Ekiti Citizenship and Governance Centre (ECGC), an Ekiti based socio-political organisation, has commended Governor Ayodele Fayose and his government for the ban placed on former governor Kayode Fayemi, following his indictment by a panel that probed the spending of the 25 billion naira bond secured on behalf of the state during Fayemi’s tenure.
Ekiti State Government had published a White Paper on the report of a Judicial Commission of Inquiry which indicted Fayemi who is the current Minister of Mines and Steel Development. Among other recommendations, the White Paper banned Fayemi from holding public office in the state for 10 years. It also banned the Commissioner of Finance under Fayemi , Mr. Dapo Kolawole .
In a reaction, ECGC in a statement by its Publicity Secretary , Abayomi Ogundele, commended the works of the panel as well as applaud the signing of the White Paper by incumbent governor Fayose, noting that it was a step in the right direction in the ongoing quest to rescue the state from its present economic woes.
The group restated its position that the inquiry by the Ayo Fayose-led government should extend to the phony 6 billion naira Samsung laptop meant to be distributed to Ekiti State teachers and students under the Fayemi administration .
The group noted that throwing searchlight on the activities of predecessors was justified and therefore charged the Ekiti State government to further exploit legal means to ensure that Mr Fayemi faces the full scale of the law.
Ogundele stressed that the only way to restore sanity into the state is to support every move that would ensure that people charged with the responsibility to lead are always kept on their toes on accountability and due diligence.
“We commend the action of the Ekiti State government for picking interest in shedding light on the issue of the 25 billion naira bond collected by former governor Kayode Fayemi and the questionable way it was spent. The panel of inquiry set up by the government has done a good job with its recommendations. Never again shall we allow a thieving leader to rule us. Never again shall we submit ourselves to be ruled with deceit and aggrandizement, ” he said.
In the white paper, the Ekiti State government had chided Messrs Fayemi and Kolawole for their refusal to appear before the commission even after the case filed at the High Court, challenging the setting of the commission was decided in favour of the commission.
The report had accused Mr. Fayemi of diverting funds meant for the construction of various projects, for which the state is now indebted.
The Commissioner for Information, Lanre Ogunsuyi, while addressing journalists after the State executive council meeting on Monday, where the white paper was officially approved, said Messrs. Fayemi and Kolawole exhibited disrespect for a constituted authority, in spite of their “undignified” roles in administering the state during their tenure.
“They are banned from holding public office in Ekiti and any part of Nigeria,” he declared.
“Government views accountability and probity as hallmark of good governance. Therefore, the government decided to set up the Judicial Panel of Inquiry in line with its law enacted in 2012.
“The government viewed seriously the report and it intends to carry out all the recommendations in the report,” he said.
Other aspects of the white paper as read out by Mr. Ogunsuyi include urging Messrs. Fayemi and Kolawole to refund N2.7 billion they allegedly allocated for the execution of the contract for ultra-modern market, which was never executed.
The government further directed the Ministry of Justice to institute appropriate legal actions to ensure the refund and follow up on necessary legal processes.
“His Excellency, Dr Kayode Fayemi and the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Dapo Kolawole should be made to account for the difference of N340 million from the N1.5 billion earmarked from the bond proceeds for the upgrade of infrastructure at Ikogosi Warm Spring which could not be accounted for,” the report stated.
Mr. Fayose, while responding to the recommendations of the white paper, justified the adoption of the recommendations of the report.
“We are doing what is right within the ambit of the law by appointing competent people for the assignment. We must be seen to be doing the right thing and it is not wrong to ask how the finances of the state have been appropriated within a given time and we are following due process,” he said.
Mr. Fayemi had however dismissed the ban, saying, “The entire process and the character personae involved are discredited and since it is impossible to build something on nothing, legally speaking, their recommendation is not only null and void, it is ultra vires.”