Throwback: Gov. Ayo Fayose Impeachment saga of 2006

At about 9:00 AM on October 15th 2006 in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State at the state house of Assembly, 24 out of 26 lawmakers, impeached Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose and his deputy, Mrs. Biodun Olujimi on corruption charges. That was after many twists and turns, intrigues, manipulations, blackmails and threats.

Amidst palpable tension and tight security, the members of the state house assembly led by the then Speaker, Mr. Friday Aderemi convened an emergency session just after they returned to Ado Ekiti from a neighbouring town where they were hiding since their prior sitting was attacked by hoodlums.

The sitting was precise and concise and passed a guilty judgment on the Gov. Ayo Fayose who they have earlier accused of embezzling state funds, particularly the Ekiti State Poultry Project which was handled by his childhood friend and contractor, Gbenga James. The said Mr. Gbenga James was a star witness against Gov. Ayo Fayose. The speaker.

Investigations revealed that instead of spending the money on the project, James used N9.25million to build a house in Ibadan, Oyo State for Fayose and bought a Mercedes Benz worth N2.1million for Fayose’s mother among other things.

BarometerNG also recall that the plots to impeached him had been sealed and were going on as planned before the then President Obasanjo received more pressures from his personal lawyer, Chief Afe  Bablola to “do something” about Fayose in Ekiti State especially as all allegations pointed to the direction of Gov. Ayo Fayose as the killer of PDP gubernatorial candidate, Ayo Daramola.

The speaker, Mr. Friday Aderemi was immediately announced as the acting governor of Ekiti State and was sworn that same day at noon (12 Noon Nigerian time). As at that time, the whereabouts of Gov. Ayo Fayose was still unknown, some sources and news outlets claimed that he slipped out of Nigeria through a method popularized by Chief Mike Adenuga known as “Glo-Exit”

He was believed to have fled the country with the help of security agents in order to avoid being arrested by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Rumours at the time had it that his escape was facilitated by then Inspector General of Police, Sunday Ehindero and the Commissioner of Police in Ekiti State, Mrs. Ivy Okoronkwo.

State of Emergency declared

Both the Chief Justice and the Attorney General have said Gov. Ayo Fayose’s sacking was illegal.

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Somehow and from Somewhere, Fayose denied reports that he had fled the country, saying he was in hiding because he feared for his life but remained governor.His deputy Biodun Olujimi, who was also impeached, says she is now acting governor, although the state of assembly has installed former speaker Friday Aderemi. So the State had three Governors.

There was a serious constitutional crisis when  Mrs. Biodun Olujimi reemerged on the scene and declared herself as the Acting Governor of the State.  She therefore resumed back to office and formed a parallel government and curiously her security detail remained intact.

Reports had it that President Obasanjo prompted by PDP Chair, Ahmadu Alli and Chief Bode George was behind the pop up of the impeached deputy governor, Mrs. Olujimi to create a semblance of disorder in the state.

Obasanjo was reported to have said he was taking action because the governor’s sacking had been unconstitutional, and to prevent Ekiti descending into chaos.

President Obasanjo told national television that the governor’s impeachment was “a clear case of usurpation of power.We have come to a sad, ridiculous and unacceptable situation in Ekiti where we have three governors. It is dangerous for our democracy to allow this flagrant violation.”

The Nigerian Bar Association called for a boycott of Ekiti State courts until the matter was resolved. Nigeria’s remaining 35 governors met President Obasanjo and informed him that they would not accept Mr Aderemi at their Governors’ Forum.

Tunji Olurin take over as Sole administrator of Ekiti State

On Oct. 18th 2006, retired army general, Tunji Olurin was sworn in Abuja by President Obasanjo to take over as the sole administrator of Ekiti State The swearing-in was witnessed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Major-General Abdullahi Mohammed (rtd.), the National Security Adviser, Major-General Sarki Mouktar (rtd.), the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Ufot Ekaette and the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo.

SaharaRepoters recalled then that Brigadier Tunji Olurin was a former military governor of Oyo State under Babangida regime, he was an acclaimed member of the “IBB Boys Club” in the military before his retirement. He hails from Yelwa LGA , Ogun State, Obasanjo’s home state and he was recently campaigning to become the governor of Ogun State under the umbrella of the PDP.

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He eventually returned from exile in December 2007 and was again elected, and sworn in, as governor in 2014.

Supreme Court declared the impeachment illegal

On April 14, 2015,  the Supreme Court upheld the judgements of both the Ekiti State Governorship Tribunal and the Court of Appeal which had earlier affirmed Governor Ayodele Fayose’s victory. The apex court, ‎also said that Fayose was not validly impeached in 2006. In

In a unanimous judgement, a seven-man panel of Justices of the court led by Justice John Fabiyi, also held that the appeal which challenged Fayose’s election victory at the 2014 Ekiti State governorship election lacked merit. The panel maintained that the APC failed to prove its allegation that the election was fraught with unparalleled irregularities, adding that the allegation that Fayose tendered forged Higher National Diploma Certificate ‎to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, was not proved beyond every reasonable doubt.

A former member of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Omoniyi Ajaja, who was the Chief Whip of the Second Ekiti Assembly that impeached Gov. Ayo Fayose gave reasons why the state lawmakers impeached him in 2006. Ajaja said in a statement made available to reporters in Akure,  Ondo State, last year June that it was better for the governor to see the impeachment saga as an experience in his political life rather than castigating the lawmakers that impeached him.

He maintained that Fayose should thank God for his second coming, stressing that the 2006 impeachment was done by the lawmakers to save the state from anarchy.

Fayose seeks to complete aborted Tenure

Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State said on Monday that he would contest his removal from office during his first term tenure. The governor spoke on his monthly public enlightenment programme, “Meet Your Governor in Ado Ekiti”.

He said since the Supreme Court had ruled that his impeachment was illegal, null and void, he reserved the constitutional right to so contest the removal.

According to him, since his tenure had been adjudged by the Supreme Court to have been illegally truncated, he had no option than to approach the same court to seek interpretation of the judgement.

 

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