Ekiti can do with some peace -By Duro Onabule

Filed under: Political Issues |

Ekiti can do with some peace -By  Duro Onabule


Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State is a lucky guy in present day Nigerian politics. Some state governors, not as lucky as Fayose, served for less than two years before they were sent packing by the late General Sani Abacha’s military coup in November 1993. That particular coup was the climax of the June 12, 1993 election earlier annulled later by the outgoing former President Ibrahim Babangida.

Many of the civilian governors, who lost office at that time and unlike Fayose, never returned to political relevance or, at least, not as elected governors since then. Fayose, who was first elected in 2003, faced series of battles, most decisive of which got him impeached at the sole instance of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Against all political calculations, Fayose returned to office last June, by defeating his APC opponent, Kayode Fayemi, owing to a combination of factors. First, former governor Fayemi lost the control of APC supporters, who did not realise that in deserting Fayemi, the real losers were APC supporters themselves. The second factor, which returned governor Fayose, was the dramatic resurgence of PDP, a fall-out of the open division in APC into Kayode Fayemi and Opeyemi Bamidele factions, platforms under which the two contested the elections.

If APC supporters did not realise their folly in the revolt against their governor, leading to his defeat last June, reality has now dawned on them. Next time, APC supporters must think twice in revolting against party hierarchy. For now, APC must come to terms with Ayo Fayose, as the Governor of Ekiti State and nothing must be done to hinder smooth/peaceful administration in the state. The current situation is a bitter pill, which APC will have to swallow. Fayose is the governor. That is the law, as statutorily declared by INEC, the organ charged with the authority to conduct elections throughout Nigeria. In that situation, whatever dispute arising from the controversial election should be left to be determined by the appropriate panel, the election petition tribunal.

Until then, there cannot be a vacuum or we have anarchy. Any elected governor, including Fayose, must submit list of commissioners-designate to be screened by the state House of Assembly or National Assembly in the case of an elected president. Fayose has complied with that constitutional imperative. Ekiti State House of Assembly must also discharge its obligation on clearance of the cabinet nominees.

Much as some of the nominees might have k-legs, there is no way all commissioners submitted by Governor Fayose will entirely not merit clearance. That will be an act of legislative irresponsibility by Ekiti House of Assembly.

In the current stalemate, the onus for peace rests on Governor Fayose himself. The young man must cool down. All the provocative stance of “I am the governor,” “the state is greater than anybody,” “I will not tolerate………….” Etc., does not, as it must, convey the modesty of a public office holder, surviving solely on the people’s voting power. Has Fayose forgotten, so soon, how similarly seeming invincible but yet temporary power show in the past, suddenly came cracking, leading to his fall from office last time?

Has Governor Fayose submitted his list of commissioners-designate to Ekiti House of Assembly for screening? Then, he should ignore whatever obstruction from the House in refusing to screen the commissioners. Fayose should get on with the job. Without commissioners? Why not? Last time, only on the third time of Obasanjo’s submission did the Senate clear Aborishade, as a minister. Fayose should similarly engender the necessary atmosphere and re-submit his list of commissioners, even up to the sixth time. The governor can only submit the list of appointees in whom he has confidence and the House of Assembly, without tenable reasons, cannot, repeat, cannot choose commissioners for him.

Mass rejection of commissioners-designate is not part of it. Yes, APC members feel hurt for losing their governor. Were the same APC supporters not partly responsible for former governor Fayemi’s defeat? What is more, the record of APC in Osun State is the political/constitutional authority for Fayose to proceed with governance in Ekiti State, with or without commissioners.

On assuming office as Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola had no problem with the state House of Assembly to screen his commissioners. Aregbesola just did not appoint commissioners for, at least, eight months. The state House of Assembly, never, on that account queried or bothered to impeach him since he was acting within the constitution. Heavens did not fall. If Governor Aregbesola could run his government for that long without commissioners, Governor Fayose can equally.

Governor Aregbesola, throughout that period, disbursed government funds for various projects, including contracts, monthly salaries for civil servants and allocations for the judiciary as well as the state House of Assembly. So, what is Fayose’s headache? He should release all financial entitlements to the state House of Assembly and wait for that same Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings against him for not starving the House of funds.

Fayose should also broadcast the 2015 budget to Ekiti people and send the original copy to the state House of Assembly. If Fayose has any doubt, he should realise that this major political adversary, former President Obasanjo, did not appoint any Minister for Petroleum throughout his second term of four years. Obasanjo himself was the minister. Following strong public criticisms on that issue, Obasanjo was stoutly defended by the man, who should know, constitutional lawyer, Ben Nwabueze. According to him, ministers are appointed at the discretion of the president. Such submission should equally apply to state governors to operate with or without commissioners, as they (guanos) may please.

As part of desire for peace in Ekiti State, Fayose must forget the silly idea of impeaching Speaker of the House of Assembly, even by half of the members. The subsisting legal authority for such matters is the judgment in the purported impeachment of ex-governor Joshua Dariye of Plateau State. According to the judge, any impeachment must be carried out not just by two thirds of the quorum but two-thirds of the membership of a state of House of Assembly.

During Fayose’s first term as Ekiti State Governor, there were series of mysterious murders. The first duty of a state governor is the security of citizens in that state. Members of Ekiti House of Assembly, led by their Speaker, Emirin, fled the state on allegations of threat to their lives. It is Governor Fayose’s responsibility to ensure that such fears are allayed. It is not a favour but the right of the average citizen to move freely in society.

Fayose, Ekiti State, public functionaries and everybody need peace and security. Even as Governor Fayose was yet to resume office, one of his supporters was murdered in his (deceased’s) office. This violence must stop.