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News for December 2004

Ekiti AD, gov disagree on honour to past leaders Ekiti to spend N1b on proposed international school
PDP sweeps Ekiti LG polls Fayose Challenges Journalists on Performance
Fayose reviews scorecard, pledges good governance Ekiti Council of Elders’ factions trade accusation
Court nullifies appointment of monarch Two opposing elders' councils emerge in Ekiti over 2007 polls
Don flays 1999 Constitution Ekiti govt warns fuel dealers to acquire fire fighting equipment
Adebayo did not misappropriate N100m – AD Appeal to Gov. Fayose
Five states to spend N483m on pilgrimages, Ekiti not one of them Ekiti elders laud Fayose's performance
Fayose Donates Eight Vehicles to Police Fayose presents scorecard, urges support for police
‘Rescue Ekiti from collapse’ Two brothers convicted of murder
Ekiti denies fraud in poultry scheme Attack on political office holders, buildings worries speaker
Ekiti CPS commends boss Fayose pledges good governance, opens Governor's Lodge in Ondo
Ado-Ekiti monarch confers title on Tafa Balogun AD wants Ekiti to fund college of medicine
Fayose advocates Police awards for peaceful states Ondo, Ekiti settle assets sharing problem
Fayose warns appointment lobbyists Fayose Warns Troublemakers
Fayose Donates 26 Cars to Lawmakers ‘Xmas gift’: CJ frees 13 accused persons
Fayose: An appraisal 'Allow Me to Turn Ekiti into Paradise'
Progressives may regroup for 2007 polls Ekiti is not poor –Fayose
Ekiti leaders insist on fair share of political offices Ekiti lawmakers ask Fayose to present report on performance
Ekiti ex-officials deny non-payment of allowances Be prepared to render account, speaker tells Fayose, deputy
Leave Fayose alone Fayose, the unusual governor
Ekiti to sell legislative quarters Ekiti proposes N20.3bn budget
Ekiti ex-officials deny non-payment of allowances ASUU deplores deductions from teachers' pay
Marwa promises to speak on presidential ambition next year Fayose to Meet Indigenes in Oyo
Ekiti can establish polytechnic – Speaker Ekiti votes N4b for roads
EKICCMA seeks international status for S-West trade fairs UNAD’s college of medicine needs N1.3bn to take-off – Report
Death and a family in the hangman's noose Ekiti ex-officials seek payment of allowances
Ekiti abandons plan for a college of medicine Odu’a Joint Trade Fair takes off in Ekiti
Ado Ekiti court sentences two brothers to death by hanging Fayose wants court of appeal in Ekiti

Ekiti AD, gov disagree on honour to past leaders   Back To Top

The Guardian: Friday, December 31, 2004

From Ifedayo Sayo, Ado-Ekiti

THE Alliance for Democracy (AD) has warned against attempts to rubbish the legacy of the immediate past civilian administration in Ekiti State.

The party in a statement yesterday queried the refusal of the state government to accord the immediate past civilian governor of the state, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo, his rightful position in the scheme of things.

According to the party, the former governor and the first military administrator of the state, Lt. Col. Inua Mohammed Bawa (rtd) were excluded from the customary Christmas gifts given to former governors of the state, including former military administrators of other states who hail from the state.

But the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Idowu Adelusi denied the allegation, maintaining that gifts were given out on a personal basis and from the personal purse of the state governor, Ayodele Fayose, to his close friends and political associates.

He explained that the governor was conscious of the meagre resources at his disposal and would rather spend it on development programmes than buying gifts for the rich in the society.

The AD, in a statement by its general secretary, Chief Biodun Akin Falae, said the party was sure of the fact that the names of Bawa and Adebayo were removed from the list of beneficiaries of Christmas gifts by the governor because he considered them political foes.

The party also accused the state governors of claiming that it has no money to fund the College of Medicine of the state-owned University of Ado-Ekiti but could spend N300 million on Christmas gifts.

It added that the people of the state are no longer deceived with the propaganda of the governor in the media that it has brought smiles to the faces of the people when in actual fact, he has added to their suffering.

Adelusi, however, denied that government spent N300 million on Christmas gifts, saying it only exists in the imagination of the leadership of the AD.

He asked the opposition parties to appreciate the modest contributions of the governor to the development of the state and co-operate with him to lift the state to greater heights.

The AD called on the state governor to accord his predecessors their rightful positions in the scheme of things, saying Christmas gifts should not be distributed on the basis of political patronage.

The party also frowned at the refusal of the governor to acknowledge the fact that most of the roads under construction in the state were started by his predecessor, saying that the people are not deceived by the propaganda mounted against the last administration in the state.

The party said it was in a bid to improve on the network of roads that the Adebayo administration approached the capital market for fund, adding that road contracts awarded by the last civilian administration with the proceeds from the capital market included Igbara-Odo-Ikogosi; Aramoko-Erijiyan-Ikogosi; Igbara-Odo-Ikere; Ikole-Ijesa-Iju-Iluomoba; Ikere-Ise-Emure, among others.

Some of these roads, the party claimed, had reached advanced stage of completion before the coming to power of Fayose. Though the Fayose administration has re-negotiated these roads from asphalt overlay to mere surface dressing, the fact still remains that they were initiated and awarded by the Adebayo administration.

The party called on the state government to consider the interest of the state and allow the original designs for the roads to be executed to the letter rather than playing politics with them.

Ekiti to spend N1b on proposed international school   Back To Top

The Guardian: Thursday, December 30, 2004

From Ifedayo Sayo, Ado-Ekiti

THE Ekiti State government is to spend N1 billion on its proposed international school billed for Afao-Ekiti.

The school, coming on the heels of the cancellation of the College of Medicine of the University of Ado-Ekiti, is expected to gulp N150 million within the next one year.

The state Governor, Ayodele Fayose, who disclosed this yesterday while playing host to community leaders from Afao-Ekiti, said government would also undertake the rehabilitation of a township road in the town.

The governor had explained that the state did not have enough funds to continue with the college of medicine and concluded that the only way out was to phase it out.

A committee earlier set up to advise the government had suggested the injection of N750 million into the college within the next five years.

But Fayose said he would concentrate on the accreditation of courses in the university, rather than deploying funds to the college of medicine, which took off two years ago.

However, he explained that the international school billed for Afao-Ekiti, his hometown, would require the sum of N1 billion, spread over six years, to attain global standard.

Fayose also denied speculations that his administration would establish a state-owned polytechnic, saying he would rather spend the state's "meagre resources" to strengthen the existing facilities in its tertiary institutions.

PDP sweeps Ekiti LG polls   Back To Top

Daily Independent: Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has won all the chairmanship seats in all the 12 local government areas where polls took place on Saturday in Ekiti State.

Chairman of the State Independent Electoral Commission, Mr David Awolumate, who made this known to newsmen on Tuesday in Ado-Ekiti, said that the PDP had 119 councillors, ahead of the Alliance for emocracy (AD) and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), which had 11 seats and one seat respectively.

He described the election as generally peaceful except at ward 10 Ado-Ekiti and Ijan ward D where voting had to be suspended as a result of ``violence, intimidation and harassment of voters'' by members and supporters of some political parties. He said bye-elections would be conducted in the affected wards ``at the appropriate time''.

The exercise did not take place in four local councils, namely Ikere, Efon, Ikole and Ekiti South-West, as a result of alleged ``insecurity''.

Meanwhile, property worth millions of Naira was destroyed by rain-storm on Saturday evening in Ado-Ekiti. The rain which started at about 4.15 p.m. ravaged the foundations of buildings at Adebayo Estate, Housing Corporation Estate, Bashiri Dalley and Odo-Ado areas of the state capital.

The victims of the rain have appealed on both the federal and state governments for urgent assistance to make life meaningful for them.

Fayose Challenges Journalists on Performance   Back To Top

ThisDay: Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose has challenged journalists and the media in general to bring their investigative skills to bear in monitoring activities of elected officers to ensure quality service delivery.

He made the call in Lagos on Monday night during a cocktail session he held for media executives as part of his government programme to appreciate their contributions to his administration in the course of the out-going year. He assured that the interactive session with journalists would be a continuous one and reiterated his administration’s resolve to turn the state for the general well-being of Ekiti people. The governor whose short speech at the event was punctuated by intermittent applause by his guests, blamed the unsavoury and sustained media bashing of his regime by the opposition on what he called oversight of his government. “I can assure you thatm this will not happen again. We underrated your ability and we have corrected that. We are friends and I want you to feel free to cross-check any information at your disposal.

“We are not asking you to cover us up. All we are asking for is fair hearing and by so doing, we ask that you develop greater skills in checking our activities. Because ours is an open administration and we have nothing to hide." Fayose who was accompanied to the ceremony by his Information Commissioner, Mr. Kayode Otitoju and other aides including the Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, also told his guests that his entry into politics was divinely ordained by God. He added that given his pedigree as a businessman, he would take the state to the next level of development without committing it financially to banks.

“I was a businessman before I got into politics. I never borrowed a kobo from any bank to run my business. In that wise, I will run the state without borrowing from any bank. So far I have not borrowed a Kobo from any bank to service our administration. The governor who quickly pointed out that it was not a crime to borrow to run an administration, however said “we have not borrowed because we lay emphasis on accountability and we don’t go into any project that we cannot accomplish. This has paid off tremendously for us. And we thank God for it.”

Fayose reviews scorecard, pledges good governance   Back To Top

The Guardian: Wednesday, December 29, 2004

EKITI State Governor Ayodele Fayose has restated his resolve to turn the fortunes of the state around for the better.

The governor, at a meeting with media executives in Lagos on Monday night, blamed the unsavoury and sustained poor publicity of his administration on what he called oversight by his government.

He said: "We are not asking you to cover us up. All we are asking for is fair hearing and by so doing, we ask that you develop greater skill in checking our activities because ours is an open administration and we have nothing to hide." Fayose, who was accompanied to the ceremony by his Information Commissioner, Mr. Kayode Otitoju, including the Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, also told his guests that his entry into politics was divinely ordained.

He added that, given his pedigree as a businessman, he would take the state to the next level of development without committing it financially to bank.

"I was a businessman before I got into politics. I never borrowed a kobo from any bank to run my business. In that wise, I will run the state without borrowing from any bank. So far, I have not borrowed a kobo from any bank to service our administration," he said.

The governor, who quickly pointed out that it was not a crime to borrow to run an administration, however said: "We have not borrowed because we lay emphasis on accountability and we don't go into any project that we cannot accomplish. This has paid off tremendously for us. And we thank God for it." He said since he assumed office, his administration had made prompt payment of staff salaries a priority as well bringing to the front burner the issue of empowerment of the rural masses: "Hence the massive support of our government by the average Ekiti man." He cited his administration's poultry project, stadium reconstruction, road rehabilitation and reconstruction in parts of the state, payment of pensions and gratuity, construction of fire station, provision of driers, mass transit buses to the indigenes, amongst others, as some of the areas that his government has impacted on the average Ekiti electorate.

Giving further account of his stewardship, the governor said he met Ekiti with a monthly internally generated revenue (IGR) of N30m and he was glad to report that the IGR has been raised to about N100m.

He attributed the feat to some stringent economic measures and reforms that he introduced and expressed gratitude to his team for their understanding and the people of the state for their co-operation.

Fayose said: "These measures, you know, did not go down well with some people that have been benefiting from the prevailing decadent policies of reckless spending, lack of accountability and insincerity.

"So, they quickly formed a cabal to fight my government with all sorts of lies and games that are not in the books. But at the end of the day, we thank God they failed woefully as the government has finally stabilised."

Ekiti Council of Elders’ factions trade accusation   Back To Top

The PUNCH, Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Akin Oyedele, Ado-Ekiti

The arrowheads of the rival factions of Ekiti Council of Elders on Tuesday traded accusations on the motive behind the formation of the councils and the objective of the meeting held at different venues on Monday by both groups.

A former member of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Chief Deji Fasuan, who led one of the factions, claimed that theirs was formed about three months ago.

A First Republic minister, Chief Joel Babalola, is leading the other group, which said it had been in existence since April 27 this year.

Speaking in a telephone interview with our correspondent, Fasuan denied that his group was being sponsored by the state government to drum support for the second term bid of Governor Ayo Fayose.

He accused the other group of being made up of “people who seem to have a grouse against Ekiti State government.

“I saw them briefly on television and I see them as the people having hatred for this administration,” he said.

The objective of his own group, Fasuan said, was to promote peace, progress and development of the state, adding that a member “must be 55 years and above; a core patriot of any political persuasion; relevant in his environment; and must be 10 feet tall in integrity.”

He accused the Protem Secretary and Chairman Bureau of Publicity of the rival ECE, Chief Idowu Odeyemi, who doubles as its arrowhead, of “writing statements from his bedroom co-opting and connecting people from Kotangora, Bauchi and other places to accord it legitimacy.”

Odeyemi, however, debunked most of the claims by Fasuan, saying the Fasuan group was hurriedy assembled and meetings scheduled to coincide with the programmes of his (Odeyemi’s) group “to undermine and sabotage our efforts.”

He said if not that the other group was out to create confusion, it would have adopted another name other than Ekiti Council of Elders.

Dismissing the allegation that his group was a reactionary movement against the Peoples Democratic Party-led state government, he said minutes and attendance list of their meetings would further attest to the genuineness and credibility of their status as statesmen working for the development of the state.

Court nullifies appointment of monarch   Back To Top

The Punch, Tuesday December 28, 2004

THE appointment of Chief Boward Jaiyeola as the Arajaka of Igbara-Odo, Ekiti State, on November 3, 1995 by the then Ondo State Government has been quashed by the Court of Appeal in Ilorin.

In a lead judgment delivered by Justice John Kongbeh, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent on Monday, the court said the appointment and approval of Jaiyeola could not stand since the recommendation under which it was made was already before the trial court.

“Once there is a dispute between two parties and one of them submits it to the court for settlement, the other is incompetent to take the matter into his own hands for settlement in his own way. This has been firmly established by judicial pronouncements.”

