CRISIS seems to be brewing in Ekiti State over allegations and counter allegations of bribery levelled against All Progressives Congress, APC, members in the State House of Assembly by a group, the Ekiti Movement for Good Governance, EMGG.
The group accused the APC lawmakers of demanding a sum of N135 million to clear commissioners and local government caretaker committee members appointed by Governor Ayodele Fayose.
But in a swift reaction, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Dr Adewale Omirin, described the allegation as blackmail and intimidation of Ekiti State House of Assembly by the state government.
He also said some lawmakers were molested for refusing to change parties as requested by Governor Ayo Fayose.
But the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Idowu Adelusi dismissed the allegation, saying Governor Fayose did not order the account of the House to be frozen nor instigated assault on any member of the House.
“The allegations are very untrue. Governor Fayose has not ordered the freezing of account of the State House of Assembly. And neither has the governor asked anybody to either insult or assault the speaker.
“The speaker is only playing politics and in the essence of that maligning the governor.’’
According to the group, the APC lawmakers were said to have demanded for the payment of their outstanding subvention of N48 million as condition to clear the commissioner nominees and the local councils caretaker committee, which Governor Fayose acceded to.
The group said the N48 million subvention had already been released to the lawmakers.
In a statement by the EMGG’s Secretary, Dr Abiodun Aina, the group alleged that after collecting the N48 million subvention approved by the governor, the APC lawmakers declined to attend to the screening and confirmation of the commissioner nominees.
The group alleged that, “this morning (yesterday), the APC lawmakers were called by their party leaders in Lagos, who prevailed on them to continue with their agenda of frustrating Fayose’s efforts to develop Ekiti State and render his government impossible.”
The group added that “instead of performing their legislative duties, for which they are being paid by Ekiti people, the APC lawmakers are asking Governor Fayose to give each member of the House of Assembly a sum of N5 million and the Speaker, N10 million, totalling N135 million.
“In a State already ran aground by the immediate past APC government of Dr Kayode Fayemi, it is ridiculous that some people will allow themselves to be tele-guided by some foreign political merchants such that they will be asking for N135 million bribe in a State where public servants are being owed two months’ salary.
“We are aware that Governor Fayose has declined this obnoxious demand, opting to concentrate the State resources on welfare of the entire people, instead of a few APC lawmakers.
“It is therefore our plea to the APC lawmakers to allow Governor Fayose to perform his duties as a governor. The lawmakers should know that they are members of Ekiti State House of Assembly and not APC or Tinubu’s House of Assembly.”
Reacting to the claim made by the group, the Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Dr Adewale Omirin, voiced concern over incessant blackmail and intimidation of Ekiti State House of Assembly by the state government, saying that Governor Fayose’s reactions to refusal by the APC members to dump their party for PDP are going beyond approved standards of modern governance.
A statement by the Speaker’s Special Adviser on Media, Wole Olujobi, said the latest allegation of demanding N135 million for the screening of Governor Fayose’s commissioner-nominees was a “propaganda taken too far and went against the grains of decency in a fledgling democracy.”
Omirin, who said he would not have reacted if not for the gullible public that would be deceived by lies by the Executive, expressed worry over media reports casting the House of Assembly as a stumbling block to the governor ‘s bid to constitute his cabinet, noted that the reports in the media on the nominees are “misleading.”
He, however, stressed that the House will not be distracted from its record of integrity in making quality laws for Ekiti people as done in the last four years in making 74 laws without demanding for money.
Procedure for clearing nominees
Setting the records straight, he said: “The standard practice is to present the list of the nominees in the plenary while the nominees will follow with the submission of their credentials. They will be screened before confirmation.
“The governor sent three nominees on Monday and the list was read. Since it is a public document, we read the letter second day in the plenary. Nobody submitted any credential. We don’t know the nominees. They have not submitted their credentials for the appropriate committees to screen them. It is surprising that the governor expects the House to confirm the nominees as sent. This is strange in parliamentary conduct.”
Freezing of House bank accounts
Omirin, who regretted that the governor responded by freezing the bank accounts of the House of Assembly, maintained that “one arm of government cannot close down the activities of the other.”
His words: “How can you elevate intimidation and blackmail to an art of governance? The Chief Judge was blackmailed that he took bribes of N20 million to stall hearing on local council development areas case and another alleged N200 million to reassign the E-Eleven’s perjury case to Justice Olusegun Ogunyemi to return guilty verdict on the governor.
After the judiciary had been blackmailed to submission, it is now the turn of the parliament to be brought to its knees by blackmailing members and freezing the accounts of the House as if the House is a department in the Governor’s Office.”
The lawmaker further warned that the governor will have “himself to blame if he continues in his anti-democratic conducts while all members mentioned in the bribery scandal would go to court to seek justice.”
He also threatened that that managements of the Ekiti radio and television would account for libel contained in their broadcasts, adding that “those involved in concocting these damaging acts will be made to account for their actions.”