Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt and Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti
. Governor brands action illegal, shows evidence of salary payment
.PDP wants Buhari to call APC to order
Tension mounted in Ado Ekiti, capital of Ekiti State as police rounded up the entire state House of Assembly complex following rumour that the 19 All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers would besiege the assembly to commence impeachment process against the state Governor, Ayodele Fayose.
Heavily armed policemen had cordoned off all the roads leading to the Assembly and prevented those not on official duties at the state secretariat that was located close to the assembly from gaining entry.
Aside several patrol vans that were stationed at every junction linking to the assembly, an Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) was stationed at the in front of the assembly, while combat ready anti-riot policemen were on guard to forestall breakdown of law and order.
To prevent being caught napping, members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) mobilised their members, commercial drivers and motorcyclists
The case with the number HC/ABJ CS/361/2015, filed at the Federal High Court, sought an interlocutory injunction among other reliefs restraining the APC lawmakers from commencing impeachment against Fayose.
“They have been dropping the name of President Muhammadu Buhari as giving them the backing to impeach me. How can an assembly whose tenure will wind up next Thursday be planning this? I wonder why the issue of the past should be allowed to come to play now.
“As at the date the court gave the order-April 23-Hon Adewale Omirin was not the speaker because he had gone to court to challenge his impeachment. It will be wrong for the court order not to be respected. This is illegality and I want to raise this for the public to know.
“Omirin has gone to court to challenge his impeachment and later withdrew such, which means he accepted he had been impeached and a cost of N100, 000 was awarded against him. So, he is not the speaker.
“I am calling on well-meaning Nigerians, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mohammed Mahmoud and Buhari to intervene in this matter.
“How can somebody be living in another state and be planning to invade his own state? This is something else and I view this as a major crime anyone can commit against his people,” Fayose said.
On the payment of the salaries and other benefits to the lawmakers, The governor said: “They came to collect the cheques in Ado Ekiti in company of the state Commissioner for Finance, Mr Toyin Ojo.
“The issue would have been discussed publicly during the peace parley, but they insisted that it should not be discussed openly because they didn’t want the leaders of their party to know about the money.”
Fayose therefore urged the Ekiti people to be prepared by keeping eyes on the lawmakers and prevent them from carrying out their alleged “nefarious” act.
Meanwhile, the national leadership of the PDP has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the ongoing plot by the APC legislators to impeach Fayose.
The acting National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, had, while addressing the opening session of a one-day retreat for PDP National Assembly members-elect in Port Harcourt, River State, yesterday expressed concern that the APC lawmakers of Ekiti State had massed at Osogbo, Osun State capital, with a view to march to Ekiti State to effect Fayose’s impeachment.
Secondus requested Buhari to call Ekiti State APC lawmakers moving to impeach Fayose to order because the PDP would neither accept nor tolerate any impunity or rascality.
Addressing journalists at the side-lines of the retreat, Secondus also said: “It is the plan of APC to cause crisis in Ekiti State. It is the plan of APC to systematically cause crisis in the PDP-controlled states and this will not augur well for democracy in Nigeria.
“If you recall, PDP has nurtured this democracy, which we are having today, for 16 years, and because we have kept to the rule of the game, they are now in power. They were not coerced; they were allowed freedom of press; rule of law was obeyed and today Buhari is the president of our dear country.
“We call on the president and the international community to quickly look at what is happening in Ekiti State. We ask that we are all law abiding citizens, so the rule of law should be followed.”
Secondus stated that there have been moves by the APC to single out peaceful PDP-controlled states to cause mayhem and move to dissolve and relocate election tribunals set up by the judiciary.
According to him, “We also want to bring to the notice of the media and the international community what is also happening in some PDP-controlled states, especially where PDP is law-abiding and APC had been on the verge, boasting that they will dissolve the election tribunals set up by the judiciary.
“Two of such cases are in Akwa Ibom and Abia States where the tribunals have been disbanded and the sittings have been relocated to Abuja. We believe that this will not augur well for a smooth transition and for the democracy that PDP had nurtured.
“Why is it that PDP states are target by the APC-controlled government? What do they want? So, we want to bring this to the notice of the entire world. We have confidence in the judiciary; we believe that the right thing will be done. But not to yield to APC who are power-hungry to snatch away the vote and the mandate of the people in Akwa Ibom and Abia States. We believe that the judiciary will do justice to it.”
Re-echoing the stand of the acting national chairman of PDP, Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, also said his party had nurtured true democracy for 16 years and called on APC not to destroy the legacy.
“This democracy has come to stay; the democracy that PDP has painstakingly nurtured for 16 years should not be put in jeopardy as a result of the nature of politics that is going on in some states of our federation.
“The chairman has talked about what is going on in Ekiti State. There is a lot to be followed through. You are all aware of the crisis going on there and the lawmakers have just two or three days to round off.
“You can imagine what nature of impeachment proceedings, according to our laws and constitution, can lawfully be conducted and concluded within two or three days that is left in the life of the legislature of the state.
“We are drawing the attention of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because, as he rightly said, he is the president of all Nigerians, including members of PDP in the affected states.
“We are drawing the attention of our country and those who love democracy to watch out. This is a wrong way to begin in the federal control by APC.”
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom, also said: “Precisely, as the chairman of our party has actually mentioned about Akwa Ibom State, the tribunal had resumed their normal duties just for us to receive a letter about moving the tribunal and disbanding members and then moving the seating without any reason.
“We are aware of what the law and the constitution says. So we are just drawing the attention of all Nigerians, the president in particular, that this is actually not what we read in his address when he took over as the president.
“There is something we must also know; the day you become the governor of a state or the president of Nigeria, you are not the president of any particular political party. We believe by shouting out, and right now, the president would actually take interest in some of these states.”
He expressed concern that it was only in PDP-controlled states that tribunals were being moved to other cities.
“And there is a particular question we want to ask; why is it only in PDP-controlled states that we are moving tribunals to Abuja or Lagos and none in any of the APC-controlled states? This is a big question they have to answer.
“So please, let us allow the rule of law to take its cause in this country. Let us allow and uphold the constitution that we all swore to uphold. Let us also allow democracy to survive in Nigeria because if we take democracy to this level, we don’t know what we are wishing the country,” he said.
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