There appears to be no end in sight in the current political face-off between the G-19 lawmakers of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the Ekiti State House of Assembly and Governor Ayodele Fayose, as residents of the state described the political crisis as an unending battle, which has now affected resumption of schools in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital and paralysed business activities. The governor and his supporters had also moved to block access to the APC lawmakers to return to the House for legislative business. Ekiti State Correspondent, DEMOLA ATOBABA reports…
Business activities including primary and secondary schools, both private and public, whose pupils were expected to resume for a new term last Monday, could not do so in Ekiti State due to the fear of possible escalation of the raging crisis in the state. A few schools that opened had to send the students back home, saying the coast was not yet clear for resumption and that the school authorities would get in touch with the parents later.
Speaking with WESTERN POST, a parent, Mr. Tony Ajayi, said he decided to keep his children attending a private secondary school in Ado-Ekiti at home because he received a text message from the school authorities on Sunday, announcing the shifting of resumption date due to security concerns.
Commercial banks in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, were also again shut as organised labour, Okada riders took over the streets to protest against the plot to impeach Governor Ayodele Fayose by the 19 All Progressives Congress lawmakers of the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
The labour unions comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress, Trade Union Congress and Joint Negotiating Council had declared last week Friday a work-free day for workers in the state’s civil service to pray for peace in Ekiti. They also declared a six-hour lockdown for public activities. The lock down was still on by this week.
The leadership of commercial motorcycle riders association, popularly called Okada riders, and commercial transport workers made good their promise as they conveyed in huge numbers at the premises of the House of Assembly with the aim of preventing the 19 APC lawmakers from accessing the House to impeach the governor.
They had pledged to protect Fayose from being impeached, threatening to use the last drop of their blood to protect the mandate freely given to Fayose during the June 21, 2014 governorship election in the state. Below is one-week run down of the developments in the raging crisis
*Fayose, APC Lawmakers’ Feud Deepens
On Wednesday, Governor Fayose claimed he had uncovered a plot by the APC lawmakers and its leaders to create chaos in the state from May 29. In a statement personally signed by him, the governor said he had put the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and the international community on notice “on the imminent reign of impunity from that day”.
He said he was raising the alarm because “Nigeria and the world at large should know who is responsible in the event of anarchy in the state”.
The governor said he had no regrets for supporting President Jonathan and added that he had information that he is the “prime demolition target of the APC national leadership,” for his unrelenting support for the president.
He said “APC insiders” informed him that APC leaders were yet to get over the fact that Ekiti is the only South-west state that General Muhammadu Buhari did not win.
Fayose vowed that he would never leave the PDP and would remain the last man standing.
*APC to Fayose: You are a hypocrite
Meanwhile, the APC has described Governor Fayose as a hypocrite. The party in a statement by the Media Aide of Speaker Adewale Ominrin said, “We can now se the cowardly act of a hypocrite who has made impunity a religion in governance and is now afraid of alleged impunity by APC. He wants to do unto others what he would not want to be done to him.
“A man who wants peace is calling the opposition ‘irritants’. What a way of seeking reconciliation! Whatever issue Fayose is having with the opposition will be resolved by the law. All this grandstanding and rhetoric will not save him from facing the law.
“The governor’s press briefing is nothing but a reversal of hope for the resolution of the crisis. Some people have expressed worry over the quality of his advisers. But the truth is that Fayose has no advisers. In fact he hates advisers and so he does not take advice. He takes no one’s advice and those who know him well are not advise him.
“Fayose has zero tolerance for other people’s opinion. Like Fayose’s former leaders, Baba Ojo Falegan and Evangelist Bamidele Olomilua once said Fayose believes he is the wisest man on earth.”
*Soldiers harass Ado-Ekiti residents
Some soldiers in about 12 vehicles last week stormed Ado-Ekiti and harassed residents in what was alleged to be an operation to back up Governor Fayose’s claim alleging invasion of the state by the APC lawmakers.
The governors had alleged the lawmakers were leading thugs to the House to impeach him.
The soldiers, from the brigade commanded by General Aliyu Momoh were seen on Sunday night on the streets in Ado-Ekiti.
Brigadier Momoh was one of those whose voices were allegedly heard planning to rig last year’s election in favour of Governor Fayose in what is now known as Ekitigate.
Earlier that same day, Governor Fayose had made a televised speech on state radio and television, alleging invasion of the state by APC lawmakers.
