November 18, 2014

7 PDP lawmakers take over Ekiti Assembly

7 PDP lawmakers take over Ekiti Assembly

Gov. Ayo Fayose of Ekiti taking Oath of Office before Chief Judge of Ekiti, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, at the inauguration in Ado-Ekiti On Thursday with them is Mrs Feyisetan Fayose.

By Leke Adeseri, South West Regional Editor; Clifford Ndujihe, Gbenga Ariyibi & Dapo Akinrefon

ADO-EKITI—TENSION is mounting in Ekiti State as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, lawmakers in the House of Assembly, yesterday, reconvened under the supervision of a Speaker Pro-Tempore, Dele Olugbemi.

Though Olugbemi claimed that those who sat were 10 in number, there are only seven known PDP lawmakers in the House. Governor Fayose has been at loggerheads with the Assembly over its refusal to sit and approve his nominees for different positions.

Early yesterday, two Armoured Personnel Carriers were deployed to the premises of the Assembly, with scores of riot policemen on standby.

The lawmakers were driven to the House in a Toyota Coaster bus marked EKSJ 111. They were heavily guarded.

Some already confirmed special advisers of Governor Fayose were at the premises of the House to monitor proceedings.

The seven members that sat, yesterday, included six lawmakers, who defected from the All Progressives Congress, APC to the PDP during the inauguration of Fayose as governor and one original PDP member.

Samuel Ajibola, a PDP lawmaker representing Ekiti East Constituency 1, performed the role of Leader of Government Business at yesterday’s sitting. He told his colleagues that the House Standing Order empowered the House to appoint Speaker Pro-Tempore (pro-tem) in the absence of the Speaker, Adewale Omirin and his deputy, to preside over the day’s business.

Those who sat, yesterday
Backed with House Order, Dele Olugbemi from Ikole Constituency II, was subsequently appointed Speaker Pre-tempore. The seven PDP members, who sat, included the six former APC members— Ajibola Samuel— Ekiti East II; Adeojo Alexander— Ekiti South West II; Adeloye Adeyinka— Ikole I; Israel Olowo Ajiboye — Oye Constituency II; Fatunbi Olajide J. A —Moba II; Olugbemi Joseph Dele- Ikole II and Olayinka Modupe Abeni— Ado II.

Ajibola read out the names of the three commissioner-nominees which included a former commissioner for Justice and Attorney General in the state during the first term of Mr Ayo Fayose, Mr Owoseni Ajayi; former Commissioner for Finance, Chief Toyin Ojo and former Commissioner for Works, Mr Kayode Osho.
The house screened and ratified the three commissioner-nominees and granted the governor power to appoint 12 special advisers who are to function as members of the cabinet.
Immediately the confirmations were concluded, Olugbemi adjourned sitting.

This illegality cannot stand — Omirin
In his reaction, the Speaker condemned the action of the seven PDP lawmakers saying “this illegality cannot stand.”

According to the statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Wole Olujobi, the seven PDP members also attempted to pass resolutions “to ratify the many illegalities of the governor.”
He said: “We have heard of this reckless abuse of the constitution from other states like stories in the movies, but today before our very eyes, Governor Fayose provided seven members of PDP with 300 armed mobile policemen complete with armoured vehicles to conduct a plenary in the House of Assembly to approve the reconstitution of the council care-taker committees and confirmation of the commissioner-nominees without the 19 members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in attendance.

“The prelude to today’s event was well established, details of which were published in the media. The first attempt was when they planned to storm the House with thugs to attack APC members with the aid of security agents to change the leadership of the House. The plan was foiled when it leaked. The second attempt was planned at Spotless Hotel owned by Governor Fayose where top members, both in Ekiti and outside Ekiti, met to plan what was carried out this morning. The governor did a follow-up with threats and coercion, including freezing the accounts of the Assembly, cutting of electricity supply to the Speaker’s Lodge and stopping statutory votes for the Speaker’s upkeep and Protocol.”

The Speaker said though they did not succeed in changing the leadership of the House because they did not have the numbers, seven members that fell short of the required nine to form a quorum sat to illegally approve the reconstitution of the local government care-taker committees in the state, including confirming the appointments of the commissioner-nominees who were never screened as required by the law.

What the law says
Omirin explained that before the House can sit if the Speaker is not available, by law, majority members will write to the Speaker of the need to sit, saying that if approved, a Speaker pro-tempore is appointed to conduct the business of the day. Besides, he said, Ekiti State House of Assembly does not sit for plenary on Mondays.

His words: “Mondays, according to the House Standing Rule, is for the Parliamentary where reports by members from their constituencies are reviewed and agenda set for the week’s sittings at the plenary. But against the rule of the House, seven PDP members led by armed policemen and thugs bundled the Clerk of the Assembly to his office and at gun-point forcefully removed the mace from his office to illegally conduct the plenary where they approved the reconstitution of the care-taker committees in the councils and confirmation of the commissioners.

“To demonstrate that police had interest and were actively involved in this constitutional breach, they used their trucks to block entrances to the Assembly Complex, preventing members of APC who had one business or the other to do in the House of Assembly. Electronics media were prevented from covering the sitting while selected print media reporters were allowed in.”

The Speaker said that all these illegal acts would be challenged in courts.

APC kicks
On its part, the state chapter of the APC accused the state government of supporting the actions of the lawmakers, saying only seven PDP members met and ratified the commissioner nominees.

In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Mr Taiwo Olatubosun, the party alleged that the state governor, Mr Fayose had backed the lawmakers to perform illegality.
It said: “Our attention has been drawn to the invasion of the Ekiti State House of Assembly (EKHA) this morning by Governor Fayose and his attempt to arm-twist the house to do his bidding to tinker with the constitution and confer functions on the caretaker chairmen he appointed for the Local Government councils.”

The statement read: “He (Fayose) is forcing his way to inaugurate them in spite of the due legislative process. In his characteristic manner, Fayose this morning went to the hallowed chamber in company of armed soldiers and policemen, dreadfully garbed, and unleashed terror on innocent assembly workers, forced his way in and compelled his seven-man PDP house members to sit and do his bidding.

“We condemn the act in its entirety and we call on all well-meaning Nigerians to support our clarion call to call Governor Fayose to order. We have not minced words to point out the series of constitutional infringements being committed by Fayose as Ekiti State governor and this is just one in many. “We are cock-sure that this impunity will not stop. The predictable chaos is here already and we are back to witnessing the reign of terror in Ekiti State.

“We also learned that realising that it would require nine members to form a quorum in a 26-member house, Fayose also brought some strange men into the hallowed chamber to impersonate Honourable Assembly members in his attempt at ensuring a constituted quorum.

“We condemn in categorical terms Fayose’s lawlessness and executive recklessness. His bully and arm-twisting tactics know no bounds and he is acting like an emperor who cannot be stopped.”

I’ll not interfere in House matters —Fayose

In his reaction, Governor Fayose said he would not dabble into the affairs of the House of Assembly just as he described the APC as “being hypocritical.”
Reacting, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Idowu Adelusi, however, said no speaker was impeached.

Adelusi said: “Our attention has been drawn to the news that the Ekiti State Speaker has been impeached by seven members. Well, I am not supposed to respond to the lies aired purposely to misinform members of the public because the legislature is another arm of government and whatever they do in their chamber is their business and the executive arm has nothing to do with that. If they remove their leaders and appoint new ones, that is their business.”

Fayose warns new caretaker committee members
Meantime, Governor Fayose has threatened to remove any member of the caretaker management committee found wanting.
Speaking in Ado-Ekiti yesterday during the inauguration of 16 local government caretaker committees, the governor charged them to make the welfare of the people their priority.

Govt sacks political aides of Speaker, deputy

Meanwhile, the happenings in the state took a dramatic turn, yesterday, when the state government sacked political office holders attached to the Speaker and Deputy Speaker in Ekiti State House of Assembly with immediate effect and ordered them to hand over all government properties in their possession to the Clerk of the House.

In a statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Dr Modupe Alade, the political appointees dismissed are: Wole Olujobi – Special Adviser (Media) to the Speaker; Ojobamikan Dele – Special Adviser (Political) to the speaker; Lawrence Awelewa – Special Adviser (Special Duties) to the speaker; Omirin Wande – Special Assistant to the speaker on Youth Matters; Orija Samuel – Chief of Staff to the Speaker; Sanmi Adeeko – Personal Assistant to the speaker; Taiwo Oluwaleye – Special Assistant to the Dep. Speaker on Media Matters; Adedipe Esther – Special Assistant to Majority Leader on Media Matters.