THE current political crisis rocking Ekiti State has its root in a collapsed deal between Governor Ayo Fayose and all the 26 members of the state House of Assembly, Nigerian Tribune has exclusively learnt.
It was gathered that before the bubble burst on Monday, both sides had covertly engaged in brinkmanship to save the deal, before the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled assembly reportedly buckled under pressure from higher authorities in the party.
At the instance of the governor, three different meetings had reportedly taken place between him and all the 26 members of the assembly within the two weeks preceding last week Tuesday’s refusal of the assembly to screen Fayose’s commissioner-nominees.
The last of the meetings was said to have happened penultimate Thursday, November 7, at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti.
The meeting took off minutes after 7.00 p.m. The one before it, between the governor and the lawmakers reportedly led by the speaker, Adewale Omirin, was said to have taken place at the weekend before the said Thursday, November 2.
Both parties reportedly met in one of the presidential lodges in the government house. The first meeting reportedly took place on one of the days of the week preceding the weekend meeting.
The meetings were reportedly used to fine-tune the proposals from both parties, leading to a deal said to have been concluded penultimate Thursday.
At the conclusion of each meeting, goodwill reportedly took place between parties.
The governor was said to have told them that he wanted three nominees cleared for him as commissioners, in order for government business not to be grounded.
He reportedly requested for works, finance and justice portfolios to be filled, while he was said to have made it known to the lawmakers that since the council chairmen were not elected, he would want to appoint caretakers like the previous administration.
The bond from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which was also requested for by the governor, was said to have informed his demand for a commissioner for finance, since the approval for the bond would be useless without a commissioner.
On the part of the assembly, full payment of their outstanding allowances which former Governor Kayode Fayemi did not pay was demanded, to which the governor reportedly acquiesced.
The allowances were released to the lawmakers last week.
Omirin was said to have specifically requested that Fayose should direct his Attorney General to enter nolle prosequi in the alleged murder trials involving two members of the assembly, as well as other members of APC charged over the killings.
The governor was said to have told them at the meetings that such commitment could not be made without a sitting AG that should advise him, with parties reportedly agreeing on speeding the clearance of the three nominees.
By penultimate Friday, the three nominees had reportedly submitted 30 copies each of their CV as directed by Omirin, with last week Monday reportedly fixed for their screening.
Other requisite logistics were also said to be in place for smooth clearance of the nominees.
Fayose, however, reportedly refused to stop police from arresting suspects in the two murder trials, with a source saying “he didn’t want to be accused of obstructing justice.”
A source told the Nigerian Tribune that as of penultimate weekend, the deal was much in place, but by last week Monday, the whole music had changed.
It was learnt that on Monday, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers were the first to arrive at the assembly, waiting for their APC counterparts.
“They (APC lawmakers) were called severally but they didn’t pick their phones, after others waited for several hours without seeing them,” the source disclosed.
The speaker was allegedly threatened with impeachment by his party, with a highly-placed source adding that the APC leadership felt clearing commissioners and council caretakers would affect the case at the tribunal.
It was also said to have been argued at the APC caucus that such clearance would give Fayose total control of political space in the state.
A legislative source disclosed that the assembly leadership, after telling the governor the truth, simply came out to say that last Monday was to be used in perusing the nominees’ CV and that it was a mistake asking them to make an appearance.
The nominees were directed to return the next day.
The next day, last week Tuesday, saw the assembly declining the clearance, saying the nominees did not submit their CV.
A livid nominee told the Nigerian Tribune last night that “they just wanted to save their face. We submitted CV penultimate week. It is obvious they want to ground governance here. Would a governor working with a hostile assembly just go and submit nominees like that?”
It was learnt that the APC lawmakers were insisting that the deal would only be seen through if Fayose stopped police from executing the arrest warrants on the affected lawmakers and party faithful.
At the twilight of Fayemi’s administration, his Attorney-General had reportedly entered nolle prosequi to stop the prosecution of party members indicted over the killings of Labour Party (LP) members in Emure and Erijiyan during the governorship campaign.
Police, however, reportedly resumed investigation into the killings, with arrest warrants issued on suspects, including the two APC lawmakers.
APC had complained of police harassing and chasing their members around over the killings.
A government source, while reacting to the political development in the state on Monday, disclosed that three APC lawmakers signed the proceedings but working with PDP covertly for now.
He insisted that 10 lawmakers had the sitting which formed a one-thirds constitutional quorum in a 26-member assembly.
He pointed out that the pendency of a case on council headship would not translate to an injunction restraining the assembly from handling the issue.
“When they were creating LCDAs and we went to court and properly served them with evidence, did they stop? They told us the pendency did not amount to an order of injunction.
“Did Oshiomhole not do the same thing we are doing now when PDP majority lawmakers wanted to frustrate him when he took over? He even sacked the speaker and by the time judgment was entered in his favour, the assembly had outlived its span. The court only said he should be paid all his entitlements. APC would not see that.”