Fayemi to lead Nigerian delegation to ADU Conference

The Ekiti State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has said the state government’s White Paper, which indicted former Governor Kayode Fayemi is “a demonstration of executive recklessness by Governor Ayo Fayose”.

The Fayose administration, on Monday, released the report of a commission of enquiry it set up to probe the Fayemi administration and barred the former governor as well as some of his aides from participating in politics for 10 years.

APC said neither Fayose nor his government has any power to bar Fayemi or any other individual from holding public office.

Fayose set up the panel to probe how Fayemi allegedly embezzled N852 million State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) loan said to have been obtained from Access Bank Plc.

Fayemi filed a suit against the composition of the panel, citing partisanship of its members for allegedly being PDP members and civil servants who served under Fayose’s authority.

The former governor said he would not get justice from the panel, adding that it was set up to do Fayose’s bidding.

Access Bank appeared before the panel, saying Fayemi never stole any money.

The bank said it returned the loan to its vault when the state government failed to firm up the agreement on repayment.

Yet, the panel turned in its verdict, holding Fayemi culpable.

Fayose raised another panel to issue a White Paper, which banned Fayemi and his Commissioner of Finance, Dapo Kolawole, from holding public offices for 10 years.

In a reaction by its State Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, the party described the panel and the White Paper as a kangaroo stunt to nail Fayemi.

APC said the verdict would not stand because of what it called the illegality that went into the exercise.

The party argued that the Supreme Court had settled it in law that only courts of law can stop any aspirant/candidate from running for any political office and not any administrative or judicial panel of enquiry.

It said: “All Nigerians know that Fayose is recklessly lawless and cannot survive in societies where the law works. His so-called White Paper is not only laughable but also a disgrace to all Ekiti people – home and abroad – with the way Fayose has taken ignorance, vendetta and debauchery to a ridiculous level. We knew all along that this is what Fayose wanted to do.

“We had expected his Attorney General, if he knows his onions, to have advised him that only a competent court of law can bar Nigerians from holding public office under the Nigerian Constitution.

“A situation where Fayose assembled PDP members and pliable civil servants as a panel with a strict directive to indict Fayemi at all costs and thereafter issued a White Paper banning him from holding public office, cannot hold water in a society where the law works.

“With the way he is conducting himself desperately to stop Fayemi from holding public office, we are convinced that Fayose is seriously going through a political haemorrhage and, therefore, his resorting to political desperation and unconstitutional means to nail our leader and a serving minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by any means possible.

“Neither Fayose nor the Ekiti State government has the power to bar or prevent Dr Fayemi or any other citizen from holding public office but a competent court of law. Such wishful thinking cannot stand judicial scrutiny. We advise Fayose and his pitiable undertakers to read the Supreme Court judgment and Atiku Abubakar in a similar matter.”

APC noted that by his “so-called White Paper that cannot over-rule the Supreme Court judgment as a precedent, Fayose has demonstrated recklessness, lawlessness and display of executive rascality arising from his ignorance of the law, constitution and total disregard for the rule of law”.

It added: “It is now glaring that despite Fayose’s empty boasts daily that Dr. Fayemi is a paperweight politician who is not popular at home, the governor’s latest action has proved that the reverse is the case. This barbaric action to halt the political career of a shining Ekiti star has shown that Fayemi is in league of nightmare Fayose has to contend with.

“It is an irony that Fayose, who is supposed to be banned from holding public office because of the plethora of criminal and financial misappropriation cases hanging on his neck, is the one unilaterally banning somebody, who held public office as governor without any blemish and is currently holding that of a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and has performed excellently well, as shown by the ‘Award of Public Excellence’ trophy bestowed on him by credible corporate organisations.

“We expect someone occupying such an exalted position of a governor, like Fayose, to be properly briefed and educated on the limitations of his powers as the head of the executive arm of government, primarily to formulate policy and implement laws, rather than interpret the law and, worst still, assume the position of a judge in a matter involving him as a party.

“We are not going to lose any sleep over a biased political report by a panel of PDP members set up by a PDP governor for the purpose of framing up our leader as a way of settling political scores.

“This is executive recklessness and political rascality taken too far by Fayose and his kangaroo panel. We wonder where he got the power to bar a leading member of the opposition in a democracy.

“We wish to assure our party members and the good people of Ekiti State that the so-called White Paper recommendation by Fayose’s kangaroo panel is not worth more than the paper on which it is written; this shall be challenged in a court of law. We are confident that this shall be quashed because there is no legal precedent or basis for it in the history of our country.

“We also plead with Nigerians to bear with Ekiti people in this moment of our governor’s lawlessness, which has negative implication for the integrity of Ekiti people in choosing their leader.

“We also wish to remind Fayose that his immunity will expire in October and must be prepared to resume trials on his many criminal cases, including those pending in various courts.”

Also, Lagos lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has said Fayose’s ban of his predecessor from holding public office cannot stand any legal test.

In a statement yesterday in Lagos, he said: “In the case of Atiku Abubakar v Attorney-General of the Federation, the Supreme Court held that only a court of law has the power to disqualify and ban a Nigerian citizen from holding public office in Nigeria. So, the apex court set aside his disqualification from holding public office via a White Paper, which was endorsed by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“A similar ban placed on Malam Nasiru El-Rufai by the House of Representatives was also quashed by the court. To that extent, the decision of the Ekiti State government to ban Dr. Kayode Fayemi from politics cannot stand the test of constitutional validity. If Dr. Fayemi challenges the ban in court, he is likely to have it quashed and set aside.

“However, as a serving minister in an administration that is fighting corruption, Dr. Fayemi has a duty to respond to his indictment by the judicial commission of enquiry, which probed the finances of Ekiti State under his watch. Alternatively, he may pray the court to annul the report. But he cannot afford to ignore the findings of the panel.

“Since Dr. Fayemi chose not to appear before the judicial panel, he has to explain his own side of the story to Ekiti people. This is in line with the principle of public accountability enshrined in the Freedom of Information Law and Fiscal Responsibility Law enacted by the Fayemi administration.”

The Nation