The court also held in a judgment in which two other justices, Mohammed Muntaka-Coomassie and Tijani Abdulahi, concurred that the lower court erred when it held that the cause of action was statute barred.

Two opposing elders' councils emerge in Ekiti over 2007 polls   Back To Top

The Guardian:Tuesday, December 28, 2004

From Ifedayo Sayo, Ado Ekiti

AHEAD of the 2007 governorship elections in Ekiti State, two councils of elders have emerged claiming to represent the interest of the state.

One of the councils, which made its debut yesterday, is led by a former member of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Chief Deji Fasuan and the pro-chancellor of the University of Ado-Ekiti, Chief Akin Omoboriowo, while the second was led by the First Republic Minister, Chief Joseph Babatola.

At its meeting in Ado-Ekiti, the Fasuan-led group, which paraded some Peoples Democratic Party leaders and officials of the state government, including commissioner and chairmen of commissions and boards, expressed their support for the Ayodele Fayose administration.

It claimed that it was not out to pull down the government but to offer constructive advice in the interest of the state.

Expressing happiness with the performance of the Fayose administration, Omoboriowo called on the elite of the state to "stop criticising the state government." At another forum, the Babatola-led council, which had been in existence since April, this year, accused the government of "inaugurating a rival council to serve his selfish interest." This was however denied by the governor who said nobody had the monopoly of leadership.

The Babatola-led council which parades former governor of old Ondo State, Chief Bamidele Olumilua, former deputy governor of the state, Chief Paul Olatunde Alabi, notable party leaders including Chief George Akosile, Chief Ojo Falegan, Chief Adegbamigbe Akinlaya and Chief Idowu Odeyemi and non-politicians.

The group explained that it was not in rivalry with any group but would "continue to protect the interest of the state at all times." Addressing a press conference, Chief Babatola, who claimed to have retired from active politics, said the rival council would soon "go into oblivion because it was formed to serve the interest of one person."

Don flays 1999 Constitution   Back To Top

The Punch, Monday December 27, 2004

Akin Oyedele, Ado-Ekiti

The 1999 Constitution, presently in use in the country, has been classified as one of the laziest constitutional documents in human history.

A political scientist, Prof. Dipo Kolawole, who said this in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Sunday said it was lifted from the unused 1989 constitution.

Advocating the need for the convocation of a national conference to take another look at the 1999 Constitution, he flayed the composition of the committee inaugurated by President Olusegun Obasanjo to work out modalities for a national dialogue.

Kolawole observed that there were “fundamental errors” in the composition, which informed the crisis of confidence it generated immediately it was announced.

Although he commended the President for being “courageous” enough to dabble into the contentious issue, he however, noted that the people were already skeptical about the likely outcome of the committee’s assignment in view of its seeming lopsided membership.

For purpose of legitimacy, he said membership of the committee ought to be broadly based to represent every shade of opinion.

Kolawole, Dean of Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Ado-Ekiti, said the country needed a constitution of unity, unification, equality, fairness and justice where all ethnic nationalities would feel a sense of belonging.

As presently composed, he said Nigeria was a nation of unequal partners and strange bedfellows, where one nationality lords it over others.

Ekiti govt warns fuel dealers to acquire fire fighting equipment   Back To Top

The Guardian: Friday, December 24, 2004

By Gbenga Ariyibi

ADO-EKITI — EKITI State Government is to prosecute any fuel dealer with no functional fire fighting equipment.

The chairman of the State’s Petroleum Product Monitoring Committee (PPMCT), Pastor Kola Oluwawole disclosed this yesterday during a meeting with members of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association, Ekiti State chapter. He however, urged petroleum dealers in the state to equip their stations with functional fire fighting equipment, with a view to guiding against fire out-break.

Pastor Oluwawole noted that the petrol marketers should complement efforts of the state government in its bid to prevent fire disaster, adding that they should stop selling of petrol in jerry cans or containers.

He commended some of the marketers for complying with the directive of the Federal Government on prices of petroleum products and condemned those who adjusted their metre to cheat motorists.

The PPMC chairman assured that the state government would assist the marketers in finding a lasting solution to problems identified in the supply and sale of petroleum products in the state. Earlier, the chairman of the Ekiti State chapter of IPAN, Chief Bode Olayinka stated that the state has always been discriminated against in the allocation of the products, noting that 19 trucks were allocated to the state out of 135 meant for Ondo and Ekiti States in the last two months by the NNPC.

Adebayo did not misappropriate N100m – AD   Back To Top

The Punch, Friday, December 24, 2004

Olaolu Oladipo

The Ekiti State chapter of the Alliance for Democracy has risen in stout defence of the immediate past civilian administration in the state over an allegation that the Adeniyi Adebayo-led government misappropriated N100 million which was earmarked for the construction of a college of medicine at the state-owned university.

Besides, it asked Governor Ayo Fayose to account for statutory allocations to the state from the Federation Accounts in 2004.

According to a statement by the state’s AD Secretary, Mr. Biodun Fasae, and Publicity Secretary, Mr. Remi Osabusa, the party accused the state government of witch-hunting perceived enemies.

It stated, “It is a pity that Fayose does not see government as a continuum. It is a pity that due to his lack and inadequacies, he fall short to see anything good in the administration of his predecessor”

According to the party the saga began when the former governor sought and got a bond of N2.4 billion for the construction of some major roads in the state.

“All these roads were awarded and contractors paid for the job done at the expiration of the administration”, adding that N 137 million being the balance sum was left behind for the completion of the projects,” it said.

It asked the state government to account for N20 billion which it claimed the state government collected from the Federation Accounts in 2004, even as it said the state government would be held accountable for the money received during its tenure.

Appeal to Gov. Fayose   Back To Top

The Punch, Friday, December 24, 2004

On receiving a report from the ad hoc committee on funding of tertiary institutions in Ekiti State, Governor Ayo Fayose said the government would not be able to continue with funding the University of Ado-Ekiti College of Medicine due to lack of finance, since the committee remarked that the state would need N1.4 billion to put the college on a sound footing.

In my view, the project is feasible if the government reorders its priority in favour of sound and long-lasting projects like the college.

The governor recently spent billions of naira in purchasing exotic cars for public officers and building of 20 poultry projects in the state.

Investment in education, particularly the health sector, is more enduring than purchasing cars for public officers.

Hopes of candidates who have already been admitted into the college will be dashed should the government stop financing the institution.

The state government can execute this project in phases, with each phase catered for in each year’s budget until it is completed.

Ekiti has no oil but if we invest in education, which we are noted for, the state will be the better for it in no distant future.

Yetunde Oni,

33, Surulere St.,Poly Rd.,

Ado-Ekiti,Ekiti State.

Five states to spend N483m on pilgrimages, Ekiti not one of them   Back To Top

The Punch, Friday December 24, 2004

Our correspondents

Amidst criticisms of fiscal imprudence, five state governments have voted about N483.2 million to sponsor Christian and Muslim pilgrims.

A constitutional lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, however, described the practice as a violation of Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution.

Investigations in 10 states revealed that state involvement in pilgrim sponsorship is being promoted.

The states covered by PUNCH survey are Ogun, Delta, Abia, Lagos, Edo, Enugu, Kwara, Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti.

Except for Abia State where its Head of Service, Mr. Uchenna Emezue, said that provisions were made for sponsorship in the state’s budget, findings showed that most states indulge in extra-budgetary spending to cater for the pilgrims.

Records indicated that an average of N300,000 is required to sponsor a pilgrim.

Out of the 10 states in review, five had allocated about NN483.2million for pilgrims.

The breakdown of the votes includes Ogun (105); Delta (N120m); Edo (N20m); Abia (N177m) and Kwara (N61.2m).

In Ogun State, the government may spend about N105million this year to sponsor pilgrims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem.

Our correspondents gathered that the government would sponsor no fewer than 350 persons, mostly members of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Each pilgrim will cost the government at least N320,000.

At the State’s Pilgrims’ Welfare Board, Mini Secretariat, Oke-Ilewo, Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, it was revealed that no fewer than 100 persons would be travelling to Jerusalem on the bill of the state government.

Also, the ongoing screening exercise of pilgrims to Mecca would produce at least 250 sponsored pilgrims.

Explaining how the government-sponsored candidates were chosen, a source at the board said they were nominated by commissioners, local government chairmen and members of the state House of Assembly.

The Secretary of the Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, in the state, Mr. Seyi Adebanjo, though did not see anything wrong in government’s involvement in the practice, described the number of beneficiaries as outrageous.

He called for a maximum of 30 beneficiaries.

According to him, such an opportunity should be given to people who have contributed to the development of the state.

Though the state government has paid workers’ salaries till date, the leave bonuses for 2002, 2003 and 2004 are still outstanding.

The figure of beneficiaries in Delta State is no fewer than 400 translating to N120million.

Apart from basic trip expenses such as accommodation and ticket fees that will be borne by the government, intending pilgrims going on the bill of Delta State Government will also get $200 allowance.

The state government sponsored 407 pilgrims in 2003. There were allegations that government officials and politicians had hijacked the process. A panel of enquiry was inaugurated to investigate allegations of fraud at the state’s Pilgrims Welfare Board.

The Commissioner for Special Duties, Mr. Austin Ayemidejor, now supervises the selection. He said that the sponsorship of pilgrims from government resources was not a waste of public funds.

He said the benefits accruing from the prayers and supplications of pilgrims were not quantifiable.

In Edo State, despite the official pronouncement in 2001 that the government would no longer sponsor pilgrims, it is committing about N20 million to the exercise in 2004.

Investigation by our correspondents in Benin revealed that 40 people, comprising 18 Christians and 22 Muslims, and mainly sympathisers of the ruling PDP, are benefiting from the government largesse.

Among the beneficiaries is a Special Assistant in the Government House, Benin (names withheld) who is going to Israel.

Others are drawn from local governments and the House of Assembly.

It was found that the announcement to stop the sponsorship was to reduce pressure from party members.

The Chairman of the Pilgrims Welfare Board, Christian Wing, Pastor Collyns Okonofua, and his Muslim counterpart, Alhaji Abubakar, were unavailable for comments.

In Lagos State, though the figures of beneficiaries till date could not be obtained, it was learnt that between 1999 and 2002, the government sponsored 600 pilgrims to both Mecca and Jerusalem.

The state’s Commissioner for Home Affairs, Mr. Babatunde Balogun, who confirmed this to our correspondents, noted that the state government had since 2002 stopped expending public funds on sponsoring pilgrims.

“The sponsorship of pilgrims was stopped in order to be able to provide developmental services for the general public rather than using the funds on some select few.

“The decision is also to help the government in saving enough to execute its 10-point development agenda,” Balogun said.

Reacting to insinuations that the practice still goes on underground, Balogun noted that those who have continued to enjoy sponsorship by the governments were members of the state’s technical crew.

He gave those on the list as medical personnel, journalists, ulamas who provide guide for the pilgrims, and members of the state’s ad hoc committee on pilgrimage.

In Abia State, 11 of the 17 local governments are jointly sponsoring 91 pilgrims at a combined cost of N27 million.

Though the figure of pilgrims sponsored to Mecca could not be obtained, investigations revealed that the state government would be sponsoring 500 pilgrims to Jerusalem at a cost of about N150 million.

In Oyo State government said that its withdrawal from sponsoring pilgrims was in line with Islamic injunctions.

The Chief Media Officer to the governor, Mr. Adeola Oloko, told our correspondents in Ibadan that past experience had shown that government sponsorship did not actually get to those meant to benefit from the gesture.

Findings from the Ondo State Government showed that none of the pilgrims would be going on the ticket of the government.

Officials of the Muslim Welfare Board and the Christian Welfare Board in Akure stated that it was the policy of the present administration not to sponsor people to holy lands

The state Governor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, had during the inauguration of the boards last year said he would not use the state’s fund to sponsor pilgrims.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Yemi Olowolabi, said the governor had made it clear that religious pilgrimage was a private issue which government would not dabble into.

He said, “Whoever has his money and want to go to Mecca and Jerusalem is free to do so, but not at the expense of the state government.

Ten members of the state House of Assembly, who are Christians are already in Jerusalem on the pilgrimage.

According to the speaker, Mr. Victor Olabimtan, the members are self-sponsored.

In Kwara State, the government is catering for 200 Muslim and 90 Christian pilgrims this year. The local governments are also involved as they are said to be sponsoring a total of 104 pilgrims.

Findings at the boards revealed that government’s candidates were drawn from the three arms of government, religious groups and the ruling PDP.

The government is yet to pay its workers’ salary for April 2003.

Speaking with our correspondent on phone last Tuesday, Falana flayed governments for sponsoring pilgrims to holy lands and criticised the construction of churches and mosques in Government Houses at the states and national levels.

“It smacked of total and absolute illegality for any government to promote any religion under any guise,” he said.

Relying on the provisions of Section 10 of the 1999 Constitution, which described Nigeria as a secular state, he said it was an aberration and act of pure illegality for any state government to sponsor pilgrims to either Mecca or Jerusalem.

Quoting copiously from the constitution, Falana said there should be no discrimination on the basis of religion, nor shall any state promote any religion over the other.

He added, “Those building churches and mosques in Government Houses should direct religious adherents in these places to go to public places of worships to practise their religions.

“The appointment of Chaplains either for the churches or mosques built in Government Houses is equally very wrong. There is no provision in the constitution for the maintenance of these people with public fund.”

Speaking in a similar vein, a former member of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, Chief Deji Fasuan, in another interview said government had no business sponsoring pilgrims to anywhere in view of the secular status of the country.

He pointed out that it was wrong for any government to encourage the practice of one religion over the other by sponsoring people to Holy lands, especially given the reality that majority of the beneficiaries could pay their way through.

Ekiti elders laud Fayose's performance   Back To Top

The Guardian: Monday, December 20th, 2004

EKITI State Council of Elders has commended the developmental efforts of Governor Ayodele Fayose at developing the state.

In a statement issued at the end of its meeting held in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti Council of Elders noted that Fayose's administration in conjunction with local councils have transformed the landscape of the state through provision of infrastructural facilities.

The statement also commended Ekiti people for supporting the incumbent administration in the state and urged them to sustain it.