*Fayose not inciting anyone, says aide
Special Assistant to the Ekiti State Governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, described as false, claim by former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Dr. Adewale Omirin, that Governor Fayose was inciting the people against the APC lawmakers. He had said: “The reality in Ekiti State today is that the people are rising up to defend their mandate and if Omirin and his APC lawmakers are not working against the people’s mandate, they have nothing to fear.”
Olayinka said APC should rather ask themselves what they have done to offend the people to the extent that none of the lawmakers, who sought re-election was re-elected at the April 11 election. He asked whether it was Governor Fayose that incited the people against the APC on March 28 and April 11 when the people openly rejected the party with their votes.
But many analysts would say the state was made difficult and unapproachable for the APC lawmakers to even come and campaign for their election and participate in the poll. The governor’s aide, who reiterated Governor Fayose’s commitment to peaceful resolution of the crisis in the State House of Assembly, added that; “The governor cannot stop the people who voted for him from protecting their mandate.”
•Lawmakers-elect accuse Omirin, Ojudu of causing unrest in Ekiti
Meanwhile, the newly-elected Lawmakers in the state have described the impeachment plot against Governor Fayose and his deputy, Dr. Olusola Eleka, as the personal agenda of the former Speaker of the House, Dr. Adewale Omirin, and APC Senator representing Ekiti Central, Senator Babafemi Ojudu. The lawmakers-elect called on stakeholders in the state, especially traditional rulers to prevail on Omirin and Ojudu not to throw the state descend into chaos just because of their ambition to be “acting governor and governor respectively”. The lawmakers-elect, who spoke under the aegis of Conference of Ekiti State Lawmakers-elect, said in a release issued on Monday and signed by Chief Gboyega Aribisogan, Hon. Segun Adewumi and Adeniran Alagbada, that, “whoever that is interested in the Ekiti State governorship position should wait till 2018.”
The statement read in part, “What we are witnessing in Ekiti is borne out of the desperation of Ojudu to be governor.
“Ojudu has found an ally in Omirin, who is yet to come to reality as to the failure of the prophecy his spiritualist gave him last year that he will be acting governor.
“It was this same Ojudu’s desperation to be governor that made him to lead the onslaught that led to Governor Fayose’s removal in 2006. We all know what that action caused us in Ekiti.”
•Alleged rift between Omirin, Ojudu a ruse
The Special Adviser on Media to former Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly, Dr. Omirin, Wole Olujobi, has debunked media reports on Ekiti State Television and Radio, alleging a rift between Omirin and Ojudu over alleged impeachment sponsorship funds. He described the report as a ruse to mislead the public.
Olujobi said in a statement that the report on Ekiti State media was the figment of the imagination of the persons peddling it. He said Omirin never engaged in any deal with any one over plans to become the governor, “while it is not also true that Ojudu collected money from anyone to impeach Governor Ayo Fayose in 2006.
“Fayose was sacked by lawmakers, majority of who were PDP members in 2006 over alleged misappropriation of N1.3b poultry project. The matter was investigated and the governor was found guilty and was impeached by PDP members that were in the majority in the House of Assembly,” Olujobi said stressing that attempts to break the ranks of APC leaders in the state would fail.
He alleged that the same report found its way to Channels television website and upon investigation by the management of the station, it was discovered that the report was smuggled into the Channels’ website by Ekiti State government’s agents over which the management of the station has launched investigation to punish the culprit used to do the dirty job.
“Allegation of fighting between Ojudu and Omirin over impeachment fund is non-existent and diversionary. Nigerians are not fools. They know all the constitutional infractions Fayose has committed. No dirty propaganda by quacks working as media aides of the governor can divert the attention of Nigerians or rescue a serial law-breaker from paying for the infractions he has committed against the Nigerian Constitution.”
Ojudu, Omirin deman retraction of ‘bribery’ report
Meanwhile, Senator Ojudu and Omirin have demanded a retraction of a story and apology from Ekiti State Broadcasting Station fro claiming they were bribed to impeach Governor Fayose.
They also demanded N20million damages for the defamatory broadcast, warning that they would begin a legal action against ESBC, if their demands are not met.
In separate letters to Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose’s Special Adviser on Communications and New Media, and ESBC dated April 21, the lawmakers’s lawyer, Abiodun Ayodele, said the news reports brought the image of the Senator and Speaker into disrepute.
*Fayose begs for forgiveness
For peace to return to the state, Governor Fayose has said he is ready for dialogue with his opponents to bring peace to the state. He also asked for forgiveness from those he might have offended, saying “nobody is perfect.”
