Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State says he and his Rivers State counterpart, Chief Nyesom Wike, are the targets of an alleged travel restriction said to have been placed on two governors by the Federal Government.
Governor Fayose told newsmen in Ado Ekiti, on Monday, that the alleged travel ban, reported in the media recently, could not hold water, saying he could not be prevented from travelling abroad as a free citizen of the country and as a governor of a state.
Addressing newsmen in Ado Ekiti, on Monday, Fayose dared the Federal Government to carry out the alleged plot of preventing him from travelling out of the country, saying “under the federal system of government, state governors are not appendages of the president, and as a leading opposition figure in Nigeria, I cannot be cowed by President Muhammadu Buhari and his agents.”
The governor, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Mr Lere Olayinka, said he was reacting “to media reports that two governors, one from the South-West and another from the South-South have been placed on travel restriction on President Buhari’s order,” and declared that “whenever I wish to travel out of Nigeria, I will do so in the full glare of the public.”
He said: “I am not surprised or disappointed by this latest plot of the Buhari-led government because the President Buhari that we know is a man without any atom of respect for the rights of Nigerians as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and this he demonstrated as a military dictator and now demonstrating as a democratically elected president.”
The governor said he was, however, amazed that “this dangerous dimension of compelling a sitting governor that enjoyed constitutional immunity like the president to obtain clearance from the Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS) before travelling out of Nigeria can ever be contemplated.”
He said President Buhari and his agents should be mindful of the fact that under a federal system of government, the states and national government both enjoy some autonomy, with sovereign power formally divided between the national government and the states such that each state retains some degree of control over its internal affairs.
According to him, “a few days ago, when Governor Ayodele Fayose was reliably informed that President Mohammadu Buhari had directed that he should be banned from traveling outside Nigeria, he simply took the information as mere rumour, concluding that disrespect for the constitution of Nigeria and Buhari’s dictatorship would not be extended to the most ridiculous level of preventing a governor elected just as the president from travelling out of the country.
“The thinking of Governor Fayose was that even though the Buhari’s presidency was capable of even attempting to prevent those opposed to the President from breathing the air, it must still be sane enough to be conscious of the consequences of placing any Nigerian under travel ban without an order of the court, not to talk of a sitting governor that enjoys constitutional immunity like the President.
“However, when we read the story titled; “2 govs under watch, face travel ban” published on Sunday by two major national dailies, we have no option than to once again alert the public on President Buhari’s new dictatorial plot to infringe on the constitutional rights of Governor Fayose just because of his critical position on the President’s dictatorial tendencies.
“The question is; if Governor Fayose has become a threat to the security of Nigeria just because he criticises President Buhari and says the truth about his mis-governance of the country, is this not a confirmation that the President hates dissenting views?”
Asked if there were documents to prove that a directive to that effect was in place, Olayinka said the governor had the information about two weeks ago and expressed belief that it couldn’t be true.
“But when newspapers reported it and there hasn’t been any denial by the Federal Government or any of it’s agents, the we take it to be true.
“I can tell you that the South West governor affected by the directive is Ayodele Fayose while that of the South South is Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.”
He said the Ekiti State government would not go to court to challenge the alleged travel restriction because “it cannot just be contemplated let alone enforced.”