It expressed happiness about the commendations given the Fayose administration "by the past Military Administrators of the state," and indigenes of Ekiti who served as Administrators in other States, saying they were encouraging statements and advised the governor not to relent in his efforts.

The elders advised opponents and critics of the Fayose administration to be appreciative of good efforts, adding that constructive criticisms should be made only when and where necessary.

The group called on Ekiti indigenes at home and in the diaspora to invest in the development of the state and its people for a better future.

According to the statement, an enlarged Forum, involving stakeholders in public life of Ekiti State is being organised to hold December on 27, 2004.

Acccording to the statement, in attendance at the last meeting were Chiefs Akin Omoboriowo; Deji Fasuan; Dayo Okondo; Titus Ogunlade; Abel Akinwale; Bade Gboyega; Biodun Falayi; Boboye Olanipekun, Ologbo J.A. Oni; Banji Olowofela, Prince Bisi Aladejana; Mr. J. Folorunso Aluko and Princess Mary Ajayi among others.

Fayose Donates Eight Vehicles to Police   Back To Top

ThisDay: Monday, December 20th, 2004

Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun, has reminded all political stakeholders in Nigeria that no meaningful development could be achieved in any nation without adequate attention given to security.

He made this known on Friday December 17, while commissioning eight Peugeot 504 station wagon patrol cars donated to Ekiti State Police Command in Ado-Ekiti.

Responding, the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, said his gesture is a way of demonstrating his approval for Balogun's style of policing, which has ensured stability in the entire polity, and called on all political stakeholders to collaborate with the police in ensuring the sustainability of our hard earned democracy.

The occasion was witnessed by the Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe, Aladesanmi III, Civil and Religious leaders, and other top government functionaries.

Fayose presents scorecard, urges support for police   Back To Top

The Guardian: Thursday, December 23, 2004

From Ifedayo Sayo (Ado-Ekiti) and Alex Olise (Lagos)

GOVERNOR Ayo Fayose yesterday presented the scorecard of his 19-month-old administration to a cross-section of people of Ekiti State.

At a ceremony held at the Conference Hall of the Governor's Office, Fayose showed a documentary on the achievements of his administration and pledged to do more in the years ahead.

The documentary was watched by market women, artisans, commercial vehicle operators, among others.

The achievements included construction of roads in Ado-Ekiti and other parts of the state, rural electrification, payment of salaries and allowances of workers before the end of every month.

Others are rehabilitation of fire service station, rehabilitation works going on at Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, on-going Fayose Housing Estate, as well as building of 71 lock-up shops at Ajilosun area of the state capital.

Fayose explained that the documentary would further ginger the people to corporate with him and refute allegations peddled against his administration.

He maintained that since the people have no other state to call their own, all hands should be on deck to make it a model for others.

He also cautioned his detractors not to play politics with the issue of development, as all indigenes would benefit from the development efforts of the state government.

Fayose described the integrated poultry project as the best thing to happen to the state in recent times, saying that apart from being a revenue generation project, it will also provide direct and indirect employment to over 5,000 indigenes.

Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Tafa Balogun, has reminded all political stakeholders in Nigeria that no meaningful development can be achieved in any nation without adequate attention given to security.

He spoke last weekend while commissioning eight Peugeot 504 station wagon patrol cars donated by Fayose to the Ekiti State Police Command in Ado-Ekiti.

Balogun, therefore, canvassed provision for the police in state government's budgets as everything about governance revolves around general security of lives and property.

Responding, Fayose explained that his gesture was to demonstrate his approval for the IGP whose style of policing, he said, has ensured stability in the entire polity.

The governor enjoined all political stakeholders to collaborate with the police in ensuring the survival of democracy.

Balogun also commissioned the Ekiti State Command Headquarters office complex initiated and completed by his administration and a police post built by the community in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.

He lauded the people and Fayose's government for the relative peace and low crime level recorded in the state.

He also praised the people for their support for the police, which according to him, is the direct result of the relative calm in the state.

Consequently, this has made the state conducive for the introduction of the new community policing initiative, which emphasises proactive methods as against the initial detective and investigative policing approach.

Presenting the key of a police post built by the community to the IGP at his palace with his council of chiefs, the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe, Aladesanmi III, extolled Balogun's virtues.

According to him, the nation is blessed with a knowledgeable man like Balogun as the IGP, who has brought his high intellectual and managerial skills into policing Nigeria. The gains are evident in the areas of reduction of crime, elimination of trans-border criminality and the stabilisation of socio-political milieu in Nigeria, he added.

Oba Adejugbe implored other traditional rulers, communities, groups and individuals to emulate his gesture and give practical support to the police, adding that the job of policing deserves collaborative efforts of all to succeed.

‘Rescue Ekiti from collapse’   Back To Top

The Punch, Thursday, December 23, 2004

Akin Oyedele, Ado-Ekiti

Ekiti Council of Elders, a non-partisan group of prominent indigenes of the state, has appealed to the founding fathers of the state to rescue it from the brink of collapse.

A statement by the council’s Protem Secretary/Chairman Bureau of Publicity, Chief Idowu Odeyemi, on Wednesday decried the current state of affairs in the state.

The secretary noted the past struggles of the influential citizens of the state at local and national level, which it said culminated in the creation of the state eight years ago.

During the period, he said there was an effective elders’ forum, which collaborated with the traditional rulers before the state was carved out of the old Ondo State.

However, immediately after the state was created, “the elders seemingly went to sleep in the innocent belief that others would take over from there and get the jobs done.”

Odeyemi maintained that the unfolding events proved contrary, as there was now a big vacuum, which the youth had not been able to fill.

With the benefit of the hindsight, he noted that it had become apparent that the elders “erred to have left the administration of the young state in the hands of youths without proper guidance.”

After such a “very bitter struggle” for the creation of the state, he said the elders ought to have soldiered on and lay a solid foundation before throwing down the gauntlet for the younger generation.

Odeyemi added, “Today, the negative result of that error is there for everyone to see. Certainly, the Ekiti State of today could not have been the dream the elders fought for and envisaged.”

Odeyemi stated that the reality of the “unpleasant situation” prompted some elders to revive the idea of another elders forum to enable the senior citizens to offer objective guidance, advice and ideas to any ruling government.

Two brothers convicted of murder   Back To Top

The Punch: Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Akin Oyedele,Ado-Ekiti

Two brothers, Julius Abirifon and Olabode Abirifon have been convicted convicted of murder by an Ado-Ekiti High Court on Tuesday and are to die by hanging.

Julius, 34 and Olabode, 42, have been standing trial, together with their deceased brother Sunday, and father, Matthew, since 1997 for the murder of one Peter John, an indigene of Taraba State.

The accused were found guilty of killing John, a labourer engaged by their father to work on his farm, in October 1997 at Igbo-Ero farm in Igbara-Odo on the prompting of their father.

Their father, Matthew, said to be indebted to John to the tune of N30,000 was said not to be favourably disposed to settling the amount, which was the retainership for his previous year’s labour on his farm.

He was said to have hatched the plan to eliminate the deceased to achieve this goal, using his children as the executors of the heinous crime.

On October 29, 1997, the unsuspecting John was said to have departed for the farm to harvest his master’s cocoa beans, quite oblivious that the man and his children were trailing him.

Getting to the farm, Matthew was said to have instructed his children to silence the deceased who had already settled down to business, having put behind the earlier heated argument he had with his master over the indebtedness.

The convicted men were said to have, after shooting the deceased with a dane gun, dealt several “deadly machete cuts” on his neck, leg and arm and left him to bleed to death.

Luck, however, ran out on them when a kinsman to the deceased, Joseph Kiepuwe, contacted the police three days after searching in vain for John, leading to the arrest of the Abirifons.

In his statement to the police, Kiepuwe stated that Matthew had earlier denied knowing John or that he worked for him, fueling his suspicious that something sinister might have happened to him.

The police team was said to have traced the deceased to Matthew’s farm, where the corpse was discovered, prompting his arrest.

Pronouncing her judgment, the trial judge, Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, held that the accused were aware of the probable consequence of using “leather weapons such as gun and machete on a person.”

The judge noted that having been satisfied with the genuineness and veracity of the confessional statement made by both accused during the preliminary investigation, the attempt by one of them to recant, on a plea of alibi on the day the incident happened, was a mere after thought.

Ekiti denies fraud in poultry scheme   Back To Top

The Guardian: Tuesday, December 21, 2004

From Ifedayo Sayo, Ado-Ekiti

EKITI State government has denied any fraud in its integrated poultry programme as alleged by the state chapter of the Alliance for Democracy (AD).

Special Assistant to the Governor on Information, Mr. Kola Ajumobi, said contrary to the allegation of the AD that the chicks deposited at the Ado-Ekiti and Ikere centres of the poultry project have been carted away, the state government has indeed sold them to a Lagos-based firm.

He explained that the chicks belonged to the hybrid that takes only 40 days to be suitable for consumption, adding that the products of the state government poultry project are high in demand.

Ajumobi said the poultry project has come to stay and would be one of the best in the country apart from being a major source of internally-generated revenue to the state government.

He also denied the allegation that the state government was abandoning road projects inherited from the last administration, saying any visitor to the sites of the projects would attest to the fact that many of them are nearing completion.

Describing the allegation as wild, Ajumobi said the state governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, believes that governance is a continuum and that any project that touches the lives of the people must be continued for the betterment of the society.

He said it is not true that the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) forced the state government to continue with the projects, maintaining that road construction tops the list of priorities of the state government.

The special assistant also debunked insinuation that the state government is spending fortunes on cars at the expense of development projects, saying the cars bought were meant to boost morale of the state government's officials and to ensure increased productivity.

Ajumobi said the cars were bought as part of the implementation of the monetisation programme of the state government and not a donation to the beneficiaries.

According to him, the state government is more than ever before committed to the upliftment of the state.

Attack on political office holders, buildings worries speaker   Back To Top

The Punch, Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Akin Oyedele, Ado-Ekiti

Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Chief Friday Aderemi, on Monday expressed concern over the spate of gangsterism and violent attacks on public buildings and prominent politicians in the country.

Speaking in an interview with our correspondent, the speaker said the manner at which violence and political disturbances were gradually creeping into the polity was becoming worrisome.

Aderemi, who spoke against the backdrop of Saturday’s ambush of the convoy of Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, by militant youths called for a decisive action against the suspects, if found culpable.

He lamented that the youth were getting emboldened daily by engaging the state security outfits in open confrontation, some of which he said were sponsored by older people for myopic reasons.

The speaker called for prayers for the country, noting that arms build-up in the Niger Delta was a major threat to the security and peace of the country.

He attributed the act of gangsterism pervading the country to the involvement of youths in cultism while in tertiary institutions.

the gun-wielding gangsters of today had no respect for the law enforcement agents providing covers for them.

At the last count, he said Governors Chris Ngige of Anambra State, Bola Tinubu of Lagos State and Gbenga Daniels of Ogun had at different time fallen victim to ambush by militant youths.

The speaker decried the attendant loss of lives of innocent people and wanton destruction of property noting that the estimated N1 billion damage to public buildings and property in the Anambra crisis alone had caused the state, and the country by extension, a setback.

Ekiti CPS commends boss   Back To Top

Nigerian Tribune: Monday, December 20th, 2004

EKITI State is for the first time having a governor who understands the problems of its people, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, has said.

Mr. Adelusi, in a press statement, in reaction to a Lagos-based magazine’s publication on the state governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, noted that contrary to all what the magazine published, the people of the state had never had it so good before the present administration.

He described all the reports against Fayose as blatant lies, alleging that hte magazine was working for people who have political ambition in 2007.

The CPS said no matter the attack on the governor “Fayose is administration has come to stay.”

He, therefore, said “everybody is free to come to Ekiti State and see physically for themselves what we have done to make life meanngful to the people,” while advising the people to disregard and ignore any publication aimed at tarnishing the image of the governor.

He also enjoined the press to play its role as an unbiased watchdog of the society and government.

Fayose pledges good governance, opens Governor's Lodge in Ondo   Back To Top

The Guardian: Monday, December 20th, 2004

FOLLOWING a peaceful assets-sharing process, the Ekiti State Governor's Lodge was at the weekend commissioned in Akure, Ondo State.

At the ceremony, the Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, gave assurance that his administration would complete its Liaison Office in the Ondo State capital within the next one year.

Fayose thanked God for making his dreams for Ekiti State a reality, noting that his government had made possible what some people had thought was impossible.

The governor remarked that his reforms had translated to dividends, which were being enjoyed by the people, adding that his government would continue to improve the standard of living of the people.

The governor commended the magnanimity of his Ondo State counterpart, Dr.Olusegun Agagu, who he described as a good brother for releasing the building to Ekiti State from the joint assets shared recently.

In his remarks, the Deputy of Governor of Ondo State, Omolade Oluwateru, who represented Agagu at the event, commended the doggedness, dedication and determination of Fayose which he said had been made manifest in the transformation of the Ekiti Governor's Lodge from its old structure to the new outlook.

Oluwateru described Fayose as a dynamic governor, an achiever and reformer with sophisticated taste for excellence.

Ealier, the Ekiti State Head of Service, Olusegun Bankole, who traced the history of the joint asset sharing, noted that the exercise appeared unachievable until Governors Fayose and Agagu eventually accomplished the task.

Bankole thanked God that the people of the two states were now friendlier and expressed optimism that the completion of the Governor's Lodge in Akure would further consolidate the mutual relationship between the two states. The occasion was attended by the Speaker, members of the House of Assembly and of the state executive council, permanent secretaries, senior government officials, party officials, including the state PDP chairman, Mr. Ropo Adesanya.

Ado-Ekiti monarch confers title on Tafa Balogun   Back To Top

The Guardian: Monday, December 20th, 2004

From Ifedayo Sayo, Ado-Ekiti

HONOUR came at the weekend for the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, as he was conferred with the chieftaincy title of Agbomola of Ado-Ekiti by the community monarch, Oba Rufus Adejugbe.

The title is in appreciation of the role Balogun played in restoring peace to the town following the alleged bid to assassinate the chairman of Ado-Ekiti Local Government, Mr. Taye Fasubaa in September this year.

