assembly Complex for the inauguration of new legislators.
There were songs, dances and wild jubilation along the road as the governor’s trail advanced. The singers, mostly women, brought Ekiti dialectal songs, giving gratitude to providence that ‘Our own leader (Fayose) has come”.
Adding an air of amusement was a long line of about a hundred commercial motorcycle riders who rode closely behind the Governor, doing stunts with the machines, lending an air of relaxedness long familiar with the style of the new Ekiti helm’s man.
The road walk also attracted party faithfuls from across the 16 councils of the state, market men and women, student groups, members of transport unions, artisans and several other interest groups mainly from within the state.
Vehicular movement became hampered, especially along Old Garrage-Okeyinmi axis, although commercial activities and other transactions went unhindered. The uniformed officials had a bit of a task controlling the gridlock that had formed but which soon dissipated about Okeyinmi, Okesa and Fajuyi areas.
The Omirin-led impeachment war
The impeachment war staged by the last speaker, Dr. Adewale Omirin nearly consumed Fayose. Omirin, alongside other 18 lawmakers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) started an the impeachment move by forwarding a notice of gross misconduct to the governor. The lawmakers equally sent a copy to his deputy, Dr. Olusola Eleka.
Fayose had then urged the APC lawmakers to stop acting like “jesters”, describing the purported impeachment move as the “joke of the century”. Fayose had then noted that attempts by the APC lawmakers would fail as “No one, no matter how highly placed, will be allowed to test the will of the Ekiti people”.
Mr. Dele Olugbemi, a factional speaker, had equally dismissed the said impeachment notice, alleging him of “forgery, impersonation and an attempt to cause a breach of public peace”.
In the said notice, a letter, titled: “Re: Notice of Allegations of Gross Misconduct” the aggrieved APC lawmakers listed eight impeachable offences against the governor. These included allegations that the governor had invaded the House of Assembly with miscreants, that he instigated a takeover of the House by seven legislators which went against Section 96(2) of the 1999 Constitution. The lawmakers then also said Fayose prevented them from performing their duties by bringing in security agents and armed thugs.
Other allegations included instigating unlawful impeachment process in the assembly, spending State funds without requisite approval which negated constitution and running the government without a legally constituted Executive Council, a move which they clarified opposed Section 192(2) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The former lawmakers further alleged the governor of operating an illegal 2014 budget and sponsoring and instigating illegal sitting of the House. Governor Fayose was then given seven days to respond to the allegations.
The Governor had reacted in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka in which the latter said Omirin had since ceased to be the Speaker, “So he cannot commence any impeachment moves against him (Fayose”.
Olayinka’s words: “The script being acted by the APC is a failed one because no one, no matter how highly placed will be allowed to test the will of Ekiti people. The Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly is Dele Olugbemi and not Dr. Adewale Omirin.
“Omirin is already in court, challenging his impeachment and common sense dictates that when you are challenging an action already taken in court, you have accepted the consequences of such action pending the determination of the suit you filed”.
Consequent upon the face-off, the 19 lawmakers went on self-exile since November 20, 2014, a period which enabled the remaining seven lawmakers an opportunity to impeached Omirin and his deputy, Tunji Orisalade and install
Mr. Dele Olugbemi, Fayose’s ally.
No one can gainsay the fact that Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose has not really had the freedom to been tr nPeople a cross section of the people the expectations of the people has finally ended with the official winding up of the tenure of the lawmakers last Friday. The people of the state After the storm, Fayose should settle for genuine governance
Ekiti’s new legislature
Governor Fayose eventually inaugurated the new assembly, charging them to support him in the task to bring people-focussed development to Ekiti.
The Assembly, fifth to be so inaugurated, comprised 26 members who were all of the Peoples Democratic Party, unlike the last which had two opposition members at inception.
According to sources, Pastor Kola Oluwawole, Chief of Staff to Fayose during his first administration, had been chosen as the speaker. Oluwawole, represented Moba Constituency I.
The Assembly, according to information had equally chosen Hon Olusegun Adewumi from Ekiti West I as the Deputy Speaker while Hon Sunday Akinniyi (Ikere II) had also emerged as the Chief Whip. Hon Olatunji Akinyele(Oye II) had been chosen as the House Leader.
