Members of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State on Monday blocked the two major roads leading to the state House of Assembly following rumours that 19 All Progressives Congress lawmakers were planning to hold a sitting to impeach Governor Ayodele Fayose.
The party loyalists were led by the Deputy Governor, Kolapo Olusola; a former Speaker, Tunji Odeyemi; the Special Assistant to the governor on Information, Lanre Ogunsuyi, and Fayose’s Public Communications and New Media aide, Lere Olayinka.
Although nine Toyota Hilux vans carrying men and officers of the Police and the Department of State Services manned the main entrances to the Assembly, the PDP members erected canopies about 200 metres away from the Assemby’s premises.
Some of them sat quietly under the canopies erected by the Secretariat Road while others danced to music supplied in front of the old complex.
A bus was used by the PDP members to prevent movement into the Assembly premises from the same road.
On Iyin Road, many of the party supporters also ensured that no one was allowed into the complex.
The APC lawmakers, who had since November 17 stayed away from the House proceedings, had served Fayose with an impeachment notice. They cited impunity, brigandage, stalking and other constitutional breaches by Fayose as reasons for the impeachment notice.
But Ogunsuyi told journalists on Monday that the APC lawmakers led by the Speaker, . Adewale Omirin, erred in law by sending a notice of impeachment to Fayose.
He added that Omirin could not claim to be the Speaker while still challenging his own impeachment in the court.
Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Kolapo Olusola
[/media-credit] Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Kolapo Olusola
The governor’s information aide said, “The new Nigeria which President Goodluck Jonathan and Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) all campaigned for is the one that would respect the rule of law. With this convergence, you can see that the people are standing by their governor. They are ready to defend their mandate.
“Nobody asked Omirin and other APC lawmakers not to come to the Assembly; they only decided to abdicate their duties since November 17, 2014. Impeachment procedure does not start and end with the Assembly alone. The Judiciary is involved; so their action or plan is highly condemnable.
“We want to emphasise that they are welcome as long as they are concerned about making laws for the progress of the state; but if it is meant to come and impeach Governor Fayose, we won’t allow that.”
Ogunsuyi, however said the governor, as the leader of the state, would continue to extend the olive branch to the lawmakers.
He said, “We don’t want any unwholesome issue because the task of developing Ekiti is an onerous task that needs to be pursued with vigour. The governor doesn’t want any distraction and that is why he has been pursuing peace at all times.
“We want some measure of decorum in Ekiti. We are not proud of the era whereby we had three governors within a week. We want a stable government and that we will continue to pursue for Ekiti to be at peace.”
Odeyemi advised the APC lawmakers to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign by putting the interest of the state above theirs.
He said,”The entire issue calls for concerns. As a former legislator, I am quite aware of the rudiment of impeachment process, but far from this, the issue of the news any impeachment will bring to Ekiti’s credibility is uppermost in my mind.
“How would they perceive Ekiti as a people nationwide? So, I am calling on my colleagues to have a rethink because we are duty bound to contribute to the development of this state. I plead with them to embrace reconciliation and forget about heating up the polity unnecessarily.”
Olayinka said he received a call from an unknown person on Monday who claimed to be an official of the DSS .
Olayinka added that the caller whom he described as an impersonator, said his office received a report that he was inciting people of the state to violence with the state-owned radio.
He said, “I received a call today (Monday) from a number, 08141602777, claiming that it was from the DSS headquarters in Abuja. I was told that a report was made in the DSS office that I was inciting Ekiti people to violence with the Ekiti Radio.”
According to him, the general manager of the Progress FM, Ado Ekiti, also received a similar message from same number.
The aide stated that he later contacted the DSS office in Ado Ekiti to verify the claim and identify the caller but was told to disregard the call.
However, the APC lawmakers, in a statement said Fayose was compounding his problems by inciting people,who they called thugs, against the Assembly.
They advised him to note that violence would not solve the burden of constitutional breaches that he had placed on himself.
The lawmakers, in the statement by Omirin’s Special Adviser on Media, Wole Olujobi, wondered why a governor that had questions to answer would get involved in other unlawful conduct such as the invasion of the Assembly by thugs.
The statement read in part, “It is shocking that the governor would start any act of illegality bordering on public disorder when he is having a load of illegal acts on his head upon which he is facing removal from office.
“Ekiti people were shocked when news spread that the governor had asked his thugs to invade the Assembly and occupy the place to prevent the lawmakers from performing their legal duties.
“These PDP members were holding their meeting in their secretariat when instruction reached them that they must relocate to the Assembly premises where thugs were beating passersby and molesting motorists and residents. All these illegal acts cannot save the governor.
“This is the way a court in the state was invaded by thugs who beat up the judges. They tore court records in the Chief Judge’s office and beat up his secretary.
“Now is the turn of the House of Assembly. What the governor is doing is a confirmation that he does not believe and cannot tolerate democratic practice. But democracy is what Ekiti people want and so we expect people of conscience and good will to support the efforts to allow Ekiti people enjoy democratic governance.”
The lawmakers advised the governor to defend the allegations against him in the impeachment notice instead of resorting to self-help that offered nothing but unnecessary venting of anger on the peaceful people of Ekiti State.
They also confirmed in the statement that the security details of the Speaker had been restored by the Police and the DSS.
Meanwhile, Fayose has debunked a rumour that he had been advised by President Goodluck Jonathan to resign.
He also denied receiving impeachment notice from the 19 APC lawmakers who accused him of committing eight impeachable offences.
Fayose stated these on Monday during a media chat, Meet Your Governor, monitored in Ado Ekiti.
He boasted that nobody could remove him from office because he was holding a mandate given to him by the people of the state. He added that before anybody could remove him, such individual would have to remove God first and the people of Ekiti State.
Responding to questions from viewers on the blockage of roads leading to the Assembly complex , the governor said all the attacks on him were because of his support for President Goodluck Jonathan .
He said, “I don’t know of any invasion; I don’t know of any threat to the House of Assembly and I am not aware of any impeachment process. I am aware the House is on recess and Omirin is in court challenging his impeachment in Lagos and Abuja.”
“They claimed to have served me on Easter Day, can you imagine that? Who did they serve and who received it (the impeachment notice)?
“The enemies of Ekiti people are at work again. I left in 2006, eight years ago and God in his infinite mercy brought me back the same day and the same month that I was removed.
“They are waging war against my people, those who voted me in; nobody has served (impeachment notice). I read it on the Internet the same way you read it on the Internet.”
Fayose said he had no regret supporting and campaigning for Jonathan.
“Because Buhari won an election, they are waging war against me. When I won election, that was the same thing they did. They are not doing it for the love of Ekiti people but for their personal interest.
“Omirin wanted to become Acting Governor but the Bible says who art thou oh mountain before Zerubbabel, thou shall be removed. They employed every trick to frustrate my inauguration but they failed. I know hey will fail again.
“If you will remove me, you will have to remove God first who put me there. You can’t unseat God; nobody can unseat me. No matter their number, they can’t remove me.’’