Balogun, who was in the state to commission the headquarters of the state command, was ushered into the palace of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti by drummers and market women who sang his praises for saving the town from calamities that could have befallen it if Fasubaa had been killed.

Acknowledging Balogun's good deeds, Adejugbe said the nation was lucky to have him as the head of the police, saying he has brought respect and honour to the organisation since he assumed office.

He said the people of the state would continue to appreciate him for the good work he has been doing in the country and wished him more success in his career.

The police chief who was overwhelmed by the people's demonstration of love towards him, urged them to continue to maintain peace and co-operate with law enforcement agents to rid the society of crime.

During a courtesy call on the state governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose, he said the issue of crime control should not be left in the hands of law enforcement agents alone, saying it should be a collaborative effort between the public and law enforcement agents.

He praised the people of the state for being one of the most peaceful states in the country and urged them to continue to maintain their enviable position.

Fayose called on the police chief to institute an award for the most peaceful state in the country as a way of promoting peace.

He added that his administration has been doing its best to cooperate with the police in the area in crime prevention.

AD wants Ekiti to fund college of medicine   Back To Top

The Guardian: Monday, December 20th, 2004

Ifedayo Sayo, Ado-Ekiti

THE Alliance for Democracy (AD) has called on Ekiti State government to re-consider its stand on the cancellation of the University of Ado-Ekiti College of Medicine.

In a statement at the weekend, the party said it was unthinkable that the governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose, would declare that the state was rich and at the same time complained of inadequate funds for the college of medicine.

The party's secretary, Chief Biodun Akin Fadare, said the people were watching developments in the state, adding that they might find it difficult to understand a government that spends so much on cars but fails to fund developmental projects that touch the lives of the people.

Fayose had said the state was not buoyant to continue with the college of medicine but would rather concentrate its resources on strengthening the existing facilities in the state-owned tertiary institutions including the accreditation of their courses.

He said the N100 million proposed for the college of medicine in the state revenue bond account could not be traced, adding that the former civilian administration should explain the whereabouts of the money.

But the AD said the governor was economical with the truth, pointing out that the Fayose administration inherited N137 million in the revenue bond account out of which N100 million was meant for the college of medicine.

It added that the governor should have released the N100 million to the college if he was interested in it in the first place rather than playing politics with it.

It warned the governor against blackmailing the immediate past civilian administration to curry the favour of the people, maintaining that the people could no longer be deceived.

It also accused Fayose of abandoning road projects executed with the revenue bond even after collecting the balance of the money, saying but for the insistence of the Security and Exchange Commission, the money would have been diverted.

It listed some of the roads as Okole-Ijasa-Isu-Iluomoba; Ikere-Igbara-Odo; Ikere-Ire-Emure; Aramoko Erijiyan- Ikogosi; and Igbara-Odo-Ikole.

It also raised alarm over the disappearance of chicks from the various centres of the N1.4 billion integrated military programme of the state government, pointing out that Fayose's administration should explain what happened to the chicks because they were not ripe for consumption yet.

But the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, said the chicks had been sold out, adding that there was a high demand for them.

But the AD said it was not true that they had been sold, maintaining that nobody would buy the chicks for consumption as claimed by Adelusi.

Alleging fraud in the whole programme, the party said the state government should explain to the people what happened to the 60,000 chicks deposited at Ado-Ekiti and Ikere centres but were carted away a month after.

Fayose advocates Police awards for peaceful states   Back To Top

Daily Independent: Monday, December 20th, 2004

By David Atalese ,Special Correspondent, Ado-Ekiti

The Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has suggested that the Nigeria Police should put in place measures to determine the most peaceful state in the country for the purpose of giving such state a befitting award.

He said while receiving the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun in his office in Ado-Ekiti at the weekend, that a such gesture would prompt each state government to ensure that peace reigns in their respective states.

He told the Inspector General that what Nigerians needed most was peaceful co-existence among themselves and praised him for the efforts he has been making to ensure that there was peace in the country.

Fayose noted that although there was no way the police could satisfy every body, it has maintained its integrity.

He urged state governments across the country to cooperate with the Police authorities in their respective states "because if we treat police well, they will perform much more better that we expected."

Fayose, further called on the stake holders of security to assist the federal government to fund the police to enable them to do much better for the country.

Ondo, Ekiti settle assets sharing problem   Back To Top

The Punch, Monday, December 20, 2004

Yinka Oladoyinbo, Akure

The eight-year-old feud over the sharing of assets and liabilities between Ondo and Ekiti States appears to have been resolved with the inauguration of the Ekiti State Governor’s lodge in Akure.

Inaugurating the Governor’s lodge on Saturday, the Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose, said the building was one of the dividends of the resolution of the crisis.

He explained that the building was one of those allocated to the state government, while N15 million was used to put it in a perfect condition

According to him, the two states were able to settle the asset sharing amicably not because the two governors belong to the same party but because of the commitment of officials of the two states .

He particularly commended the high level of understanding, maturity and exposure displayed by the Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, when the sharing formular was being fine-tuned by Assets Sharing Committee.

Fayose added that with the resolution of the crisis, his administration would soon establish a liason office in Akure

Speaking on the road projects embarked upon by the state government, the governor said government had earmarked N1.6 billion for the dualisation of major roads within the state capital.

The dualisation, according to him when completed, apart from reducing the traffic jams which have become a regular occurrence, would also beautify the state capital.

Fayose also stated that his administration would dualise all the major road in some towns and cities as well as construct roads and bridges in all major towns in the state so as to give room for free access roads.

He said the first phase of the roads dualisation within Ado-Ekiti metropolis would be completed early next year while the contractions of other roads would begin one after the other.

Fayose warns appointment lobbyists   Back To Top

Sunday Punch, December 19, 2004

Akin Oyedele

Ekiti State Governor, Mr.Ayo Fayose, has warned those lobbying for appointments to desist from doing so or incur his wrath, even as he said merit remained his criterium for appointing people into office. The governor gave the warning during a meeting with the representatives of Ire-Ekiti community, held at Ado-Ekiti. Fayose said anybody sure of his capabilities would never look for short cuts.

He also expressed displeasure at the attitude of those inundating him with requests for allocations from the 400-unit Ajilosun shopping complex, nearing complexion, saying he did not believe in lip service. He declared that the beneficiaries would be chosen through competitive bidding, after those displaced from the Okesha market and other areas would have been taken care of. The governor said, “If every juicy thing in the state were appropriated by the people close to the governor, then the ordinary citizens that trooped out in the sun to vote us into the office will never get anything.”

He said he re-appointed Chief Kunle Olasope, an Alliance for Democracy stalwart, as the Chairman of the state Broadcasting Service, because of his track records, despite oppositions from members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party.

On the demands placed before the governor by the representatives of Ire community, in Oye Local Government Area, he urged them to “let us balance our expectations with the available resources.”

Among the delegation, led by the Regent, Oba Adegolarin Afolabi, were the spokesperson, Chief Abiola Ayinmoche, a former PDP senatorial candidate in Ekiti North and the Deputy Majority Leader of the House of Assembly, Mr. Akinyele Olatunji. Fayose, however promised to sink a motorized borehole as a temporary solution to the acute water shortage being experienced in the town, adding that the Ministry of Water Resources would work out a permanent solution.

On their demand for the upgrading of their ruler to a first class grade, the governor said he had resolved not to dabble into chieftaincy affairs because of the inherent problems. Although he did not foreclose the possibility of having a look at the demand, he noted that the governor coming after his tenure might have the boldness to do it.

He said plans were underway to resuscitate the moribund Ire Burnt Brick.

Industry, the bye-product of which would be used in the construction of schools, hospitals and farm settlements across the state. Fayose disclosed that the government would commit close to N100 million on the construction of Ire-Afao road, which would be fully asphalted, adding that road construction top the agenda of his government.

Fayose Warns Troublemakers   Back To Top

ThisDay: Friday, December 17, 2004

From Dipo Okunmuyide in Ado-Ekiti

Following moves by some councillors who are now at loggerhead with their chairmen over agitation for payment of allowances, Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose, has warned politicians against fomenting trouble.

Speaking at a meeting of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oye-Ekiti, Fayose said any political office holder found to be fomenting crisis would be suspended or expelled from the party.

He expressed disappointment for poor attendance at the meeting and charged local government chairmen to step up mobilisation for such political gatherings, saying it is mandatory for political functionaries to serve the interest of the party.

The governor reiterated the commitment of his administration to provide social infrastructure that would make life more bearable for the people, saying 12 major roads have been earmarked for reconstruction in year 2005, while efforts are being made to ensure the completion of on-going road projects, including the dualisation of major roads in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.

He said his government is making efforts to boost electricity supply by increasing output from four megawatts to 13 megawatts, promising that power supply will improve in year 2005.

Earlier, State PDP Chairman, Mr Ropo Adesanya, described the agitation for zoning of certain political offices in year 2007 as an attempt to run foul of the constitution, guidelines, rules and regulations of the party.

According to Adesanya, if zoning would take place at all, it would be the decision of the party and not a few individuals.

Fayose Donates 26 Cars to Lawmakers   Back To Top

ThisDay: Friday, December 17, 2004

From Dipo Okunmuyide in Ado-Ekiti,

Ekiti State Government has purchased 26 brand new Honda Civic cars for members of the state House of Assembly in continuation of its monetisation programme covering political office holders and top civil servants in the state.

Governor Ayo Fayose told journalists at the arrival of the vehicles in Ado-Ekiti that they were purchased for the lawmakers to make them comfortable in the discharge of their duties.

According to him, it is imperative for government to provide official cars for the legislators and other public servants. He said his government would continue to strive to create a conducive and enabling environment for all and sundry to get the best out of them.

He explained that each of the vehicles costs about N3 million, saying tax element and other costs have been waived to enable owners maintain them conveniently.

The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Honourable friday Aderemi, in a chat with journalists, thanked the government for the gesture and hoped that presentation would go a long way in enhance the discharge of legislative duties.

He explained that the cars were not gifts or bribe to silence the lawmakers, saying N75,000 would be deducted monthly from lawmakers salaries as the cars were monetised.

‘Xmas gift’: CJ frees 13 accused persons   Back To Top

The Punch, Friday, December 17, 2004

Akin Oyedele, Ado-Ekiti

A police officer, Mr. James Akinrinade, remanded in Ado-Ekiti prison custody since 2002 on murder charge, was among the 13 persons set free by the Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, on Wednesday

Other detainees who regained their freedom included a couple, Mr. Ayodeji Jimoh, and his wife, Funmilayo, standing trial for the alleged ritual murder of a nine-year-old boy, Sunday Oluwanisola, at Oke-Ila area of Ado-Ekiti on October 5.

Freedom came the way of the 13 suspects when the chief judge visited the Federal Prisons in Ado-Ekiti to review the cases of awaiting trial suspects.

One hundred and fifty-eight suspects held in connection with armed robbery topped the list of the 264 awaiting trial inmates languishing in detention pending the determination of their cases in various courts in the state.

Omoleye admonished the freed suspects to be of good behaviour and shun criminal activities, saying any of them caught for the same offence would face the music.

Earlier during the proceedings that led to the freedom of the accused persons, Omoleye had criticised the Director of Public Prosecution in the state over the high number of awaiting trial inmates.

A lawyer who addressed a colleague as “a liar” was also berated for using a foul language on a professional colleague over mere arguments on procedural anomalies.

The chief judge said, “I’m disappointed at your action. Why are you so aggressive over a matter like this, I hope you will not take this type of attitude to your wife at home. I wonder the type of lawyers being trained nowadays.”

While being conducted round the prison premises, the Omoleye expressed concern” over the dilapidated condition of the structures, some of which she said could collapse under the pressure of a heavy wind.

She passed the same comment when she got to the kitchen, which was being patched at the period by the inmates, calling for general rehabilitation of the complex/

She however applauded the condition of the prison clinic, noting that it was wearing a better look with improved facilities.

Omoleye told newsmen in an interview that the visit was a routine one meant to appraise dispensation of justice and the living condition of inmates, whose welfare she said should not be neglected.

Fayose: An appraisal   Back To Top

The Guardian: Wednesday, December 15, 2004

By Abraham Ogbodo

MR Ayo Fayose must have learnt some useful lessons since assuming office as the second civilian governor of Ekiti State on may 29, 2003. He must have learnt for instance, the wide difference between a governorship candidate and a governor.

In both situations, the visions are different. In the former, the subject is fired by an uncontrollable passion to prove his own inevitability in an array of ruthless players. This time, the politician often runs the temptation of overstating his own capabilities. He makes outlandish proclamations. Honour at that point is not part of the critical considerations. Any statement or action that pushes him closer to victory is freely issued or executed without a second thought.

It is therefore difficult to establish fool-proof the character of the aspiring public office holder in Nigeria by just an assessment of his pre-office statements and deeds. That a politician talks and acts nice before the polls is not necessarily an insight into his character. Rather, what is even more important are statements and actions after victory at the polls.

The Nigerian politician also exhibits a shallow understanding of the real task ahead of him. His perception is linear, lacking in essential dimensions. It is therefore very usual for a man to mount the podium and proclaim: "When I am voted governor, I will ensure better life for all the ordinary people of my state". He deliberately refuses to appreciate the complexities in party politics in Nigeria. He pretends to forget that in the Nigerian electoral processes, the mass of the people mean little or nothing. Instead, the critical factor has always been that tiny wealthy clique which dictates both the tune and the pace at all times. I mean the kind of clique that is making life unbearable for the executive governor of Anambra State Dr. Chris Ngige. The story was that the Governor attempted to enforce some of his campaign promises at the expense of the clique.

Back to Ekiti. It is no longer news that Mr. Ayo Fayose is the next most troubled governor in Nigeria after Joshua Dariye and Chris Ngige of Plateau and Anambra States. Even as an aspirant, Fayose seemed to have had a video of what he would do with power if he ever got it. He had sneaked largely unnoticed into the Ekiti power stage. Nobody considered him for a star role because he did not look like a serious contender. He did not posses the pre-requisites. He was not an old man. Besides, nobody knew his father as an Action Group man or a disciple of Pa Awo. The question that was asked was: "who is this man? Whose son is he? He was nobody; an unknown quantity in the elder's game.

