The ongoing faceoff between the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, and the state’s assemblymen is worrisome, and, indeed, unacceptable. While the faceoff rages, the odds are staked against the people who elected the actors, as politicking is enthroned while governance and development, the whole essence of voting the warring elected office holders into office, are pushed to the back seat.
The ongoing faceoff is the second leg of the three-arms crises that had the judiciary as its first target and victim.On Monday, September 22, and Thursday, September 25, 2014, hooligans suspected to be political thugs beat up a Judge, mutilated the Chief Judge’s record book and disrupted the proceedings of the courts in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.
Since the inauguration of the Fayose administration about three months ago, governance has yet to commence, no thanks to these needless crises. The three arms of government have been consumed by a whirlwind of political brigandage and murky politics. In place of governance and development, political intrigues are enthroned and they have, as their signposts, intimidations, threats, blackmail and accusations and counter-accusations from the two parties.
Indeed, the state’s political space has been reduced to a theatre of the absurd from which farces ooze out everyday, and Nigerians, Ekiti people inclusive, watch with a sour combination of amusement and palpable indignation. Although there had been some underground misgivings, the inability of the legislators to screen the commissioners and special assistant nominees sent to them by Governor Fayose this month because, according to the legislators, the matter was not listed for the day it was presented, set the stage for the ongoing drama.
The ensuing scenes from the drama included alleged sealing off of the Speaker’s office by the Governor, threat to the lives of some assembly members and their aides, stoppage of the running grant of the assembly by the Executive, sacking of the aides of the Speaker and some Principal Officers of the House. The climax was the takeover of the 26-member State House of Assembly by 10 members, composition of which was alleged to be seven PDP and three fake legislators, and the subsequent approval of commissioner and special assistant nominees by the faction and later phantom impeachment of Speaker, Dr. Adewale Omirin, and his deputy,Chief Adetunji Orisalade.
The governor’s responses have been those of denial and justification. Justifying the sacking of the Speaker’s aides and other Principal Officers, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Information, Mr. Lanre Ogunsuyi, said the immediate-past administration made the law empowering the Governor to appoint aides for the Principal Officers and Chairmen of local councils. He said Governor Fayose redeployed the affected officers because he “had to revalidate the appointments”, saying “If he (the Speaker) is interested in retaining those people, the governor would appoint them for him.”
On the allegation of the takeover of the House by seven members, Mr. Ogunsuyi was quoted as saying “the Assembly is empowered to appoint a Speaker extempore. What happened yesterday (Monday), was an affair of the Assembly. He (Fayose) has no hand in it. He is not a beneficiary of any of the action (sic).”
A cursory look at the catalogue of accusations reveals that almost all the offences emanated from the Executive arm of government. The implication of this for brokering a truce is that it is the same arm of government that needs to exercise restraint in the interest of peace, the people and development.
Besides, the successes and failings of this administration will be attributed to the Executive as it is called the Ayo Fayose administration. No man sets his own house on fire. While the governor has all the powers to achieve whatever desires while in power, he will take full responsibility for those actions in the future.
The onus lies on Governor Fayose as the Father of the State to change his strategy, calm frayed nerves and bury the hatched in the interest of all.
As far as history and precedent go, the state is heading dangerously to the inglorious 2003-2006 days when during his first tenure when Governor Fayose pitted himself against the prominent sons and daughters of the state, the traditional rulers and perceived opposition within and outside the ruling party.
During that period, the state was also blighted by serial political assassinations and the whirlwind of crises consequently peaked with impeachment of then Governor Fayose. It is not a path that Ekiti people want to tread again. Indeed, they do not deserve to go through it the second time for whatever reason.
The source of the ongoing crisis in Ekiti is the challenge of dealing with an opposition-dominated House of Assembly. While the ruling PDP in the state has seven members, APC, the main opposition in the state, controls 19 seats. The arrangement was inherited from the former parliamentary election held almost four years ago. Their tenure expires on May 29, 2015.
But dealing with the situation calls for compromise, diplomacy, tact, lobbying, which are all ingredients of good, civil, modern and responsible politicking. The employment of self help as the state is currently witnessing can only deliver crisis, confusion and stagnated development.
The All Progressives Congress legislators who currently control the majority of the seats in the House need to be magnanimous in their approach to state affairs in the interest of the state and the people they represent. History will trace their contributions to governance at a time like this when restraint, maturity, diplomacy and tact are required to deliver democratic dividends.
The elders of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the APC should put the state’s interest above all considerations and guide their representatives to concentrate on governance and development while not compromising their own respective party interests. It is a delicate road to tread, but then, politics and governance are meant for mature men and statesmen, not boys.
The scarcest commodity in Ekiti State now is peace, especially peace among the three arms of government. Yet, peace is the foundation and a core requirement for effective governance and sustainable development.
When faced with the same situation where the opposition is in the majority, saner climes handle issues within and outside the floor of the House using hire-wire diplomacy, tact and compromise in the interest of the state, the people and development. Such an arrangement throws up more robust debates, better engagements and quality policies in the interest of the state.
As a newspaper, we fear that, if not checked, the ongoing crisis is likely to have spiral effect on sustainable development in the state. Ekiti State is tilting to the state of ‘anything APC is bad, anything PDP is good’ and ‘anything PDP is bad, anything APC is good’, depending on who is speaking. The danger of this is likely to be unnecessary policy reversals and somersaults.
There is a need to eschew politics of bitterness and selfish interest, and put the interest of the state in the front burner.
The civil society and eminent citizens of the state, including traditional rulers should wade in to ensure that the burning fire of acrimony is extinguished.
The Land of Honour deserves peace and sustainable development.