Ekiti State lawmakers yesterday caused a stir in Ado-Ekiti by holding plenary on a major highway to support embattled Governor Ayo Fayose. Fayose is being investigated for alleged money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The anti-graft agency has alleged his complicity in the receipt of N1.2 billion of N4.7 billion set aside for the governorship election in Ekiti and Osun states by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).
The cash, said the EFCC, is part of the funds meant for the purchase of arms to fight Boko Haram.
The lawmakers converged on Okesa roundabout where they mounted canopies to hold their sitting. Before their arrival about 11am, the area was cordoned off by policemen.
Twenty-three of the 26 legislators, who are members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), participated in the session, which they described as a “sit-out”.
Traffic was diverted to one lane of the highway. The lawmakers carried placards, stating their support for Fayose.
They accused Lagos lawyer Femi Falana and Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters Femi Ojudu of being the masterminds of an alleged plot to impeach Fayose. The legislators claimed that Falana and Ojudu were nurturing governorship ambition.
Some of the placards read: “No matter your media trial and blackmail, on Fayose we stand”; “APC, Falana, Ojudu using EFCC against Fayose because of their guber ambition”; “We are ready for arrest, we cannot be intimidated” and “Leave Fayose alone”, among others.
The Clerk, Tola Esan, was present at the sitting, which was conducted without the mace, the legislative symbol of authority.
Speaker Kola Oluwawole alleged that 10 of the lawmakers had been penciled down for arrest on Thursday (today) on what he called “trumped-up charge of not having valid certificates to contest election into the Assembly.”
He said: “We embarked on this sit-out because we were duly elected by Ekiti people. We want to tell the world that we are determined and resolute to support Fayose.
“No amount of blackmail will make us to do dirty job. We call on the APC-led government to leave Fayose alone. The freezing of his account is condemnable.
“We are aware of plans to arrest 10 members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly. We are ready for arrest. We stand by Fayose, enough is enough. Let there be peace in Ekiti, let Abuja leave Fayose alone.”
House Committee on Health Chairman Samuel Omotoso accused the Federal Government of “flippancy and double standards” in its prosecution of anti-corruption crusade, saying the legislators are ready for arrest.
He said: “There are double standards and flippancy in the so-called anti-corruption war. When you are in PDP, you are a demon, but when you run to APC, you become a saint.
“They are doing selective anti-corruption crusade. The DSS disobeyed a court order and this amounts to lawlessness. They should come and pick us. Even when we are dead, we will not impeach Fayose.”
Chairman, House Committee on Information Gboyega Aribisogan alleged that the Federal Government was planning an emergency rule in Ekiti. He fingered Falana and Ojudu as masterminds of the plot.
Said Aribisogan: “They are planning another emergency rule in Ekiti State. Falana and Ojudu want to be governor by all means, but we want to tell them that we Ekiti people don’t want another emergency rule.
“Ekiti people don’t want another impeachment; they can’t coerce us to Abuja to sign an impeachment notice. They are planning to turn Ekiti into a battleground; they are planning to kidnap House of Assembly members. Let them wait till 2018.”
Deputy Speaker Segun Adewumi said: “Ekiti people are behind Fayose. We have not run away as being speculated and we will not run away. We have left Egypt since 2006 and we will not go back to Egypt because we are here by the benevolence of Fayose.”
Chairman House Committee on Chieftaincy Matters Mrs. Titilayo Akerele alleged that she received calls from unknown people, who threatened to kidnap and kill them.
Her words: “I kept receiving calls threatening assassination and kidnap. They should plead with this (APC) government to fight corruption with a human face and respect human rights. The legislative arm in the country should not be silenced.”
Deputy Chief Whip Dayo Akinleye debunked the rumour that the lawmakers had fled to Dubai and South Africa, saying they preferred to rot in jail than to be coerced into an impeachment plot.
House Leader of Business Tunji Akinyele said: “Ekiti State House of Assembly is never on the run. We are here in Ado-Ekiti waiting for them. What they did in 2006 will not work this time.
“The 2006 impeachment notice was signed on the table of the (then) EFCC chairman. APC has been rejected in Ekiti State and in 2018, it will be rejected again.”