He was also not parading degrees. On the surface therefore, Ayo Fayose had looked like a Shakespearean jester who was only needed to treat the Ekiti audience to a comic interlude while the main characters got themselves prepared in the wings to storm the centre stage. The jester stole the show. He held the audience spell-bound and even when the prompter asked that he should leave the stage, the ovation kept rising higher.

Because he came from no clear background, Fayose had to do more battles than necessary to win every little space. Though reputed to have built the Ekiti PDP from scratch after the abysmal showing of the party in the 1998 elections, he fought hard to win the party's ticket for the April 2003 governorship elections. Perhaps, his strength was in knowing early enough that he was moving against an established order and he needed long planning to create any offset. Long before the PDP primaries, he had begun his populist sermons. His star programme was water distribution to the residents of Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.

He intensified efforts in this direction when the battle lines in Ekiti State became drawn between the PDP and the AD. While he preached what he could do if voted governor, his opponents including certain elements in the PDP preached his unsuitability as Governor of a State that prides itself as the "Fountain of Knowledge" Fayose was derided as uncouth, uneducated and unfit both in knowledge and character to govern Ekiti State which reportedly has more professors than the rest of the Southwest combined.

They missed the point. They failed to appreciate the point that beyond the loud claims to scholarship, Ekiti State is still largely a collection of rural communities which understand practical language better than the esoteric postulations of intellectuals. Fayose managed to speak the language that the people understood and at the turning point, the people turned in his direction.

Unlike most governors, Fayose's troubles did not end with his victory at the polls. In fact, the post victory headaches had proved even more difficult to cure. The ranks of his enemies expanded to include two of his siblings " Otunba and Bimpe. They accused the governor of being highhanded even to family members and that was enough to precipitate a dirty family fight in the full glare of the Nigerian media.

Now Fayose is faced with multiple dilemma. He is trying to straighten out paths with the elders in Ekiti politics who feel injured by his sudden ascendancy. He has to also convince Otunba and Bimpe that governorship will come and pass while the Fayose blood brotherhood will remain constant. But his greatest dilemma perhaps is in reconciling his pre-election dreams with the post-election realities on ground. Even if he is willing to play a good guy and live by his word, he has to first invent a workable environment which will include persuading the people to yield to the gale of change which he purports to represent. He grew up the hard way and appears to understand the place of roadside tactics in the governance of a rural setting.

And so, to him it is normal life to stop his convoy, move into a roadside buka and settle down to a bowl of Iyan served with efo. Also, if there is some fire outbreak in some corner in Ado, the governor may likely abort all official duties and run with bare foot to the scene to join ordinary folks of Ekiti to battle the fire.

In effect, he does not miss any opportunity to prove his ordinariness to the people. When a pupil fell off a bike and broke a hand, he stopped his convoy to offer help. The act paid off. One resident of Ekiti proclaimed from the background: "o da mi loju pe eniyan daadia ni e" (I am convinced you are a good man). It is clear that the governor is doing everything to cultivate the ordinary people since the high people in Ekiti refused to be cultivated.

There is a characteristic urgency in his tone. He seems to be in a hurry to make an impression. Remember ever before the start of the governorship race, he was written off as a failure. His task therefore has become doubly enormous. First, to prove his critics wrong and then stamp a Fayose legacy on the state. His motivation actually is to permanently reverse the order so that after him the credentials for leadership selection in Ekiti State shall be less fastidious.

Everything about his personality had been cast in doubt by his opponent. The fact that he read at Ibadan Poly and holds a Higher National Diploma in Laboratory technology was contested. He was not even granted benefit of his names as some quarters posited that he had changed his name somewhere along the line to cover-up some wrong doing.

Having weathered the storm considerably, he now raises both hands in victory. The distractions have thinned down leaving the governor with one main obsession. To prove a point that his governorship may very well turn out the best thing that has happened to Ekiti State since its creation eight years ago.

In fact, the Governor may start talking about 2007 and a second tenure much later. For now, he appears pre-occupied with the task of making a name. He says President Obasanjo is visiting Ekiti in February 2005 and he is doing so many things so that "Baba will leave with a lasting impression". He goes on: "They say the state does not have money. It is a lie o! I have bought brand new coastal and smaller buses, Honda Accord cars and as I speak, Ekiti State is not owing any bank. I construct roads, build housing estates, markets, reconstruct the township stadium. And then look at my poultry scheme. Each of the 20 centres across the state when fully operational shall produce 30 thousand birds every 48 days." All his claims are verifiable. In fact he is the first to throw the challenge: " Go around and confirm things yourself." Like Okonkwo in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, Fayose is haunted by the fear of being adjudged a failure. He does not want to confirm the impression that the old men had of him and this alone is keeping him on the right track. The ultimate beneficiaries of the psychological war between Fayose and the old men are the ordinary people of Ekiti. Perhaps this is one case where the grass and ground around do not suffer in the clash of two elephants.

Ogbodo is on the staff of The Guardian

'Allow Me to Turn Ekiti into Paradise'   Back To Top

ThisDay: Wednesday, December 15, 2004

By Deji Akinbode

Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has begged his critics to allow him to keep his current level of performance going in order to turn the state into paradise, alleging that some of his critics were out to thwart his vision for the state.

Constructive criticisms, he said, could help him achieve a lot, but "when some people allow politics to becloud their sense of judgment seeing nothing good in what I am doing, engaging in a relentless media war to distract government. I think is not good enough for the development of Ekiti State."

Speaking at a meeting with Ekiti indigenes resident in Oyo State, Fayose who charged the indigenes to persuade his critics to allow him a breathing space observed that the state could only be developed if all the indigenes rally round the government and discourage bitterness, rancour and "pull him down syndrome."

"Many of these people causing trouble in the state are from Ekiti, they are not from Oyo, Ondo or any part of the country, they are the ones orchestrating media war, all in an attempt to distract me and slow down the development of the state, lease, beg them to stop it," he said.

Basking in the euphoria of his achievements in the areas of infrastructure, education agriculture, and social amenities, the governor whose speech was intermittently punctuated by applause from the elated audience boasted that he had never borrowed from any bank to develop the state.

"I am not saying borrowing is bad if necessary, but I am telling you that I have been able to manage and harness our resources to cater for our needs and from my experience. Ekiti is not as poor as people were made to believe," he stressed.

According to him "when I assumed office, I inherited 52 cooks in government house, I got monthly bill of N2.1 million on telephone, I had to re-distribute the cooks, today, I get only N700,000 on telephone as a result of reform, but when you are doing this reform, you are like the enemy of people."

Governor Fayose further said, "I promised to make the difference, in Ekiti today, a lot of sectors have received government attention that when you visit the state, you will not believe your eyes as opposed to what you read in the papers.

Governor Fayose who was advised to concentrate his energy only on the state roads retorted 'people in the village do not know the difference between the federal, state or local government roads, I rehabilitate all because only a bad governor would give an excuse of federal road.'

His words: "I have not received a dime over all the federal roads I rehabilitated, and that will not discourage me because my vision for the state is to transform it, later, the Federal Government will pay me.

The meeting which attracted prominent sons and daughters of Ekiti resident in Oyo State was a follow-up to the several others with a view to getting inputs into the Fayose's administration policy thrust.

Various speakers at the occasion commended the governor for his dynamism and hardwork, urging him not to be discouraged by the scathing criticisms saying criticism is easier than craftsmanship.

Progressives may regroup for 2007 polls   Back To Top

The Guardian: Wednesday, December 15, 2004

From Idowu Ajanaku (Lagos) and Ifedayo Sayo, Ado-Ekiti

STRONG indications emerged yesterday that following the crack in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), progressive politicians in the country may have begun moves to form a broad based political party for 2007 polls.

President Olusegun Obasanjo and the PDP National Chairman Chief Audu Ogbeh are currently trading words over the Anambra State crisis.

The Guardian learnt that politicians who share the same political ideology especially during the days of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) have put machinery in motion in case the on-going crisis disintegrates the PDP.

Indeed, many political analysts had predicted the possible disintegration of the PDP against the background of many forces jostling for positions within the party.

Already, politicians like Alhaji Olatunji Hamzat, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, Chief Ayo Fasanmi, Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu it was learnt have started consultations with all the progressive politicians on the need for the formation of broad based political party in order to wrestle power from the PDP in 2007.

Although it was learnt that such political re-alignment was in the offing as politicians who claim to belong to the progressive bloc plan to meet and re-group in the first quarter of next year. But the feud within the leadership of the PDP, however, quickens the resolve of the politicians to re-group.

When contacted yesterday, one of the brains behind the consultations, who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Guardian that the progressives had foreseen the problem within the PDP and have since put machinery in motion.

His words: "We know that the PDP will fall apart before 2007. We know that our members who are progressives but found themselves in the PDP will come back. So the process is on. Even if they force Audu Ogbeh out, it is good for us", he said.

Meanwhile, former Commissioner for Finance in Ekiti State, Mr. Bayo Aina, has said that the PDP has lost moral grounds to continue to direct the affairs of the nation.

Reacting to the letter written by Obasanjo to ogbeh, he said it was disappointing that the President has confirmed the generally accepted belief that the PDP rigged itself into power in the last polls.

Besides, the letter of the PDP national chairman is a confirmation that the PDP has failed the nation in the management of the economy, saying Nigerians do not need any soothsayer to tell them that the rushed economic reforms may not achieve any desired results.

He explained that if the President could agree that the PDP was rigged into power in the governorship election in Anambra State, it goes to show that the votes cast for the party in the presidential election was equally rigged in favour of the President.

He said the content of the letters has equally confirmed that the victory of the party in the South West was equally a fluke.

He warned that the PDP should rather bury its head in shame for the evil the party perpetrated in the last general election saying the party could not longer be trusted to direct the affairs of the nation.

Ekiti is not poor –Fayose   Back To Top

The Punch, Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Emmanuel Obe and Akin Oyedele

Contrary to the impression that Ekiti State is one of the poorest states in the country, the state is not poor at all.

The Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, said this on Monday night in Ibadan at an interactive session with citizens of Ekiti State residing in the city.

According to him, the impression that had all along been given for the poor state of development in the state, was that Ekiti State was poor.

He said with an array of skilled and qualified manpower in the state, there was no reason why the state should continue to be seen as a poor state.

Resources and wealth, he explained, lay in the human elements and not the material things which could disappear.

The governor said the civil service he met was one that was demoralised with several months of salary arrears.

He said in some local governments, workers were owed for as long as 13 months, but today, he had cleared all the backlog of salaries.

“I want people to tell me, ‘Fayose, you are telling lies.’ We pay our workers now on the 20th of the month,” he said.

The governor said he began work by checking the waste that he saw in Government House, where the monthly telephone bill had hit N2.1 million in a month.

After he stepped in with his reforms, the bill dropped to about N700,000.

Alarmed by the 52 cooks and stewards that worked in Government House to feed the small family of the governor, Fayose said he reduced the number to 20, since he had not more than five members of his family at the Government House.

Fayose said though he might not be a professor, what was important was that he was in a position to do things that were required to move the state ahead of others.

His mission, which he said he saw as a call by God was genuine and altruistc, adding that he would not have grown from a danfo driver in Ibadan to becoming the governor of Ekiti State of his own power.

He said the educational requirement for being a governor was just the school certificate, and anyone God had put in the place to be governor, others should accept and work with him.

”So please, when you see them (his critics), tell them to leave this young man alone. If you look at my past, you would know that it couldn’t have been by my own power that I am governor today. I am therefore appealing to all and sundry to let us work together and forget this pull-him-down syndrome,” he said.

Fayose said within his 18 months in office, his government had built a fire station, a trade fair complex, equipped the Ministry of Works, built the Fayose Housing Estate and was currently constructing the stadium, the cultural complex and the broadcasting house.

Meanwhile, the state government has voted N400 million for the conversion of the Fountain Motel under construction in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, to new Governor’s Office.

This was contained in the 2005 Appropriation Bill presented to the House of Assembly last Thursday by the governor.

Similarly, out of the N398 million earmarked for Education in the budget, N100 was set aside for the establishment of an International School of world standard in a location yet to be disclosed.

Fayose had during the year mooted the idea of converting the Fountain Motel to a Governor’s Office, citing the contiguous location of the sprawling complex to his present office and the Government House.

The hotel was part of the uncompleted projects left behind by the former Governor, Chief Adeniyi Adebayo.

Fayose had criticized the almost N500 spent on the project before taking it over from his processor, saying the extent of work carried out was not in tandem with the amount.

Ekiti leaders insist on fair share of political offices   Back To Top

The Guardian: Tuesday, December 14, 2004

From Ifedayo Sayo, Ado-Ekiti

POLITICAL leaders in Ekiti State have re-affirmed their commitment to fair distribution of political offices among the three senatorial districts in the state.

Rising from a meeting in Otun Ekiti at the weekend, the leaders, drawn from all the political parties, decided that no section of the state would be allowed to dominate all the offices especially that of the state governor.

Meeting under the auspices of the North/South group, they ruled out the Central Senatorial District in the 2007 governorship election, saying any political party that picks its governorship candidate from that district would be treated as anti-Ekiti and rejected by the people.

Members of the group include former governor of old Ondo State, Mr. Bamidele Olumilua; former deputy governor of the state, Chief Olatunde Alabi; Chief Oduyemi Idowu, Adebamigbe Akilaya, Akin Akonola, Ojo Balegan, Senators Lawrence Agunbiade and James Kolawole.

They said the only way to ensure justice and equity in the state was for the North and South Senatorial Districts to be allowed to produce the next governor of the state.

A statement at the end of the meeting by Chief Idowu Odeyemi resolved that a senatorial district was only allowed to rule the state for eight years.

They said that power rotation had been embraced by all indigenes of the state as a check against the domination of political offices by a section of the state.

The group also resolved to write a letter to all the existing political parties, informing them of the overwhelming opinion in the state as regards power rotations and to ensure that they pick their candidates for the governorship election from either the North or South Senatorial Districts.

