Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and his supporters are basking in the euphoria of surviving the onslaught of 19 opposition members of the All Progressives Congress who tried and failed to remove him from office
| By Olu Ojewale | Jun 15, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and his supporters were euphoric on Thursday, June 4. And on Friday, June 5, when the Assembly’s tenure expired, Fayose held a victory parade on the streets of Ado-Ekiti, state capital, to thank the people for standing by him even as the 19 outgone members of the House of Assembly tried to remove him from office.
On Thursday, the governor formally bade farewell to the Assembly, insisting that he had forgiven them for attempting to remove him from office. A statement issued by Idowu Adelusi, his chief press secretary, lamented how things had been between the governor and the lawmakers but he promised not to victimise them after leaving office.
The statement said: “The last few months have been traumatic, especially this week. I was not given room for concentration, but I had left the battle for God to fight. I told those planning to impeach me that they will succeed if they can impeach God. I did not bring myself back to power; my coming back after eight years was divine. I defeated the APC totally in all the elections, still they did not want to concede victory easily until when the Ekiti people rose to defend that June 21 mandate.”
Indeed, Ekiti State had been virtually under siege for the past three days as police, supporters and thugs said to be loyal to Fayose blocked all roads leading to the Assembly complex to prevent the 19 APC lawmakers from sitting with the aim of impeaching him.
Apparently impressed, the governor praised the people of the state for preventing the lawmakers from gaining access to the complex and called them out to celebrate with him with in a victory match on Friday. In a state broadcast on Thursday, June 4, Fayose said: “I want to thank the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, members, commercial drivers and motorcyclists, market men and women and citizens of this state for their continued support for me while the face-off lasted.
“With the expiration of their tenure, there is relief for me and my administration, and it is now time to perform my duties as governor of the state. In view of my travail in the hands of the outgone lawmakers, reprieve has now come to my government and I can now feel like a governor.
This, has no doubt, put an end to the 19 APC members impeachment plans. The APC lawmakers had on April 4, this year, issued a notice of impeachment to Fayose, citing cases of abuse of office and gross misconduct.
Governor Fayose had been in a running battle with the APC members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly who had vowed to impeach him. Several peace meetings between the lawmakers and the governor have ended in stalemate. Even leaders in the state, including Afe Babalola, SAN, and some traditional rulers, had arranged meetings with the two sides, but failed.
However, the impeachment plot took a new dimension on Monday, June 1, when Adewale Omirin, the then speaker of the Assembly, and his colleagues tried to return to the Assembly Complex and to actualise their impeachment move. But their efforts were met with resistance as the governor and the PDP members mobilised and blocked all entry points into the state in order to restrict human and vehicular movement into the state.
The 19 APC lawmakers had been at loggerheads with Fayose over the alleged non-payment of salaries and other entitlements of the legislators. The lawmakers in a statement alleged that the claims by the state government that it had offset their salaries and benefits were false. They said: “We insist that we have not been paid because we have not received payment alerts. Knowing who Fayose is, we won’t believe in any payment until we see payment alerts.”
Reacting to the legislators claim, Fayose, on Sunday, May 31, maintained that he had paid the lawmakers their outstanding allowances, berated the legislators for going to the press to say that they have not received any payment from the government. Besides, the government said it had to clarify the issues raised since the money paid to the lawmakers belonged to Ekiti people.
Omirin described the government’s claims as a publicity stunt gone wrong. He said: “This face-saving tactic after a hatchet job gone awry in the media has failed. We had earlier said that the governor offered to pay our entitlements in exchange for our resumption of duty but we refused.
That notwithstanding, the turn of events in the state has no doubt, vindicated the likes of Onyekachi Ubani, lawyer and former chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja branch, Lagos, who had earlier warned the APC legislators against the impeachment move that it was in futility. “I see no way they can remove Fayose the way they are going. In any case it is late in the day. I would suggest that they settle whatever the areas of their disagreement peaceful so that people of Ekiti can enjoy dividends of democracy,” he said.
Indeed, as the APC legislators finished their tenure, it is hoped that peace will return to the state, which has been under tension since Fayose assumed office in October last year. Writing in his column in The Sun of Friday, June 5, Bolaji Tunji said it was obvious that the fight was no “longer about principle or to correct any perceived wrong but a vendetta to ensure that the state remains ungovernable.” While asking everyone in the state to allow peace to reign, he warned that only in the atmosphere of peace that development could happen in the state and that the APC itself as a party could win elections.