By Dapo Akinrefon
Since his assumption into office in June 2014, Governor Ayodele Peter Fayose and the lawmakers elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, have been locked in a battle of wits.
Mr Fayose’s entrance for the governorship primary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, last year proved that he was bound to encounter many battles.
Though he was favoured by the presidency at the end of the PDP exercise, that did not deter the many hurdles that lay ahead of him.
However, analysts argue that Fayose’s emergence as the governor has left the state in shambles owing to the perceived negative image portrayed by the governor.
The latest impeachment move by the Ekiti State House of Assembly led by the Speaker, Dr Adewale Omirin has led to the opening of many cans of worms.
But the governor is unrelenting to prevent a repeat of the 2006 episode when he was ousted by a PDP-led majority in the assembly.
The governor also boasted that those attempting to remove him will first of all have to “impeach God”.
The 19 APC lawmakers had a fortnight ago served a notice of impeachment on Mr. Fayose, who was sworn into office last October.
The lawmakers have been away from the state until recently, following the victory of the APC in the presidential election. In their absence, seven PDP legislators have been performing legislative duties which legal luminaries considered illegal.
Here is chronicle of happenings in the state lately threatening the peace of the state.
Beating the judge
Soon after the June 21, 2014 governorship elections, the Ekiti state chapter of the APC cried foul and sought legal redress.
It was during one of the court proceedings that pandemonium broke out in the Ekiti State High Court premises.
The sanctity of the judicial arm of government was violated as political thugs invaded the court premises, beating up a high court judge and tearing his suit.
This prompted the Chief Judge, Justice A.S. Daramola to order immediate closure of all courts in Ekiti State until adequate security has been put in place.
But in his reaction to the fracas, the governor said he was in the court premises as a respondent in a petition filed before the election petition tribunal that commenced.
Impeaching Speaker Omirin
Perhaps not comfortable with an APC dominated assembly, Mr Fayose made spirited efforts to install lawmakers loyal to his course.
A group of pro-Fayose lawmakers in the state House of Assembly purportedly removed Mr. Omirin as the Speaker of the House and elevated the Speaker pro tempore, Dele Olugbemi, to occupy the seat.
The Deputy Speaker, Mr. Tunji Orisalade suffered a similar fate, as he was booted out and replaced with a female lawmaker, Abeni Olayinka, representing Ado Constituency 2.
Outrage greeted the move by pro-Fayose lawmakers.
Omirin, who insisted that he remained the speaker of the Assembly, argued that it was only a 2/3 majority of the House that could unseat him as stipulated by the 1999 Constitution.
Insisting that only seven PDP lawmakers presided over the impeachment, Omirin said: “the 19 APC members are intact and we are outside the state because the place is not safe for us. Fayose is fast becoming a maximum ruler and this cannot stand.”
Mobilising okada riders
Sensing a repeat of his removal from office in 2006, Fayose asked the people to defend the mandate given to him following the impeachment process initiated by the APC lawmakers.
Already three groups, the Okada Riders Association, Road Transport Workers Association of Nigeria and National Union of Road Transport Workers have put their members on notice to look out for the APC lawmakers apparently to forestall their impeachment.
Mr. Fayose, who sounded conciliatory after the Supreme Court affirmed his election, made a live television broadcast asking Ekiti people to defend their mandate from the APC lawmakers, who he claimed were invading the state to impeach him.
He urged drivers and okada riders in particular to move out en masse to defend his mandate, saying: “My mandate is your mandate and you must defend it.”
A public announcement by the Chairman of the Okada Riders Association, Niyi Dahunsi “All Okada riders in Ekiti State are enjoined to be on the look-out for strange faces in the state from tomorrow. This is because it has been gathered that APC lawmakers working with Dr Adewale Omirin are planning to truncate the peace of the state by planning to invade the state with armed thugs.”
The threat issued by the motorcyclists and NURTW has raised concern over the antecedents of the governor.
Pundits wondered why Fayose is asking common citizens to defend his position and maintain that this development might have adverse effect on the state which is considered one of the most educated in the country.
The APC legislators seemed unperturbed with the governor’s olive branch extended to them.
The lawmakers have stuck to their guns to impeach the governor over allegations bordering on impunity and breach of the constitution.
Impunity, rascality worrisome—Ojudu
For Senator Babafemi Ojudu, who represents Ekiti Central Senatorial District in the Senate, the recent developments of impunity and rascality in the state, remains worrisome.
Ojudu, in a recent interview, described the developments as “very embarrassing, frustrating and demeaning when all these kind of things happen here. It is here judges are being beaten, it is here seven law makers are making laws in an Assembly of 26 people.”
The lawmaker posits that the development might not be unconnected with “illegality and abuse of the constitution”, displayed by the governor.
The lawmakers have directed the Chief Judge to commence the process of probing allegations of gross misconduct against the governor and his deputy governor, Ojo Eleka.
If Mr. Fayose is eventually sacked, it will be the second time he is removed from office having been impeached in 2006.
With the impeachment threat still hovering around Fayose, pundits are concerned over the ever growing nature of the impasse.