Also at the meeting, leaders of the Central Senatorial District agreed not to contest the 2007 governorship election on the condition that the other senatorial district produces a generally acceptable candidate for the exalted office.

The meeting decided that the governorship slot should not be zoned to any individual but senatorial districts.

They called on governorship aspirants from the North and South senatorial districts to disclose their aspirations before March 2005 to enable the people have enough time to assess their moral, intellectual backgrounds and other qualities.

The meeting re-stated its earlier stand that the North/South group was neither a gang-up against anybody or government but a forum for the leaders of the state to ensure that the wish of the majority of the people was respected and actualised without rancour.

Ekiti lawmakers ask Fayose to present report on performance   Back To Top

The Guardian: Tuesday, December 14, 2004

From Ifedayo Sayo, Ado-Ekiti

GOVERNOR Ayo Fayose and his deputy, Abiodun Aluko, have been asked by the Ekiti State House of Assembly to render account of their stewardship to the House.

This, according to the Speaker of the House, Chief Friday Aderemi, would enable the lawmakers to appraise the performance of the state government in the past 18 months.

He added that such an account will further cement the ties between the legislature and the executive.

Aderemi said the Assembly would soon invite the state commissioners to render quarterly account of their stewardship either before the whole House or to committees assigned to supervise them.

He praised Fayose for his impressive performance since assumption of office, saying the laudable achievements of the governor were too glaring to be ignored even by critics.

"Ekiti State has been transformed in all areas. The state government has been able to match the provision of social infrastructure with human development as evident in the poverty alleviation programme, prompt payment of workers' salaries, payment of pensions and gratuities to retired public servants, construction of roads, the facelift of Oluyemi Koyode Stadium, among others", he added.

He added that the year 2004 budget of the state government has turned the state around for good.

The Speaker called on the state government to faithfully implement the year 2005 budget for the good of the people of the state, saying the inclusion of constituency projects in the budget was a welcome development.

According to him, this would enable the state legislators to monitor the projects in their respective constituencies to ensure proper implementation of such jobs.

He appealed to the state government to give priority to the acute shortage of accommodation to both the legislators and their workers.

Aderemi also called for a more conducive Assembly complex with enough administrative offices and committee rooms to enhance the effective performance of the House.

Ekiti ex-officials deny non-payment of allowances   Back To Top

The Guardian: Tuesday, December 14, 2004

From Ifedayo Sayo, Ado-Ekiti

ASUM of N250 million has been earmarked by the Federal Government for the rehabilitation of Egbe Dam in Gboyin Council of Ekiti State.

Also, the state government is collaborating with the Federal Government in funding the unified drug revolving scheme for the people of the state.

Special Assistant to the State Governor on Information, Mr. Kola Ajumobi, disclosed this yesterday.

He said the on-going rehabilitation of Egbe Dam would boost water supply to many parts of the state including Ado-Ekiti, the capital.

According to him, the state government intends to purchase two water tankers to supply water to areas where water supply may have been disrupted due to the on-going dualisation of Ado-Ekiti township roads.

He stated that the state government would ensure that the water pumping facilities at the Odua Textile area of the state capital was rehabilitated to aid water supply to some parts of the town.

He said the state government had decided to involve indigenous contractors in the execution of some projects, saying such contractors should not disappoint the state government.

He asked owners of domestic animals in the urban centres of the state to keep them away from major roads, as relevant government agencies would start arresting them as from next month.

On the drug revolving scheme, he said it was designed to ensure consistent availability of genuine drugs at affordable prices in all public health facilities in the state.

He explained that the funding structure would involve the Federal Government providing N17 million, state government, N5 million; joint local councils, N16 million; World Bank, N14 million; and Partnership for Transforming Health Systems (PATHS), N25 million.

He said the drug revolving scheme was in furtherance of the goals of the state government to improve the health sector as a focal point for development.

This, he explained, was the reason for the adoption of a modified free health policy to address the failures of an earlier free health policy characterised by the lack of drugs and services.

Be prepared to render account, speaker tells Fayose, deputy   Back To Top

The Punch, Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Akin Oyedele, Ado-Ekiti

The Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Chief Friday Aderemi, has called on Governor Ayo Fayose and his deputy, Mr. Abiodun Aluko, to be prepared to render the account of their stewardship to the House whenever invited.

He made the call in a statement on Monday in his reaction to the N20.3 billion budget proposal presented to the lawmakers by the governor last Thursday.

The speaker said the House was determined to perform its statutory legislative roles in line with the provisions of Section 128 of 1999 Constitution.

Aderemi added that the call was geared towards encouraging accountability, probity and to enable the people appraise the performance of the administration.

If such calls were heeded, he stressed that the understanding between the executive and legislative arms of the government would be strengthened.

The speaker equally advised the commissioners not to be caught unawares as the House was set to invite them quarterly to render account of their financial activities to a plenary session or the House committee designated for the purpose.

Aderemi clarified that by so doing, the House was not out to witch-hunt any ‘member of the Executive Council, but was performing its constitutional regulatory functions.

Leave Fayose alone   Back To Top

SUNDAY PUNCH, December 12, 2004

Firstly, I want to commend the Punch Newspapers for being truthful these years. I will appreciate it if my views could be published in your newspaper, and this will further convince me of your impartiality.

I am an indigene of Ekiti State, but I reside in Lagos. I read the dailies regularly, particularly Punch Newspapers. Some politicians that have refused to accept defeat in good faith came out almost immediately after the last gubernatorial election in Ekiti State to tell us that the elected Governor of Ekiti State did not have authentic certificates . For that reason, he was not qualified to be a governor.

Most of us, Ekiti indigenes in diaspora were embarrassed when we heard this. But we followed the events as it unfolded in the court of law. But in the course of events, Governor Fayose told them that if they were able to establish the allegation, he would resign from office.

But at the end of it all, they lost the case and it became clear to us that they are liars. Now, they have started again. They said Governor Fayose has properties abroad. Secondly, they alleged that all the developmental projects he is executing in Ekiti State are fraudulent. But the Ekiti governor has answered them again, that if they are able to substantiate any of these allegations, he would resign from office.

Please, I want to use this medium to appeal to these politicians not to distract the attention of the governor, so, that our dear people of Ekiti State can reap the dividends of democracy.

Israel Adeyinka,

8, Ogooluwa Street,Via Igando Road,

Ikotun, Lagos.

Fayose, the unusual governor   Back To Top

Vanguard:Saturday, December 11, 2004

By OYINDAMOLA ADEBOLA

PERCEPTION of man about certain phenomena varies from one individual to another. The difference in their perception is a function of several factors. If the words of the social scientists or the behaviouralists are anything to go by, then they may be correct in their postulation. They posited that man is a product of his socio-political milieu. Ideological and religious beliefs could also influence man’s perception.

The Bible says, as a man thinketh, so he is. Culturally and contrarily too, a Yoruba adage says, a big garment is not a measure of big personality. Ideologically, Marxism, as an example, is a body of thought and ideas espoused by Karl Henrich Marx about certain social and economic phenomena. The German economic and political philosopher, in his theory of economic determinism espoused and popularized by his friend and associate, Fredrick Engels, says, it is not the consciousness of man that determines his social existence, but rather on the contrary, it is the social existence that determines his consciousness.

Apart from ideology, individual preferences may still determine or influence one’s choice. Some people are naturally simple in their way of life to the extent that they look funny and amusing in their attitude despite the fact that such actions are not expected of them because of their high status or position in the society. Elbert Hubbard may be right and appropriate in this context as he says; little minds are interested in the extra ordinary while great minds are interested in the commonplace.

Ekiti State governor, Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, to the best of my knowledge is not a philosopher or academician but may be a self-styled and principled man. Borrowing Hubbard’s terminology, by virtue of his position as governor of a state, he is undoubtedly a “great mind”. There is no gainsaying the fact of his colossal achievement. As a state governor, the attitude of this great man, leader and political actor continues to puzzle me as a person. His attitude, most of the time, I consider them very strange, unconventional and unusual.

Interestingly, I have heard and read a lot about certain things he did which I consider inappropriate for the exalted office of a governor. For instance, I read that he eats in bukateria (public canteen) in and outside the state capital. He was reported to have eaten roasted corn, plantain, groundnut and walnuts inside markets. I was told he always trek long distance in the town. This, he reportedly did to exercise his body and acknowledge cheers from the people. But on Tuesday, December 7, I was in the state capital, Ado-Ekiti and what I saw, I could not comprehend as the truth. The curiosity in me pushed me and I followed his convoy in order to confirm what looked like a trance for me until I confirmed and demanded to speak with the governor. Ask me what I saw.

The convoy of the governor was coming behind my car and I had to quickly park away from the road in order to give way for the convoy. .

The convoy was driving past me and I positioned myself very well in order to catch a glimpse of the controversial governor, once more. As I was looking for the governor among the passing cars, I couldn’t see the kind of posh and exotic cars like Jeep, Mercedez Benz, Peugeot 607, 406 Mercedez bus carrying the coat of arms to indicate the one ferrying him.

I suddenly saw one yellow Suzuki bus popularly called “Akoto” with the logo “Governor, Ekiti State carrying conspicuously the Nigerian flag, and the coat of arms. I did not believe my eyes and I followed the convoy at a distance and shortly, I met the governor at Ajilosun area where he was inspecting the on-going dualization project. People besieged him singing his praises and he chewed what looked like a kola-nut. I fixed my eyes on the Suzuki bus. I discovered that all the paraphernalia of office was present in the “Akoto”. It had white leather seat with Nigeria’s coat of arms neatly embossed on it.

I devoted some 45 minutes trying to follow him with a view to getting him speak to me . What I saw at the next port of call was unbelievable. Applauded at a palm wine join along Agric/Odo-Ado area, the governor stopped, sat and collected a cup containing palm wine from one of the young men sitting down and took some sips of the local palm wine.

He directed that some money be made available to them to further their

enjoyment and relaxation before he left the spot. I became more curious and I wondered What manner of governor is this Fayose? When I eventually got the opportunity to interview him at the site of the 100 units housing estate along new Afao road, I asked him why he did those unusual things, he answered, “I don’t see them or consider them unusual.

These people are my people, we used to eat together, drink together and mix freely together before I became the governor. Why should I now isolate myself from them after they have voted me into power.” Asked whether he considered the security implications, he replied, “they are my people, they love me, I feel safe and secured with them, can’t you see how they praise me and come to me to shake hands with me? Security is in the hands of God Almighty. As for me, I’m happy with my people in Ekiti and they love me, support my government, ask me always not to mind the detractors but to forge ahead with the developmental works I’m doing all over the state”.

On the question of “Akoto” being decorated and used as official car, the governor explained that recently he bought 64 “Akoto” for distribution to people across the state in order to empower them under the State Economic Empowerment Development Strategy (SEEDS) programme. He said he decided to pick one for personal use. The governor said, for him, it is a way of identifying with his people saying, he is one of them and not a special or different being. He disagrees that what we see and describe as unusual are really not unusual, adding that if people insist that they are unusual, then it only makes him different and more popular. What manner of man can we say Fayose is? A grassroots governor? Na wa for him o!

Oyindamola Adebola lives in Ibadan, Oyo State

Ekiti to sell legislative quarters   Back To Top

Daily Independent: Friday, December 10, 2004

The Ekiti State government is considering the sale of the Legislative quarters built by the immediate past administration, as it appeared that the present assemblymen are no longer interested in the quarters.

Governor Ayodele Fayose made this known when he was answering reporter’s questions in Ado-Ekiti.

He said the quarters could not be completed due to lack of materials and that the state executive council would soon take a decision on what would become of the bulletproof buildings.

Fayose explained that imported materials were used for the construction of the quarters and that none of the current legislators could live in the building.

Ekiti proposes N20.3bn budget   Back To Top

The Punch: Friday, December 10, 2004

Akin Oyedele, Ado-Ekiti

Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose, on Thursday presented an appropriation bill of N20.3 billion to the House of Assembly representing government’s proposed expenditure for the fiscal year 2005.

Dubbed, “The Budget of Collective Responsibility,” the figure indicated an increase of 19.32 per cent over last year’s N17 billion budget.

Of the total budget estimate, N12.3 billion was earmarked for recurrent expenditure, while capital vote stood at N8 billion.

The governor stated that the 2005 budget was designed to develop key sectors of the economy and consolidate on the achievements recorded by his administration in the past one and half years.

He added that efforts would be concentrated on areas that would make direct impact on the lives of the people.

Fayose stated that statutory allocation from the Federation Account remained the major source of income to finance the budget, adding that efforts would be intensified to increase the internally generated revenue.

The governor explained that the 19.34 per cent increase in this year’s appropriation bill over last year’s was due to expected accruals from the $2 per barrel increase in the price of crude oil as announced by the Federal Government in its budget.

Fayose pointed out that there was a shortfall in the IGR projection in last year’s budget and the actual amount realised, which informed the setting of a “realistic and achievable target” of N1.3 billion in this year’s budget.

The amount in this year’s budget, he said, represented a difference of N.5 billion, that is, 29.37 per cent, from the N1.8 billion proposed as IGR in the 2004 budget.

The chunk of the capital vote was devoted to the economic sector, expected to gulp N6.2 billion, representing 77.66 per cent and almost 100 per cent increase in the N3.2 billion spent for the same purpose last year.

The governor said N799 million would be spent on agriculture to ensure availability and affordability of appropriate food items all year round and in the other end to enhance employment generation, and reduce poverty.

From this amount, farmers would receive N32 million as loans to be disbursed through the Agric Credit Agency, in an effort to improve the quality of life of the rural dwellers and peasants, while N27 million would go to rural road rehabilitation projects.

Ekiti ex-officials deny non-payment of allowances   Back To Top

The Guardian: Thursday, December 9, 2004

From Ifedayo Sayo, Ado-Ekiti

FORMER members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly have denied the allegation that the State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has refused to pay salaries and allowances owed former political office holders in the state.

Reacting to an allegation that the former political office holders were being forced to join the People's Democratic Party (PDP) before they could be paid, the former legislators in a statement said the claim was not true.

