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Aderemi under house arrest

Posted by By Our Correspondents on 2006/10/20 | Views: 1054 |

Aderemi under house arrest


There were indications that the former Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly and Acting Governor, Chief Friday Aderemi, was placed under house arrest on Thursday.

There were indications that the former Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly and Acting Governor, Chief Friday Aderemi, was placed under house arrest on Thursday.

This indications emerged shortly before the newly-appointed Sole Administrator of the State, Maj.-Gen. Tunji Olurin, vowed to bring to book those who were behind the killings in the state.

Sources told our correspondents that Aderemi was being held in his private residence in the Ekiti State capital, Ado-Ekiti, as at press time on Thursday.

It was gathered that before his movement was restricted, Aderemi had been receiving visitors.

But when newsmen visited his residence at about 3pm, the policemen at the gate told them that they could not see the former speaker, as his movement had been restricted.

Though the Police Public Relations Officer, Ekiti State Command, Mr. Umar Babangida, told our correspondents that he could not confirm or deny the report, it was gathered that those holding Aderemi had been deployed from Abuja.

Aderemi similarly denied the report when our correspondent called him at about 8.47pm, but when probed further, he switched off his mobile phone.

Our correspondents could not get any official reaction to the house arrest as at press time on Thursday.

But it was learnt that it was not unconnected with the refusal of the former speaker to heed the directive of President Olusegun Obasanjo that the former Deputy Governor of the state, Mrs. Abiodun Olujimi, should replace the Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose.

Sources said that the initial agreement was that the probe panel should indict Fayose in order to enable Olujimi take over the affairs of the state, with Aderemi as her deputy.

But, along the line, it was gathered that the speaker changed his mind without recourse to the President, his argument being that Olujimi was part of the alleged rot of the Fayose administration.

Olurin told some traditional rulers and civil servants who received him at the old Governor‘s Office that there would be no immunity for murderers in the state, promising to bring culprits to book.

Speaking against the backdrop of the murder of Mr. Tunde Omojola on May 28, 2005 and Dr. Ayo Daramola on August 15, 2006, Olurin said he was in the state to avert the impending disaster threatening the peace of the state.

The Oore of Otun Ekiti, Oba Adedapo Popoola, led the traditional rulers that received Olurin.

Promising to be fair to all parties in the feud that had ravaged the state, Olurin appealed to the rival factions to sheathe their swords and work together for peace and progress.

He said there was no problem in Ekiti that could not be solved amicably with the cooperation of everyone and mutual forgiveness, adding that the royal fathers had an important role to play in the task of rebuilding the state.

He added, "I have to be objective.

"But I will not start by castigating anybody.

"There will be no immunity for murderers."

Popoola, who spoke on behalf of the royal fathers, thanked God for the arrival of the administrator.

He said the monarchs were happy to receive Olurin and pledged their full cooperation and support.

After the brief ceremony, Olurin drove quietly to the nearby Governor‘s Lodge.

But Aderemi and Olujimi reacted differently to the emergency rule.

While Aderemi, who on Monday had assumed office as the acting governor, said the emergency rule was no big deal, Olujimi said it came as a shock to her.

Aderemi said during a telephone interview with our correspondents in Ado-Ekiti that the declaration would serve as a lesson to the people of Ekiti State and other Nigerians in choosing their leaders.

Here are excerpts of the interview:

How would you react to President Olusegun Obasanjo’s declaration of a state of emergency in Ekiti State?

There is no big deal there. That is the way I look at it. The only thing which I thank God for is that people appreciated the fight we put up.

It is going to serve as a lesson for the future of the state, on who they choose to lead them.

I thank God that my name is not found on any fraud list.

What are you going to do now?

Do, like what?

Are you going to leave the state?

Leave Ekiti State? Is it not my home state? What will make me leave Ekiti State?

Don’t you think your name will go down in history as one of the people who brought a state of emergency to the state?

It is the people who will decide that.

Aderemi added that the emergency rule was a sacrifice he had to make for the greatness of the state.

