Posted by By Dapo Olufade, Dayo Johnson & Gbenga Ariyibi on
Abiodun Olujimi, deputy governor of Ekiti State, who was purportedly impeached on Monday by the House of Assembly along with Governor Ayodele Fayose, yesterday, stormed the old governor’s office in Ado-Ekiti with the full compliments of security men, claiming to be the state’s deputy governor.
*Fayose speaks from hiding, wife arrested in Ibadan
*Olujimi in office with full security details, briefs press
*Aderemi blames her presence on security lapses
ADO-EKITI —Abiodun Olujimi, deputy governor of Ekiti State, who was purportedly impeached on Monday by the House of Assembly along with Governor Ayodele Fayose, yesterday, stormed the old governor’s office in Ado-Ekiti with the full compliments of security men, claiming to be the state’s deputy governor. This pitched her in a power tussle with Chief Friday Aderemi, the former Speaker of the Assembly who was sworn in on Monday as acting governor.
Mr Fayose himself spoke from hiding, yesterday, for the first time and declared that he remained governor. He dismissed his removal along with his deputy, as a coup d'etat and asked President Olusegun Obasanjo to intervene in the same way he did in Sao Tome and Principe when President Fradique de Menezes was sacked in a coup in July 2003 while on a visit to Nigeria.
A fuming Chief Aderemi blamed lapses on the part of security men attached to the governor’s office for the entry of Mrs. Olujimi into the complex.
Olujimi in office
Mrs. Olujimi, speaking with reporters in Ado-Ekiti, yesterday, said: "We have witnessed a little crisis in the last few days. The crisis was precipitated yesterday (Monday) when the Assembly sat and took certain decisions. It is rather unfortunate that such an action was taken having heard what the chief law officer of this country, Chief Bayo Ojo, said on the matter.
"His comment on the matter that occurred is simply that: all the actions taken in Ekiti State is null and void and unconstitutional. So, we are taking it from this angle, telling you that we are back to the status quo ante. I am the deputy governor in charge now.
"I am appealing to the people to be calm and watch events as they unfold because the PDP is one big family. What has happened to us is rather unfortunate. But it is another opportunity given to us to resolve all issues amicably, politically and of course legally.
"We shall explore all avenues open to us to ensure that everybody is brought back on board and to ensure that all grievances are also addressed.
"I am seizing this opportunity to ask my brothers and colleagues in the House of Assembly to come back and work together along with me. We should put all sentiments and individual interests aside and collectively come and see how we shall move the state forward."
Fayose says he remains gov
Fayose who called Vanguard on phone "from Ado-Ekiti" at about 3p.m. yesterday said: "I remain the governor of Ekiti State. I have not been impeached at all as claimed by the legislators. What we have witnessed in the state is a coup d'etat against the executive arm and the judiciary by the Assembly. I am not on the run, but when you have 11 detachments of armed policemen against one man, what can you do?
"I want to appeal to President Olusegun Obasanjo to restore me to power as he did for President Menezes of Sao Tome and Principe when he was ousted by some of his military officers.
"The Attorney-General of the Federation has confirmed that everything the legislators have done is unconstitutional. The appointment of the panel that indicted me is unconstitutional. The appointment of the acting CJ is illegal and his swearing-in of Aderemi is unconstitutional.
"I’ve been 100 per cent loyal to the President. I’ve been his boy. I left N5.5 billion in the coffers of Ekiti State.
"The call for a state of emergency in Ekiti is unnecessary. I’m fully with my deputy, and I have instructed her to convene a meeting of the state executive council."
Earlier yesterday, Mr. Fayose’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, had sent a text message to Vanguard, saying: "We are happy that the Federal Government has come out frankly to condemn the mockery of Nigeria’s constitution in Ekiti. Such a thing should not happen in the state called Fountain of Knowledge. It is the constitution that holds us together as a nation, but if we allow anybody to make caricature of it for selfish reasons, then the nation is doomed for it.
"By the FG’s pronouncement, Fayose is still the governor. The FG should act on the illegal arrangement in Ekiti to give way. It’s very nauseating, when people are believing that Fayose is corrupt because of lies they are fed with by the opposition. All these allegations of corruption against Fayose are political. Fayose has refused to resign because he is not guilty of any of the charges. The allegations are political.
"What the enemies of Fayose wanted is for him not to go for a second term because they know that would be the end of their political career. As far as we are concerned, Fayose is innocent until the court of competent jurisdiction rules otherwise.
"Those who care to know the background of Fayose will discover that he is honest, blunt, fearless, hardworking, resourceful and abhors corruption and cheating. All these attributes of his put together make many people particularly the elite assume that he is stubborn. The rented crowd in Ekiti may today shout crucify Fayose. Sooner or later they will know who truly their leader is. The report that Fayose has been arrested is false. Fayose is in the state, hale and hearty.
