The 19 APC lawmakers of the Ekiti State House of Assembly on Thursday, April 30, 2015 shunned the peace meeting convened by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to reconcile them with Governor Ayodele Fayose.
The lawmakers in a statement by Speaker Adewale Omirin’s Special Adviser on Media, Wole Olujobi, explained that while they lauded the peace moves initiated by the eminent lawyer, surrounding circumstances made them feel that the Ekiti governor was not prepared for any resolution of the crisis.
Specifically, the lawmakers said the security measures put in place for the peace parley revealed that the governor had a plan to attack and arrest some of them.
The lawmakers proposed that the meeting be moved to Ibadan office of the Senior Advocate while members of the committee must be non-partisan elders.
But Babalola at the meeting asked the Commissioner of Police, Ebojune Ibine, and the State Director of Department of State Service, Mr. Duke Fubara, to explain if they planned to arrest the lawmakers.
Both of them said that they had no instruction from anywhere to arrest anyone.
To ensure attendance of all parties, the founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, said he gave an undertaking to personally lead the APC lawmakers out of the town after the meeting.
He said over 200 policemen had also been stationed at the entry point at Imesi to ensure their safety in and out of the town.
Reacting to Babalola’s claim that he had made security arrangement for 200 policemen to protect them into and out of Ado-Ekiti, the APC lawmakers said this arrangement had given away the motive of the peace meeting.
They wondered why the peace would include provision of security to escort them out of the state instead of escorting them to the House of Assembly to continue their legislative duties.
“We cannot hold any meeting on the basis of monetary settlement in isolation of the consideration of the constitutional breaches by the governor. It is amazing that the truce terms will not include resumption of our duties, but just to settle us monetarily and escorting us out of Ekiti State,” the statement explained.
Picking holes in the arrangement for the meeting, the lawmakers wondered why the governor was announcing the peace meeting intermittently on the state media while secretly mobilising the PDP members from the 16 local governments to storm the venue of the meeting.
“What is this all about if not coded incitement for mob attacks?” the lawmakers queried.
They also insisted that the security agents told them in clear terms that they could not guarantee their security and warned them against passing through the streets of Ado-Ekiti to the venue of the meeting.
They added that their discovery of a plot to arrest them confirmed their fears that even though Babalola might not know Fayose’s mindset, the revelation and what their government’s sources told them were enough to call off the meeting for a safer venue outside the state capital.
Listing their truce terms, they demanded immediate removal of all illegal structures that aid the activities of thugs and miscreants in and around the Ekiti State House of Assembly premises; restoration of the constitutionally recognised Speaker (Omirin), and other principal officers illegally impeached back to their lawful positions; and the G19 should be allowed unfettered access to and from the Ekiti State House of Assembly to perform their legislative duties until the expiration of their tenure on June 6, 2015.
Others include stoppage of political arrests and vendetta against the APC members adding that the governor should facilitate these demands between now and May 4, 2015.
They expressed sincere appreciation to the elders who facilitated the meeting and urged them to consider holding the meeting at a neutral and safer venue.
Govcernor Fayose at the meeting promised to shift ground on contentious issues if that would return peace to the state.
The governor, who said his gesture should not be taken for cowardice, also denied allegations by the lawmakers that he had connived with security agencies to arrest them if they appeared for the meeting.
“Within the ambit of the laws, I will respect the views of all of them. If there is anybody who should be evasive, it should be me because their time has almost expired. The guilty are afraid.
“They said I sent police to arrest them, where will I keep them after arresting them? We should stop playing to the gallery in a matter like this. I’m ready to shift ground. I’m ready to ensure they depart and finish their tenure successfully and whatever is due to them, I’m ready to pay. That is not an act of cowardice.
“I’m prepared to make peace and work in the overall interest of the state. I’m ready to submit myself to this meeting as many times as possible.”