By Gbenga Ariyibi
Intrigues, power play and political maneuvering are at play in Ekiti State over the attempt by Governor Kayode Fayemi to constitute his cabinet Vanguard reliably gathered that Dr. Fayemi is making wider consultations with leaders of the party in the state and other stakeholders over his intention to assemble a formidable team and may finally submit names of his 15-member-cabinet to the state House of Assembly this week.
It is also reliably gathered that some of the leaders of the Action Congress of Nigera (ACN) and other stakeholders have presented names of their candidates to the governor for political appointments.
But Dr. Fayemi is said to be taking his time because of his determination to give the party and the generality of Ekiti people a final say in the choice of who become commissioners, special advisers and board members before transmitting the list to House for confirmation.
As at last count, Vanguard reliably gathered that no fewer than 102 politicians seeking various posts like commissioners, special advisers and special assistants have submitted their curriculum vitae [CV] to one of the governor’s aides.
Meanwhile, the present local government administration in the state was dissolved at the weekend, while government has put up caretaker committees to man the affairs of the 16 local government councils in the state.
It is reliably gathered that the party’s candidates during the 2007 local government election may be appointed as members of the committees.
Chairmanship candidates during the 2007 election would be appointed chairmen, while vice chairmanship candidates would be considered as secretaries of their respective councils.
The idea of dissolving the current local government administration by the state government, Vanguard further gathered, may have stemmed from the fact that the administration led by Engr. Segun Oni did not follow due process when the present crop of local government chairmen came on board about two years ago.
The government was even said to have frustrated the case instituted by the ACN in the court throughout the time the administration lasted.
Though, the executive members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, have threatened to kick against the dissolution of the local government administration in the state, saying the political office holders in the council were legally constituted.
The state government thanked the removed council officials for their contribution to the development of the state and wished them well in their future endeavours.
The governor said he derived his power to dissolve the councils from the provisions of the State Local Government Administration (Amendment) Law No. 6 of 2001 with the law giving him the power to dissolve the councils after which the Assembly is expected to ratify the dissolution.
The law also permits Mr. Governor to dissolve the councils in the overriding public interest.
The chairmen and councillors came to office on January 2, 1009 following a highly controversial local government election held on December 20, 2008 which was boycotted by the then Action Congress, (AC).
The party had maintained that the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) which conducted the polls was not made up of the constitutionally-required number of commissioners.
The state chapter of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has hailed the sack of the executive and legislative arms of the councils, saying that the composition of SIEC violated the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.
In a statement signed by its chairman, Prince Tunji Ogunlola, and the secretary, Pastor Victor Akinola, the CNPP commended Governor Fayemi for taking the step which it believes would restore sanity and integrity to the administration of the councils in the state.
Describing the action as a “bold step” towards halting the drift of the councils, the CNPP said it became necessary following many litigations restraining the deposed PDP government from going ahead with the conduct of the council polls.
“The conduct of the polls was enmeshed in crises with the opposition members of the House of Assembly contesting the composition of SIEC. We advise that the constitution of caretaker councils should be done on merit.
“We thank the former chairmen for withdrawing the suit to give peace a chance. We appeal to Ekiti people to cooperate with the new governor to bring total restoration,” the CNPP statement said.
But Oni, described the sack of the councils as “the beginning of the reign of illegalities and attack on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the ACN-led regime in the state.”
In a statement on Friday signed by his Chief Media Aide, Mr. Wale Ojo-Lanre, Oni said the dissolution amounted to a “Jankara way of governance which cannot stand the test of time,” accusing the ACN-led government of destroying the rule of law which is the foundation of democracy.
Fayemi prunes cabinet from 40 to 15
Meantime, the Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has prune down members of his cabinet from 40 to 15, even as members of the ruling Action Congress of Nigera, ACN, have intensified lobby to be commissioners and special advisers.
Vanguard gathered that the new governor, Dr Fayemi has made it clear that he is averse to over-blotted cabinet by the immediate past government led by Engr Segun Oni where members of the state executive council were 40.
Fayemi was said to have told the ACN at a meeting that they should not expect an over-blotted state executive from his administration.
The governor was said to have expressed a desire to assemble a “compact but virile” state executive that would assist him in the day-to-day running of his administration.
He was said to have pleaded with the party members to show understanding as the finances of the state may not be able to take care of too many executives.
Dr. Fayemi was said to have pledged that he would not like to make a square peg in a round hole and assured that all of them would be relevant in their respective localities in assisting his administration.
The source further disclosed that the governor was said to have expressed his reservation over the proliferation of ministries by the immediate past government in the state.