Demola Atobaba, Ado-Ekiti
Traditional rulers in Ekiti State have expressed their worries over the impeachment move against Governor Ayodele Fayose by the 19 All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers.
This was contained in a communique issued by the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, signed by its Chairman, Oba Idowu Adamo Babalola, the Onotaji of Itaji-Ekiti, at the end of an emergency meeting held in Ado-Ekiti.
The royal fathers said the council felt deeply concerned and worried about the lingering political upheaval in the state, which became aggravated after the announcement of the results of the presidential election in which the APC candidate was declared winner, saying the APC faction of the Ekiti State legislators started agitating for the impeachment of the State Governor, Mr Ayo Fayose.
“What is more worrisome is that these agitating legislators have left the state and abandoned their legislative duties since November, 2014. It is worthy of note that since that time, all efforts by the Council of Obas to mediate in this matter could not yield any fruitful result because the APC legislators consistently frustrated all peace moves by the Obas by not attending all the meetings called for this purpose.”
The Ekiti traditional rulers noted that it is an undisputed fact that a Governor was sworn in as the legitimate chief executive of Ekiti State on 16th October 2014, adding that the love of the people of the state for this government was further amply demonstrated in the subsequent elections of March and April 2015.
“With the results of the elections, the people have spoken unequivocally that they want this governor to continue in office for the duration of his tenure.
“The people’s position was further reinforced by the Supreme Court judgement of April 14, 2015 where in a unanimous decision, the governor was confirmed the winner of the election”. The council therefore wondered why “after this declaration by the highest court in the country, a group of legislators whose term is about to expire and who has been voted out of office would still insist on impeaching a legitimate governor.”
The council, however, commended the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, for rising above partisan positions to uphold the tenet of his office despite the obvious pressure from interested quarters, imploring him to continue in the same spirit so as to ensure that the popular wish of the generality of the people is not subverted.
But reacting to the Obas’ statement, the APC) in the state accused the State Council of Traditional Rulers of bias in the handling of the crisis between Governor Fayose and the 19 APC lawmakers in the House of Assembly.
It called the Obas’ intervention in the crisis as partisan, saying it was not surprised by the partisan role of the traditional rulers against the backdrop of their complicity in the festering of the crisis before it became unmanageable.
The state Chairman of the party, Chief Olajide Awe, in a statement, said the traditional leaders, by their behaviour, had confirmed the allegations raised against them in the media by a group of Concerned Ekiti Youths that the Obas agreed to support Fayose when he sought their cooperation while unleashing mayhem on the opposition.
Awe said: “When we read in the media that the Obas agreed to keep quiet when Fayose unleashes violence on the opposition, we did not believe until events began to unfold. To respond to this clearly unfortunate partisan position by the Obas, we will like to ask the same questions that one Ekiti Youth Group, Ekiti Youth Vanguard, posed to one of the eminent leaders in Ekiti, who refused to talk while Fayose was abusing the constitution and attacking his opponents but now came to his aid when the governor was about paying for his impunity and constitutional breaches.
“We ask: where were the Obas when Fayose stormed the court to desecrate the temple of justice? They kept quiet. Where were they when the 19 lawmakers were being hunted in their homes? What did they say or do when seven members of PDP held illegal sitting to purportedly impeach Omirin? The seven PDP lawmakers sat to approve the budget, Fayose’s cabinet nominees and pass certain laws that required public hearings but they refused to hold public hearings on these laws, what did the Obas say about these illegal acts and what did they say or do as the fathers of all to correct the anomalies?
The APC chairman further ask: “What did they say when Fayose withdrew Omirin’s security aides, seized his official car, locked up his office, cut electricity supply to his house, forced him out of his official quarters and illegally sacked his aides?
“What did our Obas say when Fayose seized the salaries and allowances of the lawmakers and their campaign posters and billboards destroyed by Fayose’s thugs? What did they say about constitutional breaches which Fayose committed with impunity?
The Kabiyesi were alive when the lawmakers were not allowed into Ekiti State to attend their campaign rallies, what did they do?”
The party said the Obas chose to keep quiet when Fayose turned the heat on the lawmakers but now found it convenient to blame the lawmakers when the governor was under threat of impeachment over trampling on the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria.