Emmanuel Ani, in Ado Ekiti captures the meet of the reconciliation meeting brokered between the warring APC lawmakers and their nemesis, Governor Ayodele Fayose.
The absence of the 19 All Progressives Congress lawmakers at the peace Parley brokered by Afe Babalola(SAN) to resolve the impeachment crisis rocking Ekiti State did not stop the legal Icon yesterday to begin a process of reconciliation by meeting with Governor Ayodele Fayose and the factional speaker, Hon Dele Olugbemi . The meeting, which was held at Afe Babalola University in Ado Ekiti amid tight security , had eminent Ekiti elders like Chief Deji Fasuan, a retired permanent Secretary and co-Chairman, Ekiti Council of Elders, former Minister of National Planning, Chief Ayo Ogunlade , former Secretary General of the Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr Kunle Olajide, among others in attendance.
The Commissioner of Police, Ekiti Command, Mr Joshua Ibine and the Director of the State Security Service, Mr Duke Fubara, led personnel numbering over 200 to provide security at the meeting. Part of the resolution reached at the parley was that Governor Fayose would be ready to shift grounds on leadership crisis in the Assembly and on all other contentious issues, if the lawmakers can attend the next peace parley which date is yet to be announced. Indication emerged on Wednesday that the 19 APC lawmakers won’t attend the meeting, when a statement issued by the embattled Speaker, Hon Adewale Omirin described the parley as a booby trap. While Omirin said Fayose had allegedly set up measures to get them arrested, he also raised doubt about the safety of his members , saying he heard from grapevine sources thatthe governor was planning to arrest them and detain them till June 6 when their tenure would expire. Speaking at the occasion, Chief Babalola displayed several text messages exchanged between him and Omirin, where he assured the lawmakers that adequate security had been prepared to ward off any attack against them. Chief Babalola said he decided to meddle in the crisis between the Governor and the lawmakers because of his stake in the ‘Ekiti Project’, adding that he had earlier got letters from the Nigerian Labour Congress and Chief Kunle Olajide on the need to resolve the lingering impasse.
The eminent lawyer said: “The Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase mandated the State Commissioner of Police and other security outfits to personally provide security at this meeting. So, I see no reason why the lawmakers were afraid of their safety. “At my age, about 86, I don’t want to be seen meddling in politics, because I don’t want insult from anybody. I even assured Omirin that I will ask the CP and the Director of SSS to sign undertaking to lead his members in and out of Ekiti to ensure their safety, all for this parley to be successful. “I want to tell you, Ekiti is my project. I am a big shareholder in Ekiti . There cannot be development when there is crisis. Ekiti is number 35th on revenue ladder and I am disappointed that this is happening. “But I want to say that in any arbitration process, the two sides must be ready to shift grounds and that is the essence of reconciliation. I want to emphasize that we remain undaunted in the task to end this crisis. We will not be deterred to ensure that Ekiti of our dream is realized.”
Fayose, while saluting the bravery of the elder statesmen and their commitment in resolving the crisis generated by his impeachment plot, said he would do everything to ensure peace in the State, stating that this gesture should not be mistaken for cowardice. The governor disclosed that the PDP government in Ekiti would have become history, but for divine providence and his experience, having fallen victim of impeachment in 2006 during his first term. “If not because of my experience, this government by now would have become history. Why are they bent on precipitating crisis each time I am in government? It was this same Fayose and the same set of people during the 2006 impeachment saga against me. “There is a limit to which one can tolerate impunity. They succeeded in impeaching me in 2006 because they created a wedge between me and Chief Afe Babalola.
That I have not been impeached today was because they couldn’t enlist Chief Babalola’s support. “But I am ready to shift ground for them to come and finish their tenure and pay whatever due to them. This is not cowardice; it is only leader-like, because I have to make sacrifice as a leader. I took the Oath of Office to make all Ekiti people happy and I will do just that in this case”, Fayose assured. The Commissioner of Police, Mr Joshua Ibine and the SSS Director, Mr Duke Fubara, disclosed that they didn’t get order from their superior in Abuja to arrest Omirin and his members, while also assuring that they would be given adequate security anytime they come to the State . The factional speaker, Hon Dele Olugbemi , disclosed that the impeachment process, going by what he was able to garner from hisalleged meeting with some APC stalwarts in Osun State, was meant to rubbish Fayose and get him out of office at all cost. “All they wanted is to rubbish Fayose and enthrone their own as the governor and nothing more.
I have met with them and I knew exactly what they were pursuing”, he said. The meeting agreed to fix a new date for the meeting after securing the assurance of the. In a twist of irony, youths in the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the State, under the aegis of Ekiti APC Youths Congress (EAYC) have described the APC lawmakers, including the former Speaker, Dr Adewale Omirin as enemies of the state for refusing to attend the peace meeting organised by elders in Ekiti State led by Aare Afe Babalola (SAN) to find political solution to the crisis between the two factions in the State House of Assembly, State and the party. The youths said it was an insult on Ekiti State and its people for Omirin and the lawmakers to shun a meeting called by someone of Aare Afe Babalola’s standing, adding that; “Omirin and his colleagues are making Ekiti people to hate the APC the more because they are behaving as if they are bigger than the State and its people.”
In a press statement issued yeaterday and jointly signed by Mr Tope Ogunkuade and Comrade Tunji Adeleye, Convener and Secretary respectively, the EAYC described the lawmakers excuse for not attending the meeting as untenable, saying; “the personality of Aare Afe Babalola should be enough to convince anyone that is genuinely interested in the peace of Ekiti State to attend the meeting.” EAYC said; “If they had accused Governor Ayodele Fayose of planning to instigate the people to molest them, that would have made some kind of sense, not that childish claim that the governor planned to use police to arrest them.
“The question is, for what offence would they have been arrested? Or are they saying the police can just go about arresting people without committing any offence?” Condemning Dr Omirin for going on Adaba FM radio station in Akure to castigate the peace meeting, the APC youths said it was laughable that Omirin, who could not win his reelection in just a single local government, could boast that he would win if he contests for governor. “These people are just destroying our party because of their blinded desperation for power. “Now, Ekiti people are seeing APC as a party of troublemakers, who are unmindful of the yearnings of the people for peace, development and political stability in the State. “Those remote-controlling Omirin and his colleagues from Lagos, Oshogbo and Abuja should know that they are not helping our party in Ekiti and if they want to find out the level of damage they have done to the party, they should come to Ekiti and hear what people are saying ,” the youths said.