He said that the period of the emergency rule would offer the state an opportunity to find and redefine itself.

Aderemi said although the situation on the ground in the state did not warrant the impostion of emergency rule, he had accepted it in good faith.

He called on all Ekiti people to cooperate with the administrator.

There were, however, rumours that Aderemi was taken to the state command of the State Security Service but was later asked to go after making statements.

Our correspondents also spoke with Olujimi.

What is your reaction to the declaration of emergency rule in Ekiti State?

Well, it is very unfortunate.

What are you going to do now?

I am waiting to hand over to the administrator and leave.

Is the President justified (in his action)?

The President knows what is good for the country.

He is our President.

How did it (emergency rule) come to you? It’s a big shock to me because there was no crisis in any part of the state. Also, there was no breakdown of law and order.

Friday Aderemi has brought shame to us. He has led the people he claims to be leading to shame.

Our correspondents gathered that Olujimi’s movements had been restricted to the Government Lodge, Ado Ekiti.

Shortly after imposing the state of emergency, Obasanjo inaugurated Gen. Olurin as the sole administrator of the state.

Olurin took the oath of office by 8.45am during a ceremony that lasted less than 15 minutes at the Presidential Council Chambers, Abuja.

Present on the occasion were the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Ahmadu Ali; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Ufot Ekaette; the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero; and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo.

Also in attendance were the President‘s Chief-of-Staff, Maj. Gen Abdullahi Mohammed; and the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Sarki Muktar.

Obasanjo, who described the inauguration as a "sad but necessary duty," advised Olurin to follow the Constitution in discharging the affairs of the state.

He urged him to unite the people of the state, whom he said had been divided on the crisis that led to the removal of Mr. Ayo Fayose as governor.

The President further advised Olurin to bring his experience as a military officer and ex-governor to bear on the new assignment.

Obasanjo said, "On an occasion like this, one has a duty to perform, it is not a duty one performs with joy in one’s heart, but all the same it is a duty that has to be carried out.

"When I invited you to come, I realised that I have not given you an easy task. You will realise that after signing, when I shook your hands, I did not say congratulations or commiserations.

"You have a difficult task that requires all the experience that you had acquired in your life; as a well -trained military officer, you have been trained to manage men and materials.

"I want to make you understand that all of us in Abuja will help you to succeed. You have had the experience of being a state governor before, but now you will have to run a state government under a democratic dispensation, even though under a state of emergency."

Obasanjo had, in a nationwide broadcast, said the state of emergency was to avert a "breakdown of public order" in Ekiti.

He had added that the "unconstitutional act" of the state House of Assembly was capable of setting a bad precedent in the country if allowed unchecked.

The President described as "sad, ridiculous and unacceptable," a situation whereby Fayose, Olujimi and Aderemi each claimed to be in charge as governor.

He said, "The governor and his deputy and those who purported to be acting governors will, by this declaration, cease to be in charge of the affairs of Ekiti State.

"The Ekiti State House of Assembly also goes on suspension as the formal legislative body of the State, with immediate effect, for six months.

"Elected officials below the State level are not suspended."

He added that a Federal gazette containing the declaration had been forwarded to the National Assembly in accordance with the Constitution.

Olurin, a former military administrator of Oyo State, enrolled at the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1967 as a Cadet Officer.

He was commissioned into the Nigerian Army in 1970, and held some positions, including Battalion Commander, Brigade Commander and General-Officer-Commanding, some army divisions.

In 1975, he was the Deputy Defence Adviser at the Nigerian High Commission in India.

He commanded a peacekeeping force in Lebanon in 1979.

It was learnt that a former military governor of Ondo State, Maj.–Gen. Kayode E. Opaleye, would have been named the sole of administrator of Ekiti State.

Sources at The Presidency claimed that Opaleye was favoured for the job until Obasanjo expressed reservations about picking somebody from Owu, which is also his ancestral home.

Story by: Yomi Odunuga, Emma Anya, Tobi Soniyi, Ihuoma Chidozie,

Femi Makinde, Olamilekan Lartey and Kemi Obasola

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