In his address at the Assembly, Fayose clarified that President Muhammadu Buhari had no hands in the impeachment plot against him by the former 19 All Progressives Congress lawmakers. The governor maintained that security reports at his disposal indicated that Buhari had forgiven his traducers during the presidential campaign, with a promise to work with all Nigerians to move the nation forward.
His words: “Available security reports showed that Buhari had no hands in the impeachment plot against him.
“The President had said that he had no enemy to fight. He said he has put the past behind him and why are the APC lawmakers still bent on impeaching me? What is there own in this matter?”, Fayose asked.
Foyose promised to pay all the entitlements due to all the 26 former lawmakers in the spirit of oneness and unity, saying “I won’t behave like them. I am going to give to all what is due to them , not only the G7 alone”, he clarified.
Fayose , who promised to work with the new Assembly to bring the State out of the wood, however, warned the new Speaker against being over ambitious like the other former occupants of the seat.
“Whoever thinks he could impeach his governor and the Deputy for him to become the Acting Governor always end being destroyed. You have to learn from history. Those who impeached me the other time had died politically today.
“I am a man destined for greatness and with the power of God, nobody can bring me down. I have defeated my enemies during elections and now I defeated impeachment”, Fayose stated.
Appealing to the new lawmakers to operate like a family, the governor said: “I believe all of you, I mean lawmakers knew that whoever attacks the new speaker is attacking Fayose? I think you know that?”, he said.
The new speaker, Hon Oluwawole assured that the new Assembly won’t overreach its bounds and shall respect the principles of mutual respect in dealing with the executive arm.
“Separation of power is a mandatory requirement of government. These roles are enacted in such a way that harmony can reign. The executive and the legislature are one PDP family.
“Morbid critics of the fifth Assembly will fail woefully. The two institutions are to operate one single government. “They are expected to operate as independent arms of the same government. It is rather one of the shared powers , than separation of powers”, the Speaker said.
Addressing the people during the victory procession, Fayose said: “you have really proved that you gave me the mandate to serve you. You defended me and proved that Ekiti will continue to speak with one voice.
“PDP is an opposition party and we have accepted that, but we will resist any attempt to muzzle opposition here in Ekiti. You may not like my style as an elite, but the people here say they like it. I am a local politician and I will continue to work for the people. I won’t do whatever Ekiti people won’t like as the governor of this State. I am your boy-boy here. I am not a governor who uses power to oppress his people.
“The last seven months have been more of distraction for me because of the impeachment threat. With this inauguration, we have to settle down for governance and kick the ground running , so that we won’t disappoint the people”, Fayose said.
Demands on Fayose
Meanwhile, a cross section of the residents in Ado-Ekiti, expressing joy at the new lease for the Governor nevertheless urge him to quicken moves to alleviate the suffering of the people.
They condemned the last Assembly for what they called ‘politricks and politics of bitterness which they said Ekiti would have regretted for a long time had they succeeded in impeaching Fayose. In their view, differences of party must not be allowed to colour relationships in politics.
Fadumiye Lanre, a businessman and public affairs analyst noted that the governor should see his triumph over the 19 APC lawmakers as an opportunity to “plant himself in the hearts of the people who genuinely love and voted for him”.
His words: “Governor Fayose should settle down to business now. The trouble is over. People are clamouring for better living conditions and employment. Employment is possible if and only if he plants an industry, even if that industry will be producing nails. Just nails.
“The civil service has already reached its elastic limit. It cannot absorb more. The solution is to create an industry. Agriculture is also there as an opportunity. Our land here in the state is fertile and accepts certain crops like cassava and yam. Let the governor put in place genuine and sincere measures to attract people”, he said. Another speaker, Aderibigbe Bashiru, a resident of Oke-Ala, Basiri, explained that electricity problem is a serious one in Ado Ekiti, saying if the governor can look into it, it will empower a lot of people whose livelihood is dependent on electricity power.
Said he: “We love the governor. But people will love him more if he takers the problem of power serious. Let him go to the people supplying us and ask what they want. Power has gone finally from our houses and shops”, Aderibigbe said.
We will perform, despite; Fayose assures
In his speech while inaugurating the new legislature, Governor Fayose had allayed the fears of residents, saying he would deliver on his election promises, despite the paucity of funds to the state.
He noted that his pact with the people remained unbroken and would do all within his powers to eliminate poverty.