They stated that 21 former legislators, including the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political Affairs, Mr. Akin Omole and Special Assistant to the Governor on Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Nelson Omotayo, were receiving allowances owed them by the former civilian administration.

Some former political office holders including commissioners, board chairmen and former deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Mr. Oladapo Karounwi, had alleged that the governor was holding on to their allowances because of their refusal to join his party, PDP.

But in a statement by Mr. Akin Omole, Mr. Nelson Omotayo, Mr. Opeyemi Ajayi, former members of the AD and Mr. Akinloye Akanyemi on behalf of the 21 legislators, they described the allegation as untrue.

"A huge backlog of unpaid salaries and allowances was inherited from the erstwhile civilian government of Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, which was supposed to be paid by the past administration.

"The current government of Mr. Ayo Fayose took it upon itself to start paying these salaries and allowances.

"Apart from the original eight PDP members that have been benefiting, 13 AD members have also joined the league of beneficiaries since he started paying. Nobody has been coerced to join PDP before getting paid," they claimed.

ASUU deplores deductions from teachers' pay   Back To Top

The Guardian: Thursday, December 9, 2004

From Ifedayo Sayo,Ado-Ekiti

THE Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has condemned the deductions of 7.5 per cent from the salaries of its members into a contributory pensions scheme.

A statement by the Ilorin zone of the union yesterday deplored the absence of governing councils in federal universities several months after the dissolution of the previous ones.

Also, a statement by the zonal co-ordinator, Dr. Eddy Olanipekun, warned that the non-referral of the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) award to the National Industrial Court (NIC) by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Hassan Lawal, as stipulated in the Labour laws was capable of precipitating another round of crisis that could lead to the disruption of academic activities in public universities.

It called on well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the authorities of the University of Ilorin to recall some teachers that had been unjustly sacked since 2001 for no offence committed other than their participation in the 2001 national strike.

ASUU further warned that there could not be peace in the federal universities when the issue of sacked teachers was not resolved in their favour.

The union observed that the poor funding of university education by the Federal Government was a great disservice to the nation and called for a positive change from the government in this regard.

On the current crisis in the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, ASUU decried the attempt being made by the authorities of the institution to blackmail the leadership of the union in the university for its (university authorities) shortcomings.

It said: "The union condemned the use of violence in resolving the crisis as well as the use of armed policemen in dealing with the last students' protest that led to the closure of the university at the moment".

"It noted with disapproval the vice-chancellor's penchant for inviting armed policemen to the campus wherever workers or students have cause to protest against his unpopular policies", it added.

It, therefore, called for a judicial commission of inquiry into the students' crises to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the perennial crises in the university.

Marwa promises to speak on presidential ambition next year   Back To Top

Vanguard: Thursday, December 09, 2004

By Gbenga Ariyibi

ADO-EKITI— THE former military administrator of Lagos State, Brig-Gen. Buba Marwa has pledged to make public his much-touted presidential ambition by the next quarter of next year. Marwa, told newsmen in Ado-Ekiti after paying a courtesy visit to Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State that he was taking his time not to jump the gun.

“Nigerians have been asking me to run, but I would not say anything about that now, it is the Almighty God that can select the best for Nigeria but, I promise to make my ambition known to members of the public by the first quarter of next year, he said. On the agitation of the people of the South East to take a slot on the presidency, the former administrator said he did not see the issue of presidency from a sectional angle, stating that only the Almighty God knows what is best for the country.

On the call for national conference, the Chairman of Albarka Airline said there was need for people of varied ethic nationalities in the country to meet and talk, noting “we must talk, there is need to iron things out, I have always supported the call for National Conference, there is need to talk.

Fayose to Meet Indigenes in Oyo   Back To Top

ThisDay: Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Ekiti

Ekiti State Governor, Dr Peter Ayodele Fayose, will December 13, hold an interactive and investment meeting with all Ekiti indigenes resident in Oyo State, with a view to getting their inputs into policy formulation and implementation.

The meeting, which takes place at the Cultural Centre, Mokola, is a follow up to similar meetings in some parts of the country including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, Rivers State and the United States of America.

A release signed by Special Assistant to the Governor on Information, Mr Kola Ajumobi said the meeting was part of Fayose’s strategies at carrying the state indigenes along in his administration, irrespective of political lineage.

“ Fayose does not believe in politics of exclusiveness, but prefers to seek inputs from all stakeholders, hence his determination to hold meeting with the indigenes,” Ajumobi said. Urging them to seize the opportunity to bare their minds on all issues affecting the state, Ajumobi said suggestions and pieces of advice derived at the meeting would be incorporated into the policy thrust of the Fayose administration.

“Governor Fayose knows that no one has the monopoly of knowledge, he, therefore, wants all stakeholders and indigenes to contribute their own ideas, to achieve the best for the state,” Ajumobi said.

According to him, “we want all indigenes to converge at Cultural Centre, Mokola at 5 p.m., where the governor will also enumerate the achievements of his administration.

Ekiti can establish polytechnic – Speaker   Back To Top

The PUNCH, Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Akin Oyedele, Ado-Ekiti

The Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Chief Friday Aderemi, has said with determination and willpower, the state can afford to establish its own polytechnic.

The speaker said this on Tuesday in an interview with our correspondent against the backdrop of the criticism that greeted a motion recently adopted by the House calling for the establishment of a polytechnic in the state.

Aderemi said the House adopted the motion in good faith, believing that the executive could embark on the project gradually without encountering a major financial hurdle along the way.

By so doing, he said the lawmakers were not unaware of the financial status of the state and the need to inject fund to other sectors currently begging for attention.

The speaker, however, argued that the state could deny itself of other things in preference for the proposed polytechnic, if the executive could reason along the same line with the legislators.

For instance, he noted that there were no remarkable differences between the state allocation from the Federation Account and those being received by Kwara and Niger States which had polytechnics of their own.

He said it was always a grave concern to him whenever he saw satellite campuses of other polytechnics located within the state beaming with activities, with high student enrolment.

This factor alone, according to him, underscored the need for the state not to procrastinate by giving the proposal a serious thought.

The speaker recommended that during the first year of its establishment, government could embark on clearing of structures at the site, to be followed with the provision of basic infrastructure.

In the next two to three years, he said the polytechnic could begin academic activities starting with two or three schools, which could be expanded in subsequent years.

Ekiti votes N4b for roads   Back To Top

The Guardian: Tuesday, December 7, 2004

From Ifedayo Sayo, Ado-Ekiti

THE Ekiti State government has voted N4 billion for the reconstruction of some of its roads, Special Assistant to the Governor on Information, Mr. Kola Ajumobi said yesterday.

According to the governor's aide, the roads for reconstruction had been mapped out and contracts for them would soon be awarded.

He named some of the roads as Ado-Ekiti-Afao; Iworoko-Aree-Afao-Igbeno-Ilummoba, Erijiyan, Ikogosi-Ipole-Iloro road; the dualisation of Ado-Ekiti township roads; and Igbara-Odo-Ikogosi road.

He said work was nearing completion on the Igbara-Odo-Kare and Ikere-Ise Emure roads which would be commissioned by President Olusegun Obasanjo during his maiden visit to the state next year.

Ajumobi also disclosed that contracts had been awarded for the construction of 100 housing units in the state capital to reduce accommodation problem in the town.

The housing estate located along Afao road in the state capital, consist of two-bedroom and three-bedroom flats.

The houses, he explained, would be sold to the public on completion, adding that it was the desire of the state government to ensure that many citizens become landlord through its housing programme.

The Governor's spokesperson also spoke on other programmes of the state government including health scheme which takes health care delivery to the door steps of rural dwellers.

He urged the people to reciprocate the "good gesture of the state governor" through "quality support and cooperation."

EKICCMA seeks international status for S-West trade fairs   Back To Top

Vanguard: Tuesday, December 07, 2004

By Gbenga Ariyibi

ADO-EKITI — EKITI State Council of Chambers of Industry, Mines and Agriculture (EKICCMA) wants trade fairs in the five states in the South -West geo political zone of the country to assume international status.

Speaking in Ado-Ekiti yesterday at the formal opening of the 16th Ekiti, Osun, Oyo, Ogun, Ondo Joint Trade fair, tagged Ekiti 2004, the President of EKICCIMA, Mr. Eddie O. Oguntonade said of the three old regions in the country only the old western Region of Nigeria was yet to have international Trade fair status.

He added that the chamber has commenced action towards achieving that objective by having an audience with President, Olusegun Obasanjo in both Abuja and Otta, Ogun State sometimes last month.

“According to him the president gave his full support for the fair which he suggested should be termed International Trade fair for Agriculture and Food”, adding that the success or otherwise of achieving the feat depends on the serving governors.

Among other achievements recorded by EKICCCIMA according to him include, securing an allocation of land from government for the permanent trade fair complex, introduction of Bee keeping venture in Ekiti State, and participation in the organisation of all Odua’s Joint Trade Fairs to promote the image of the state.

Chief Oguntonade however advocated the promotion of science and technology and diversification to non-oil sector like agriculture saying that, although Nigeria is politically independent, we are still heavily subservient to the developed countries in all science and technology.”

In his welcome speech, Ekiti State governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose said it was one of his priorities to develop the state industrial wise, noting that he would not share the erroneous notion that the state is potentially poor. He explained that his government was poised towards rapid transformation of the state, with a view of showcasing the potentials of the state, so as to woo investors.

On the multi-million Naira trade fair complex, the governor pointed out that the idea of having a befitting trade fair complex was conceived and executed by his regime, assuring that the complex would not be abandoned after the fair as his government would provide other socio-infrastructures to make the place lively.

UNAD’s college of medicine needs N1.3bn to take-off – Report   Back To Top

The PUNCH, Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Akin Oyedele,Ado-Ekiti

The report of the Technical Committee inaugurated by the Ekiti State Government over the newly established College of Medicine of the state–owned University of Ado-Ekiti has said the college will require at least N1.3 billion to take off effectively.

This was contained in the report submitted by the committee headed by Prof. Jide Osuntokun to the Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose in Ado-Ekiti on Monday.

Except the government was ready to cough out the amount, the committee advised against its establishment to guard against churning out half-baked medical personnel.

By this development, the fate of the 38 pioneer students admitted into the college last year hang in the balance.

It is not immediately clear what will also happen to the new students about to be admitted by the college authority as the university is still undecided on its next line of action.

Fayose had from the outset kicked against the establishment of a college of medicine on the premise that the required facilities were not available.

At different fora, the governor washed his hands off the college, before he accepted the optimism of the school authorities and other stakeholders about the feasibility of the project.

His arguments then bordered on the need to first upgrade the facilities at the university, which were in deplorable condition, before embarking on another venture, such as a medical school, which required huge capital.

He said then that instead of watching while major courses being offered at UNAD were being denied accreditation by regulatory authorities, it was wiser to upgrade them and put the university on a sound footing before dabbling into a college of medicine.

The governor’s line of argument was then punctured by some concerned citizens of the state, who held that the state was buoyant enough to establish one.

Following a barrage of criticism against his position, Fayose then recanted, saying the college could go on provided the authorities of UNAD could source the fund for its sustainability.

In April when the state government donated an administrative complex at the Specialist Hospital, Ado-Ekiti to the college, the Vice- Chancellor of UNAD, Prof. Israel Orubuloye, said the college required a N500 million lifeline.

The V-C then called for support from the state government, corporate organisations, public-spirited individuals as well as indigenes of the state in diaspora.

Presently, UNAD is battling with shortage of lecture theatres, residential accommodation and other facilities, which the state government said were topmost in its priority rather than the college of medicine.

Death and a family in the hangman's noose   Back To Top

The Guardian: Monday, December 06, 2004

By Yemi Ogunsola and Ifedayo Sayo (Ado Ekiti)

SWING... swing... swing went the pendulum of the High Court's wall clock. A pin-drop silence had descended on the assembly as the Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Justice Bisi Omoleye, began to read her judgment.

Bated breaths, racing heartbeats. Eyes made round and big by anxiety.

The case of the state against the Abirifon Brothers, Olabode and Julius, in a capital offence of murder had dragged for seven grueling years. Proceedings had been swinging for and against, back and forth, left and right between the prosecution and the defence as both argued their cases.

Now, the pendulum of justice must take final swing.

A ringing note issued from the pendulous wall clock as it struck an hour. It sounded like a miniature thunderclap in the tense silence of the courtroom. Was it a death knell? But swing, swing went on the mechanical device in inanimate indifference to the mortal emotions that surged below it.

The first scream came from the mother of the accused, septuagenarian, Mrs. Rachael Abirifon. Then a wail, long and soulful.

The two accused broke into sobs. The judgment had taken final swing. It was not in their favour: Death by hanging.

The Abirifon brothers will swing at the end of the hangman's noose.

The defence counsel, Issa Ibitayo Ibrahim of the Legal Aid Council stood stock still, head hanging low. He could not fight back the tears.

The lone mother of the accused, almost berserk with sorrow, droned on and on, lamenting her catalogue of woes.

But why was she alone? Nobody to hold her?

That's right. Nobody.

The Abirifon family had been decimated in the course of the murder trial. The family head, Matthew Abirifon had died in detention two years ago. His younger brother too.

Desolation had come in company of decimation. The Abirifon family of Igbara-Odo, a part of the larger Ojomu family had since been virtually scattered into the four winds - like a sinful Israel under the punishment of an angry Yahweh.

The latest judgment had relied mainly on the confessional statement by the accused. And they were damning. Very damning.

And what could a poor counsel do in such circumstance other than to contest the integrity of such confessions? Ibrahim did. No! He argued such damning confessions to the Police do not come voluntarily. No! It was under duress, the accused had told him. And they told the court too. The defence hinted at torture or threats of torture in the hands of the Police. Ibrahim fought with the protective ferocity of a mother hen faced with a formidable prey.

The court was fair. It went into a "trial within trial" to determine the truth or otherwise of the duress allegation.

The court concluded there was no evidence of duress. Neither of torture nor of threat of torture. And so the confessions were admitted in evidence.

Nevertheless, whatever could have prompted suspects in a murder case to make such damning confessions remain till date a subject of fascination and speculation.

