Kamarudeen Ogundele, Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State House of Assembly has ordered Governor Ayodele Fayose to set up a judicial or administrative panel to probe his predecessor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, for alleged mismanagement of state funds.
The Assembly gave the directive following a motion moved by the Majority Leader, Tunji Akinyele, and seconded by Mr. Abiola Jeje.
Citing Section 129 of the 1999 Constitution, the Assembly had, on March 22, 2016 and February 7, 2017, summoned Fayemi to appear before the House and defend himself over alleged diversion of N852m Universal Basic Education Board’s fund during his time.
But the former governor refused to honour the invitation and instead, wrote to the Assembly, stating that the explanation sought was contained in his handover note.
The lawmakers, at a plenary presided over by the Speaker, Kola Oluwawole, on Thursday, berated Fayemi for treating the Assembly with contempt.
Before putting the motion to a voice vote, the Speaker said, “Dr. John Kayode Fayemi has slighted this House by his conduct, by refusing to honour our invitation. This Assembly duly invited him to come and explain how he managed the finances of this state, particularly, the SUBEB fund and other projects.
“The House had summoned him three times, but he disobeyed the regulation of this House. So, the state government should, as a matter of urgency, set up a judicial or administrative panel of inquiry to look into the finances of this state under Fayemi’s government,” he said.
The Chairman, House Committee on Information, Mr. Samuel Omotoso, slammed the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, and other security agencies for their lukewarm disposition to arrest Fayemi despite the valid warrant of arrest issued by the Assembly against him.
Omotoso stated, “The IGP can’t claim that (ex) Governor Fayemi is at large. He has been attending the weekly Federal Executive Council meetings and nobody even called him for questioning or thought of arresting him. That was unfortunate.
“Let me, at this time, call on the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, that Fayemi has no moral standing to be a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, having breached the 1999 Constitution by his refusal to honour us.
“If we fail to act now, then the country will be operating a banana republic where there are no rules.”
Jeje and Akinleye, in their submissions, argued that the Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, should live up to his expectation in composing the judicial panel to unravel the mystery behind the state’s finances under the immediate past administration.
Reacting to the Thursday’s resolution, Fayemi, in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Yinka Oyebode, said the action of the lawmakers was nothing but legislative rascality.
He added, “The decision of the lawmakers was not only ill-advised but reckless, considering the fact that two different law- suits surrounding the purported probe are still pending in court.
“Simply put, the lawmakers’ attempt to institute a judicial panel or administrative panel, while the two cases, involving the House of Assembly, its leadership and a top official of the present administration (in an Abuja High Court and Ado Ekiti Federal High Court) are yet to be determined is sub judice.
“And sadly, this is just a reflection of their poor knowledge of the law.
“The lawmakers are advised to study the constitution properly and understand their roles as well as the limit of their powers as this desperate attempt to implicate the immediate past administration is nothing but another wild goose chase.”