.Governor promises to shift ground on payment of lawmakers’ benefits
Despite the absence of the 19 All Progressives Congress lawmakers at the peace parley called by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to resolve the impeachment crisis rocking Ekiti State, the legal icon on Thursday began a process of reconciliation by meeting with Governor Ayodele Fayose and the factional speaker, Hon Dele Olugbemi .
The meeting, which was held at Afe Babalola University in Ado Ekiti amid tight security , had eminent Ekiti elders like Chief Deji Fasuan, a retired Permanent Secretary and co-Chairman, Ekiti Council of Elders, former Minister of National Planning, Chief Ayo Ogunlade , former Secretary General of the Yoruba Council of Elders, and Dr Kunle Olajide, in attendance.
The Commissioner of Police, Ekiti Command, Mr Joshua Ibine, and the Director of the State Security Service, Mr Duke Fubara, led personnel numbering over 200 to provide security at the meeting .
Part of the resolution reached at the parley was that the Governor would be ready to shift grounds on the leadership crisis in the Assembly and on all other contentious issues if the lawmakers can attend the next peace parley whose date is yet to be announced.
There was an indication on Wednesday that the 19 APC lawmakers might not attend the meeting as a statement issued by the embattled Speaker, Hon Adewale Omirin, described the parley as a booby trap.
He alleged that Fayose had set up measures to get them arrested, and raised doubt about the safety of his members ,
saying he heard from grapevine sources that the governor was planning to arrest them and detain them till June 6 when their tenure would expire.
Speaking at the occasion, Chief Babalola displayed several text messages exchanged between him and Omirin, where he assured the lawmakers that adequate security had been prepared to ward off any attack against them.
Chief Babalola said he decided to meddle in the crisis between the Governor and the lawmakers because of his stake in the ‘Ekiti Project’, adding that he had earlier gotten letters from the Nigerian Labour Congress and Chief Kunle Olajide on the need to resolve the lingering impasse.
The eminent lawyer said: “The Inspector General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase mandated the State Commissioner of Police and other security outfits to personally provide security at this meeting. So, I see no reason why the lawmakers were afraid of their safety.
“At my age, about 86, I don’t want to be seen meddling in politics, because I don’t want insult from anybody. I even assured Omirin that I will ask the CP and the Director of SSS to sign an undertaking to lead his members in and out of Ekiti to ensure their safety, all for this parley to be successful.”