Unsubstantiated reports abound of haunting by the ghost of the murder victim, John Peter as a possible prompter of such hot confessions.

The separate confessions tallied in fatal detail: The accused, along with their father and others had conspired to use John Peter, a labourer in their father's cocoa farm as sacrifice to Olokun, a family deity. It was the practice to use strangers. And John Peter was a stranger in Igbara-Odo.

And so that fateful morning of October 23, 1997, an unsuspecting John Peter, on invitation, followed the Abirifons to work on the cocoa farm as usual.

He discovered too late that the people he had associated with for many years had turned assailants. They set on him with their cutlasses and snuffed life out of him.

It was a gruesome way to die. They hacked him down, on the head, on the shoulder, across the stomach, on the neck.

Every member struck a blow, then they shot him.

Autopsy report later confirmed the location and nature of the blows mentioned in the separate confessions. That further strengthened the integrity of the confessions, and literally sealed the fate of the Abirifon Brothers.

However, there appeared to be a motive for the outright murder, different from ritual sacrifice.

There had been a simmering dispute between Pa Matthew Abirifon and the late John Peter over a business deal on the cocoa farm.

In the process, about N30,000 had passed from John Peter to Pa Abirifon. But when it was time to repay or refund the amount, Pa Matthew defaulted.

The conspiracy to eliminate John Peter was apparently to foreclose the payment of the money owed him.

This line of thinking was corroborated in the course of The Guardian's investigation at Igbara-Odo, hometown of the accused and scene of the crime by an elder of the Ojomu family of which the Abirifon is a branch.

The Ojomu elder who pleaded anonymity admitted quite readily that the Festival of Olokun is a yearly affair in the Ojomu family. It is hosted, he said by each family branch in turn from year to year.

But at the suggestion of human sacrifice, the septuagenarian, along with a small group of interested listeners broke into laughter. So ridiculous did they find it, they all said, for anyone to associate such a festival with the sacrifice.

"You see. It's all part of the desperation of the Abirifons to cover their real crime", the elderly Ojomu remarked with a pained smile.

The man then gave an account, which lent some credence to the pecuniary motives behind John Peter's murder. He spoke with the air of one who knew the whole story and the Abirifon family, very well indeed.

"They have all along been a thieving lot, those boys. They refuse to be trained or educated", he said.

According to him, it was actually John Peter's elder brother who had a business deal with the late Matthew Abirifon. The latter had leased his cocoa farm to John Peter's elder brother at a fee of about N30,000.

But being rather old and living far from the cocoa farm, John Peter's elder brother asked his younger brother, John Peter, to manage the farm on his behalf.

However, Matthew Abirifon and evidently, his sons, later wished to regain possession of the cocoa farm without refunding the N30,000.

And so began the dispute.

John Peter's elder brother appeared to have died after the deal and so only Peter John was left as next of kin in the way of the Abirifons' desire to regain control of the cocoa farm.

It was a neighbour of John Peter's who got suspicious over his unusually long absence and subsequently reported to the Police. He was one of the prosecution witnesses.

There was little pity in the tone of the Ojomu elders who spoke on the Abirifon brood, a departure from the usual rustic communality that regards the tribulation of one family as the concern of all.

The Abirifon brothers, they said, had been notorious for petty stealing right from their adolescence. It got so bad members of the family were virtually ostracised from the larger Ojomu family.

They blamed the late Matthew for lax control over his household.

"The boys refused to get proper education. They were uncontrollable. Case file of the Abirifons' inglorious exploits are all over the police stations: At Igbara-Odo here, at Ilawe, at Ado Ekiti," an Igbara-Odo elder submitted with corroborative nods from others.

That was another reason perhaps, why Mrs. Abirifon was alone in court that fateful day with no sympathisers.

A competent Igbara-Odo source was to confirm to The Guardian later that at least, one of the two accused was not a first offender, but that the same court that handed down the death sentence had convicted him before.

The Abirifons' house is Igbara-Odo was a study in desolation. The bungalow stood empty, lonely and decrepit. It was the dirty brown contrast to the surrounding dust. It had been so for years.

The only member remaining in town was Mrs. Rachael Abirifon. Even she did not live in or near the house but far away at another end of the town. She had custody of two of the children of one of the accused, Kehinde and Pauline, both girls.

With her breadwinner gone, Mrs. Abirifon sat like a Naomi without a Ruth. A harmattan wind howled as if in sympathy or mockery of her situation as The Guardian tried to engage her in conversation.

She pleaded for her sons' lives. She had resorted to fetching and hawking firewood and other menial jobs to fend for herself and the hungry mouths left in her care.

"Help me plead with them to spare my sons. They are all I have left in my old age. He has five children; two of them are here. How do I cope alone?" Kehinde, 12, is just out of primary school. She wanted to know if a newspaper story could save her Dad. She would want to be a commissioner, she replied to a question asked to divert her attention from her sorrows.

Pauline, the younger one had just returned from school. She smiled shyly but hopes to be a doctor.

Both legitimate ambitions.

But with the way things threaten to turn out, life may make mere firewood of their ambitions.

Defence counsel, Ibrahim has no illusion about the critical situation of his clients.

"It's our responsibility to protect the interest of the accused to the best of our abilities. But at the same time, the court is trying to balance the equations: Justice to someone who must have been killed and justice to the accused. It was within those guiding principles that the judge was convinced the Abirifon brothers were guilty of the crime." But he does not foreclose an appeal against the judgment.

"I intend to discuss with the Zonal Director of the Legal Aid Council whether to go on appeal or not," he said.

Whether there is an appeal eventually or not or if the appeal fails, there is still the prerogative of mercy vested in the state governor.

However, the harsh reality remains that at the end of the day, something must swing: Justice or the Abirifon Brothers.

Ekiti ex-officials seek payment of allowances   Back To Top

The Guardian: Monday, December 06, 2004

From Ifedayo Sayo, Ado-Ekiti

FORMER political office holders in Ekiti State have called on the state government to pay all their entitlements without further delay.

In a statement at the weekend, the former office holders said with the improvement in the state's earnings, Governor Ayo Fayose's administration has no reason to delay payment of their entitlements including severance allowance.

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, had dismissed the allegation of non-payment, saying many of them, including former state legislators, have been receiving their dues from the government.

He explained that given the meagre resources at the disposal of the state government, the governor decided to effect the payment in phases so as not to affect his development programmes for the state. Many of the former political office holders have praised the governor for the payment.

Adelusi described as false the allegation that the former officials were being forced to join the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) before they could be paid, saying many of them that have joined the PDP did so because of their affection for the administration of Governor Fayose.

In their statement, the former office holders denied being paid and reminded Fayose that he would soon join the rank of former political officers who would need to claim their dues from succeeding administration.

The statement was signed by former deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Mr. Oladapo Karounwi; former Commissioners for Health, Prof. Joseph Oluwasanmi; Women Affairs, Ronke Okusanya, and Tourism and Culture, Titilayo Ojo.

Others who also signed the statement are former Secretary to the State Government, Afolabi Ojuawo; former Special Adviser on Local Government Affairs, Dare Awopetu; former Chairman, Board of Internal Revenue, Chief Dele Adeniyi and former Special Assistant to the Speaker, Biodun Akin Falae.

They called on Governor Fayose to disburse the N400 million budgeted for payment of furniture and severance allowances of former political office holders in the 2004 budget.

Fayose was advised to emulate his colleagues in South-West who have paid the said allowances.

Meanwhile, the Alliance for Democracy (AD) in the state has condemned wanton destruction of property in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, in the name of dualisation of the township roads.

A statement by chairman of the party, Mr. George Akosile, described the road dualisation as not only fraudulent but meant to bring hardship and irreparable loss to people's investments.

"The state government could have concentrated efforts on providing inter-city road network and ring-roads instead of destroying the city-centre and business district of the state capital.

But the governor has warned the contractor handling the N1.6 billion dualisation project against destroying property not affected by the road project and promised to re-settle those whose residents were affected.

Ekiti abandons plan for a college of medicine   Back To Top

ThisDay: Friday, December 3rd, 2004

By David Atalese, Special Correspondent, Ado Ekiti

The Ekiti State government may have thrown into the dustbin, proposals for the establishment of a college of medicine, of the University of Ado Ekiti (UNAD) due to lack of funds.

The state governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, made this known when he received the report of the committee set up to review the situation of tertiary institutions in the state.

He told reporters that it would not be easy for the state to fund a medical college at this stage of its development. He said he had to tell the truth because he neither believes in politicising the issue nor should there be any deceit in government policies and pronouncements.

He said that elders in the state have advised the government not to rush into the project, saying that some of the courses in the university were not accredited and it was the intention of the government to ensure that such courses were accredited.

Fayose told reporters that there was no way to trace the N100 million grant the past civilian administration claimed to have released to the university from N25 billion bond raised from the capital market.

He said the non accreditation of some subjects at the College of Education, Ikere Ekiti and UNAD was due to insincerity of the past administration to fund the two institutions.

Fayose stated it was the commitment of the government to fashion out ways and means of strengthening the existing tertiary institutions in the state so as to improve their standards.

He stressed that the government was now shopping for another N100 million to upgrade the faculties in UNAD and the College of Education Ikere-Ekiti in order to prepare their courses for accreditation.

Odu’a Joint Trade Fair takes off in Ekiti   Back To Top

The Punch, Thursday, December 02, 2004

Akin Oyedele, Ado-Ekiti

Ekiti State will for the first time play host to industrialists from Oyo; Ogun; Osun; and Ondo States as the 16th Odu’a Joint Trade Fair gets underway on Thursday (today) in Ado-Ekiti.

Commissioner for Commerce, Industries, Cooperatives and Tourism, Mr. Samuel Kayode, disclosed this on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti.

He said government had so far committed N43 million to logistics and provision of infrastructure at the complex.

Kayode said the theme for the fair, “Developing the non-oil sector of economy through science and technology,” was chosen to encourage core investors divest from the oil sector to other money- spinning but neglected sectors of the economy.

But for the determination of Governor Ayo Fayose to brace the odds, he noted that the state would not have taken up the hosting right, having declined twice in the past due to paucity of fund.

Apart from the objective of enabling participants to showcase their products, the commissioner noted that the fair would serve as a great opportunity to exhibit the rich potentials of the state.

Each of the 16 local governments in the state are also to be provided separate pavilions to enable them display their peculiarities in agriculture, industries, mineral resources, culture, as well as small-scale business potentials to visitors.

During the two-week exhibition, a “Special Day” would be devoted to each of the participating states to allow for the display of their potentials.

Kayode stated that the vision of the government was to transform the rural and agrarian economy of the state to prosperity through industrialisation and injection of high profile commercial activities.

He added, “It is also our mission to provide a conducive environment necessary to attract investors and industrialists to Ekiti State, while giving them the required assistance to put them on a sound footing.”

The commissioner said the government took up the gauntlet threw down by other states that had successfully hosted the fair, saying the state intended to woo core investors, local and international, to Ekiti with the hosting.

Ado Ekiti court sentences two brothers to death by hanging   Back To Top

Vanguard: Wednesday, December 01, 2004

By Gbenga Ariyibi

ADO EKITI— AN Ado Ekiti High Court presided over by the Ekiti State Chief Judge, Mrs. Justice Oyebisi Omoleye has sentenced two brothers, Julius Aberefun and his brother to death by hanging for killing their father’s labourer Peter John.

In what appeared to be a double tragedy for the family, their father, Pa Mathew Aberefun and their uncle, Tunde reportedly died in detention while awaiting trial in the case.

The court ruled that the two brothers had conspired to commit the murder of Mr. Peter John on October 23, 1997 at Igbara Odo, in Ekiti South West Local Government area of Ekiti State.

The Chief Judge stated that there were sufficient evidences to prove that the duo connived to kill the deceased, who was then their father’s labourer.

Omoleye, who relied on the testimonies of the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) said confessional statement voluntarily given by the two accused persons on how they committed the offence have made then culpable.

The judge however dismissed the argument of the counsel to the accused persons Mr. I. Ibrahim on the grounds that they were not corroborated.

Justice Omoleye maintained that the position of law was that a statement voluntarily made by an accused person did not need any corroboration before it could be taken as the truth.

Besides, she noted that the accused persons did not make any convincing proof that they gave the statement under duress.

The judge further affirmed the IPO’s reports that the deceased, Mr. Peter John was killed with gun and matchet by the accused persons over the quarrel he the (deceased) had with their father, Mr. Mathew Abere on the N30, 000 debt which was being owed Peter.

After delivering the judgement, the accused persons, counsel, Mr. I. Ibrahim pleaded with the judge to tamper justice with mercy, particularly that the accused persons were first offenders.

But the judge said the penalty of the offence committed is death, saying it was really unfortunate that the Peter who came from Taraba State to serve Aberefun family for years could be killed gruesomely by the accused persons.

Fayose wants court of appeal in Ekiti   Back To Top

Daily Independent: Wednesday, December 1, 2004

By David Atalese Special Correspondent, Ado-Ekiti

Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, has expressed deep concern over the imbalance in the distribution of federal establishments across the country.

Welcoming Justices of the Federal Court of Appeal in his office on Tuesday, Fayose lamented that the state was not favoured at all in the location of the appeal court and urged the federal government to establish one in the state.

He noted that fair play and equity were important to the progress and sustainability of Nigeria and stressed the need for even distribution of the federal parastatals across the nation.

Fayose promised that the state government would provide necessary logistics for the smooth take off of the court if established in the state.

He remarked that the judiciary was the last hope of the common man and praised it (judiciary) for its neutrality, stressing that its stands on national issues have proved that the judiciary remained unpolluted.

The governor praised the justices of the court of appeal for deciding to sit in Ekiti state and expressed optimism that the citizens of the state would benefit immensely from the gesture.

Speaking earlier, the president of the court, Justice Sefullah Mutaka-Coomassie told Fayose that the essence of their sitting in Ado-Ekiti was to bring justice to the doorstep of the people.

He said that the five-day sitting of the court began on Monday adding that the sitting has been a thing of joy for lawyers and litigants because it has saved them a lot of troubles and money.


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