Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose’s battle for his political life yesterday suffered a big setback, with the 19 All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers empowering the Chief Judge to set up a panel to investigate the allegations of gross misconduct against him.
The lawmakers, led by Speaker Adewale Omirin, have listed eight impeachable offences against Fayose.
According to a statement signed by the Special Adviser (Media) to the Speaker, Wole Olujobi, the lawmakers held a special sitting at Mary Hills Boys High School, Ado-Ekiti where they passed a resolution directing Chief Judge Justice Ayodeji Daramola to inaugurate a seven-man panel to investigate Fayose and his deputy, Kolapo Olusola, for alleged gross misconduct.
The sitting, which caused ripples in political circles in the state, was presided over by Omirin and attended by 18 other lawmakers.
The lawmakers said they relied on Section 101 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to sit outside the House of Assembly complex since the security situation in the state did not allow them to sit in their legislative chambers.
Section 101 (as amended), according to the statement empowers the Assembly to regulate their sittings, including sitting in a public building within the state capital, if conditions exist in the hallowed chambers that endanger members’ lives.
At the sitting, Majority Leader Churchill Adedipe, who represents Irepodun/Ifelodun Constituency 1, stated that the sitting ought to have taken place inside the hallowed chambers on April 7, but the lawmakers were waylaid by thugs.
Adedipe said the thugs mounted a roadblock and threatened their lives with dangerous weapons, which made them to shelve their bid to go to the House of Assembly.
Relying on Section 188 of the 199 Constitution (as amended), Adedipe moved the motion empowering the Chief Judge to set up the panel.
His motion was seconded by the Deputy Speaker, Adetunji Orisalade, representing Ido/Osi Constituency 2.
After debates, the lawmakers, in a unanimous vote, supported the motion directing the chief judge to set up the panel.
The House adjourned till the next legislative day.
The Chief Registrar of the Judiciary, Obafemi Fasanmi, said no letter from the lawmakers had been received.
The sitting the APC lawmakers generated ripples, with residents wondering when and how they sneaked into the state.
Some residents of Ado-Ekiti claimed to have seen helicopters in the skyline, fuelling speculations that the APC lawmakers came to the state by air.
The government said no sitting of the Assembly was held as claimed by the APC lawmakers.
A statement by Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said the House was on recess and no sitting was held by its members.
An effort by the State Council of Traditional Rulers to resolve the impeachment crisis has collapsed.
In a communique issued at the end of an emergency meeting on Thursday, the Obas regretted that all efforts geared towards bringing the feuding parties together were frustrated with both parties claiming that the matter was in court.
According to the communique signed by the Obas’ Council Chairman, who is also the Onitaji of Itaji-Ekiti, Oba Idowu Adamo Babalola, the parties said discussing the matter would be subjudice.
The resolutions contained in the 16-point communique adopted by the Obas read:
• The face-off between the Executive and Legislative arms of Government has been on since the beginning of the present Administration.
• Sensing the dangers ahead, Council decided to wade into the matter by inviting the political gladiators to a round table discussion to nip the problem in the bud.
• Unfortunately, all efforts geared to bringing the parties together were frustrated, with both parties claiming that the matter was in Court and as such any discussion on it would be subjudice.
• This position stalled all further deliberations and efforts to find an amicable settlement of the matter.
•The recent ugly development in our dear State is a source of serious concern and embarrassment to all well-meaning people of Ekiti State.
•It is sad that the unfortunate incident which resulted in the death of one Modupeola Olaiya of Efon Alaaye could have been avoided.
• Council commiserates with the family of the deceased in particular and the people of Efon Alaaye in general.
•Council prays that the soul of the deceased rests in peace.
•Council acknowledges and appreciates the representations from various individual groups and associations, such as the Ekiti State Council of Elders, the labour unions both serving and retired , religious leaders, business and professional bodies for their concern and suggestions.
•Council hereby appeals to all the political gladiators to sheathe their swords, eschew violence and give peace a chance, as we believe that violence cannot solve the problems at hand.
•Council therefore appeals to the law enforcement agencies to ensure the security and safety of lives and property of Ekiti State before, during and after the election on Saturday 11th April 2015.
• Council enjoins all religious leaders and organisations to join the Obas to pray for peace and tranquility in our state before, during and after the Saturday election.
•As a follow-up in finding a permanent solution to these problems, the Ekiti State Council of Obas is concluding an arrangement for an expanded meeting of stakeholders and opinion leaders in Ekiti State in no distant future
• It is the candid opinion of Council that Ekiti State is greater than any individual, groups and associations