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Truce, Only Antidote for Ekiti Crisis

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After watching a needless executive/legislative feud powered by unnecessary political advantage deliver zero governance and development since the inauguration of Mr. Ayodele Fayose as the Governor of Ekiti State on October 21 last year, almost seven months on, it is clear that there can be no political solution to the impasse.  As it turns out, the two feuding parties have taken turns to exploit power advantage to abuse political process and unleash terror on each other and, by extension, stultify governance and development.

Capitalizing on their majority advantage, the 19-member All Progressives Congress-controlled Assembly Mr. Fayose inherited from the immediate-past Governor Kayode Fayemi had, among other tactics, refused to pass the state budget and declined to confirm the three commissioner-nominees presented to the House by the new administration. These Governor Fayose regarded as a ploy by the 19 legislators to stall his administration.

In a counter offensive, Governor Fayose, obviously capitalizing on the power advantage of the PDP at the centre, had emboldened the seven of the remaining 26 members of the Assembly to create a parallel Assembly and appoint a factional Speaker. The factional Assembly had passed the 2015 Budget, approved four commissioners to form Governor Fayose’s cabinet while exercising other duties and responsibilities of the Assembly.

The 19-member Assembly, having been allegedly harangued by the Governor, using security agents, had gone into exile in Lagos since November last year.

The Speaker Wale Omirin-controlled19 legislators had approached the court to seek redress in the matter. But when President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party lost power to President-elect Muhammadu Buhari of the APC in the March 28 election, the exiled 19 legislators served Governor Fayose impeachment notice and directed the Chief Judge of Ekiti State to constitute a panel to probe him. The directive has yet to see the light of day.

The 19 legislators had also attempted to return to the Assembly in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, but were rebuffed by thugs and security agencies who blocked all the roads leading to the state and the House of Assembly.

While these executive and legislative inanities raged, the people, governance and development suffered and still continue to suffer. The actions of the 19 legislators and the governor not only stand democratic principles on their head, they are also a disservice to the Ekiti people who gave them their mandate.

The skeletal peace being experienced in Ekiti State, is, no doubt, predicated on the fact that the power the Governor enjoys at the centre still subsists. With power shifting at the centre on May 29, 2015, making a former opposition party, the APC, the ruling party and thus leaving the 19 beleaguered APC members in power till June 6, nine days after handover, it may be dangerous to leave the impasse unresolved before handover.

Indeed, political pundits have averred that if the trend of alternate power advantage is left unchecked, all may not be well with the Fayose administration post May 29.

This is where the intervention of some elders of the state, as championed by Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, seems appropriate to broker a truce and return the state to its normal path. Indeed, with power advantage playing as the common denominator to the misdeeds of the two feuding parties, there can be no solution other than the ongoing intervention by the elder statesman.

Though the initial meeting called by Chief Babalola at Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, and consented to by Governor Fayose, suffered a setback, with the 19 legislators fingering insecurity and a plot by the governor to arrest them, the revered elder statesman and legal giant would need to address the issues raised by the aggrieved lawmakers and reschedule the meeting accordingly. He may need to get the inputs of the two parties to set an agreeable tone for the meeting.

The scarcest commodities in Ekiti State now are peace, governance and development. No sacrifice, personal or corporate, is too much to pay to return these commodities to the State that is reputed to be a standard in intellectualism in the nation to the path of peace and development.

The two feuding parties would need to wean themselves of power advantage mentality and play representative democracy games according to laid-down rules and principles. The underlining principle of ruling and opposition roles in a democracy is the pursuit of the public good. Every party misses the point when it regards power as an opportunity for vendetta.

Ekiti people are tired of a crisis that always puts them on the wrong side of the headlines and that has arrested governance and development. Enough is enough!

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