The 19 APC lawmakers of the State House of Assembly have issued a notice of impeachment to the governor, citing eight impeachable offences.
Fayose said: “If they say someone has enemies, I’m number one in the world. But God has been merciful and has been helping me to overcome my challenges.
“I need your prayers because it will strengthen me more. I’m here in the mosque to thank God.
“All I want is peace. I have a constitutionally-guaranteed tenure. A governor is judged by his achievements in office. All I’m interested in is to bring development to my people. My opponents know if I have a rest of mind I will achieve my objectives.
“All those I have offended should forgive me for the sake of the masses and orphans. They should know people gave me the mandate. Nobody is above mistake; they should forgive me.
“We are here to thank God and pray for peace. I’m appealing to those aggrieved to please allow peace to reign. There is no perfect man. They should allow peace to reign. All I want is peace that will energise development.
“Anything that can bring peace cannot be wished away. For me, I’m ready to accommodate everybody. Whatever they want we can sit down and talk.”
•Group writes NJC over unrest
Meantime, the Ekiti Justice Group (EJG), an association of elites of Ekiti origin, comprising professionals and non-professionals alike who are apolitical, has written to the National Judicial Council (NJC) over the letter purportedly written by some APC lawmakers, directing the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, to constitute a panel to investigate the impeachable offences against Governor Fayose and his deputy, Dr. Eleka.
While addressing journalists in Ado-Ekiti, the group described the action of Dr. Omirin as “bizarre, ignoble, irresponsible and downrightly unlawful,” calling on the CJN to prevail on Justice Daramola not to allow his respected office and personality to be dragged unduly into any illegality and the murky waters of politics.
EJG said in the letter signed by its National Coordinator, Mr. Gbenga Babawibe, and addressed to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, who is the chairman of NJC that “Omirin is still contesting the legality or otherwise of his impeachment in Suit Nos FHC/ABJ/CS/885/2014 and FHC/L/CS/1823/2014, respectively, and a decision is yet to be delivered on same.
“It is an elementary fact of law that once an Action is subjudice, a Party to the Suit is not expected to take any action capable of overreaching any decision the Court of Law may make in relation to such a Suit.”
The letter read further; “We are aware that following the inauguration of Ayodele Fayose as the Governor of Ekiti State on October 15, 2014, some members of the State House of Assembly abdicated their responsibility as elected Assemblymen, which led to the impeachment of the former Speaker Dr. Omirin and some other Principal Officers of the Assembly. The State Assembly continued to function effectively and constitutionally even without the absentee lawmakers, while the impeached Speaker of the House proceeded to the Law Courts to challenge his impeachment.
“The actions in Suit Nos FHC/ABJ/CS/885/2014 and FHC/L/CS/1823/2014 respectively, are still pending and undetermined.
“Unfortunately, a recent and most distressing, harrowing and disturbing development occurred early April 2015, when the impeached Speaker purported to serve a Notice on Allegations of Impeachable Offences on Governor Ayodele Fayose and his Deputy, which the duo did not receive, and followed it up with a Letter to the Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Justice Daramola, directing him to constitute a Panel to investigate the said Impeachable Offences.
“Sir, this bizarre, ignoble, irresponsible and downrightly unlawful action of the impeached Speaker and his cohorts is not only illegal and unsustainable”.
•APC lauds Ekiti transport workers
In the meantime, the APC in Ekiti State has lauded drivers and motorcycle riders association for refusing to obey Governor Fayose’s inciting order to foment trouble over the alleged plan by the 19 APC lawmakers to storm the House of Assembly complex with thugs to impeach him. The governor had earlier made live broadcast on the state radio and television, urging drivers, motorbike operators, market women and workers to rise up to protect the mandate they gave him.
A few minutes later, state radio and television stations ran public announcements intermittently urging drivers and motorcycle operators to be on the look-out for strange faces invading the town to work for APC lawmakers while also urging them to mobilise to the House of Assembly to prevent the governor’s impeachment.
According to APC’s Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun; “The drivers and many okada riders refused to protest, saying they would not be used as cannon fodders while the Governor’s children are kept in safety and luxury abroad.
Praising the transport workers for their courage and wisdom, Olatunbosun said it was callous for a man to put fellow human beings in harm’s way over projection of his interest while keeping his own children out of danger to enjoy safety in luxury.
“We praise the drivers and motorcycle operators for their courage and wisdom. Fayose is used to protecting his own interest and keeping his children in safety while calling on children of others to foment trouble,” Olatunbosun said.