Aderemi summons council meeting
Chief Aderemi also spoke to newsmen. He summoned a meeting of the state executive council and said it would enable him know where to start. According to him, after the meeting he would be able to know who amongst the government officials would work with him.
He, however, said it was too early to talk about any cabinet shake up by him, since he is still new. He said: "After tomorrow’s (today) meeting, I would be able to know those among members of the state executive that would work with me. I would be able to say that either X or Y would assist me.
On Monday's statement by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo, that the appointment of an acting CJ by the Assembly was null and void, Chief Aderemi described the comment as unfortunate.
He equally faulted those criticising the mode of appointment of the acting CJ of the state, Justice Jide Aladejana, saying the suspended CJ failed to follow the laid down procedure of appointing panellists to probe the governor and his deputy.
"It is true that the CJ has the prerogative of appointing members of the panel, but the suspended CJ erred in this aspect by appointing people of questionable characters."
He vowed that the "illegality’ of Mrs Olujimi entering the governor’s office "would not repeat itself tomorrow (today)."
...rules out state of emergency
He also ruled out the declaration of a state of emergency in Ekiti. "There is no justification for what you have said in this state. Even in Plateau State and the Niger Delta where you have killings going on everyday, a state of emergency has not been declared there. How come that, that would happen in this state?
"Here, there is no killing and by the special grace of God such would not happen. There is no uprising and the only thing you find now in this state is rejoicing. You needed to see how the people of this state trooped out yesterday (Monday) to welcome the impeachment of the former governor and his deputy.
"All this is contrary to the belief in many quarters that if they were removed, there would be crisis. That has not happened and by God’s grace it would not happen. So, God has not destined it that a state of emergency be declared in Ekiti State. Let our people relax and be prayerful, all is going to be well."
He, however, appealed to the people of the state to go about their normal businesses and shun any act that is uncivilised. According to him, all the security operatives are ready to quell any crisis.
Speaking on the criticisms that greeted the impeachment saga, Mr Aderemi took a swipe at those who, according to him, should know the constitution but chose to jump to conclusion.
According to him, "it is rather unfortunate for them to make such statements as regards development in Ekiti State. They should have waited before jumping to conclusion. But we are resolved to move Ekiti forward and nobody would be allowed to distract us in this journey to deliver the dividends of democracy to the good people of this state."
"This is the seat of power and that is why I am here. Her presence in the governor’s office is not known to the people of Ekiti State.
"For now, both the governor and his deputy remain impeached until the court says otherwise and there is no court that can entertain any action taken by the House of Assembly.
"Those that are supposed to take action should know what to do now. I am sure the lapses would be corrected and would not repeat itself by tomorrow," Aderemi said.
On whether he had received an order to vacate the seat from the Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Aderemi said: "I do not think my government has received such an order. You go there and ask how the impeached deputy governor came to her office. This is the seat of government, that is why I am here. To the best of my knowledge, two of them stand impeached until otherwise decided by the court and the court cannot rule over the impeachment process."
He said he had summoned the Executive Council for a meeting today where all the commissioners, special advisers, amongst others, are to deliberate on the way forward for the state.
Mrs. Olujimi in a statement yesterday equally summoned all commissioners and special advisers to an Executive Council meeting for today at the same time as that summoned Mr. Aderemi.
Her Press Secretary, Mr Dipo Okumuyide, warned "the Ministry of Finance and the Accountant General of the state to avoid unauthorised release of funds.
He said: "Consequent upon the declaration of the Federal Government that the action of Ekiti State House of Assembly is unconstitutional and, therefore, unacceptable and subsequent press conference of Her Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Mrs Biodun Olujimi, this morning, I am directed to invite the following stakeholders to an urgent meeting.
"The Secretary to Government and Head of Service are by this announcement, to invite all Permanent Secretaries and Heads of parastatals to a meeting with Her Excellency by 4p.m today (yesterday) October 17, 2006 at the Conference Centre of the old governor’s office Ado Ekiti."
The meeting was largely boycotted by those invited. A visit to the state High Court yesterday revealed that neither the suspended CJ, Justice Kayode Bamisile nor the Acting CJ was in office.
Fayose’s wife arrested
An unconfirmed report, last night, said Feyisetan, Mr. Fayose’s wife, was arrested yesterday in Ibadan.
She was reportedly arrested at a church at Imalefalafia area of the city. It was not known which arm of the security agencies arrested her.
Ojo, Ehindero speak
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Ojo, reacting last night to the latest development in the state said the court would determine the status of the principal actors in the political logjam there.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero, also speaking on the issue last night said the police would provide security for all the key actors in the political crisis in the state until the situation is clearer. He said on national television that the current situation was unclear.