Crisis In Ekiti Over Governor Fayose Impeachment

Armed policemen and soldiers took over strategic places in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital on Tuesday as the anti-impeachment protests by the Peoples Democratic Party members entered the second day.

The mayhem which also took place in Igede,   Itawure, Efon Alaaye, Iworoko, Aisegba, Ikere, Ise, Ogotun and Igbemo,   led to the death of one person, accidents and the closure of banks. Nineteen All Progressives Congress members of the state House of Assembly had served an impeachment notice on Governor Ayodele Fayose, citing eight impeachable offences,  including impunity, violence, stalking and other constitutional breaches, against him.

The protesters, who   converged on   Ajilosun, Ijigbo, the Secretariat Road, Okesa, Ojumose and old garage as early as 6.30am, moved round the city , thereby hindering movements   for several hours. While some of them made bonfires on the streets, others used broken bottles, wooden chairs and tables to block the highways that   lead to and out of the city. The development forced private and commercial bus drivers from other parts of the country who pass through the state capital to park until the chaos subsided. Their passengers panicked as the demonstrators   drove round the streets in commercial buses chanting solidarity songs. They were watched by the heavily-armed soldiers and policemen. 

The   security operatives were mostly seen in areas such as the Fajuyi Roundabout, the Governor’s Office Road and the NTA Road where the protesters used luxury buses, tyres and chairs to block them. Among the worst affected by the chaos were   Senior Secondary School 3 pupils presently sitting for the West African Senior School Certificate Examinations outside the capital city who were turned back by the demonstrators. Many civil servants and traders, who had reported at their places of work and business had to return home in fear. In spite of the violence, some bank customers in the city were seen using the Automated Teller Machines while those without ATM cards milled round the front of the banks located on the Bank Road, New Garage and Adebayo Road. In Efon Alaaye in Efon Local Government Area, a man identified as Modupe Olaiya, was shot dead   as the anti-Fayose impeachment demonstrators took to the streets following rumours that the 19 APC   members were on their way to to the town. It was however gathered that the lawmakers’ convoy was blocked by some youths and soldiers at Itawure, a town between Ekiti and Osun states. An eyewitness said that Olaiya was shot in the commotion that ensued when the protesters challenged the lawmakers and asked them to return to Osogbo, the Osun State capital. According to him, the victim   sustained injury from shots fired to scare away the protesters, who took over the Ado-Itawure-Ilesa Road.

But the Assembly Speaker, Adewale Omirin,     described as “untrue,” reports that the convoy of the lawmakers   killed Olaiya. He said that the claim by   Fayose’s media aide, Lere Olayinka,   that the lawmakers’ convoy killed Olaiya was a “figment of his imagination and one in the series of media spins he had been using to mislead the people to get sympathy.” Wole Olujobi, the Special Adviser on Media to the speaker said Olayinka was in a familiar terrain of mindless propaganda to mislead the public. He argued that its members could not have been responsible for the death of anyone in Efon Alaaye when they were turned back by soldiers in Itawure, a distance of about two kilometres. He added, “The truth is that no one was killed. Nobody saw a dead body on the way up to Itawure junction where the soldiers disallowed us to pass. Itawure junction is not the same as Efon-Alaaye, so we don’t know where he got his story. “However, we heard that Fayose removed a dead body from the mortuary and presented it to Efon people, claiming that Folorunso Ogundele, a member of the House of Assembly and an indigene of Efon-Alaaye, was the one who pulled the trigger to kill a fellow Efon-Alaaye man in order to instigate violence in the town against him. 

“For those who know Fayose very well, this story is typical of his rabble-rousing tactics to cause mob action against opponents. “It is gratifying that the people were able to quickly decipher that Fayose was up to a mischief to set brothers against brothers.” The speaker explained that the soldiers who stopped the lawmakers on their way offered no explanation for their action. “Instead of losing our cool for their strange behaviour, we just left the place,” he stated The Head of Service, Gbenga Faseluka, and organised labour also on Tuesday besieged the assembly in protest and warned the lawmakers against plunging the state into violence. Organised labour, in a joint statement by the Nigeria Labour Congres Secretary, Ade Obatoye; the Trade Union Congress Secretary, Joseph Adebayo, and the Joint Negotiation Council Secretary, Oladele Ayodeji, enjoined the entire workforce to see the present development in the state as a way of fomenting trouble and putting their lives at risk. Also, the people of Igbemo Ekiti led by one Chief Agamago Adetunji, had during a solidarity visit to Fayoase said, ”We are solidly behind you. Ekiti people elected you to be their leader and no power under the earth can remove you. The Deputy Governor,   Kolapo Olusola, who received the delegation on behalf of the governor likened the APC lawmakers action to the biblical war of Egypt against the people of Israel. He expressed confidence that the governor would triumph over his enemies. “This Egyptian war led by the APC will be defeated. Governor Fayose did not elect himself, but you put him there. This is just a passage and it will go by the grace of God. I want to assure you that we will see no more this war against an anointed man in few days time,” Olusola boasted. Also, a group of protesters led by   Agamego Adetunji from Igbemo Ekiti in Irepodun/Ifelodun LGA   paid a solidarity visit to the governor in his office. The group, comprising PDP members in the LGA, carried placards   with inscriptions like ‘Igbemo is for PDP not for APC,’ ‘Fayose is our father in Igbemo just like Afao,’ ‘Fayose, Senior Advocate of the Masses,’ and ‘Igbemo people solidly behind Fayose.’

Olusola, who also received the delegation, thanked them for standing by the governor. He said, ‘‘This solidarity visit shows that you still support us. God will destroy those who vowed to destroy Ekiti. We appreciate you. Nothing will shake this government. This Egyptian war being led by the APC, we will see it no more. At the end of the day, we will come together to celebrate.’’ Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers will on Thursday meet to deliberate on the ongoing political crisis in the state. The Chairman of the council and the Onitaji of Itaji Ekiti, Oba Adamo Babalola, said   on Tuesday that they   would not fold their arms and watch the situation degenerate. Warning against recourse to violence, Babalola said, “We have been told the runaway legislators are coming back to Ekiti State and that impeachment notice has been served. “I don’t know whether that is true, but we need to give peace a chance and allow the Obas to come in to deliberate on the matter. “We have made attempts several times to settle the dispute between the executive and the legislative arms. The legislators did not answer us. I don’t know why coming to Ekiti should involve impeachment. We will hold a meeting on Thursday to deliberate on the matter.’’ – Punch.


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