Over 20,000 private sector workers in Ekiti State, under the aegis of Conference of Ekiti Private Sector Unions COEPSU, trooped out in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital Friday, July 8, 2016, to express their solidarity and support for Governor Ayodele Fayose over his recent travails with the Buhari-led federal government.
The workers decried the the use of agencies of the federal government to harass and intimidate Fayose.
COEPSU said that politicians in Ekiti should imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship such that “the moment election is conducted and winner emerges, the loser should support the winner in the overall
interest of the State and its people.”
COEPSU is the amalgamation of all private sector unions in the State, comprising of drivers unions (NURTW, RTEAN, COOP), tailors, caterers, hunters, tipper owners, musicians, theatre practitioners, beer sellers, artisans, okada riders, saw millers, timber merchants, bricklayers, technicians, independent broadcasters, medicine sellers among others.
Lanre Agbede, COEPSU secretary, while addressing the press a few hours before the inauguration said “the workers are miffed by what is being witnessed in the state today, in which the party that was openly rejected by the people has persistently waged war against the person elected by Ekiti State.”
Agbede, who was flanked by the union’s chairperson, Clement Adekola and all the members of its executive body, said the coming together of the workers was meant to foster unity and peaceful coexistence among themselves in particular and Ekiti people in general, as well as collectively defend the rights of our members and that of the state government.
“It is to the glory of God and that of Governor Ayodele Fayose that members of over 40 private sector unions in Ekiti State have now come together as Conference of Ekiti Private Sector Unions,” the statement said.
“Our coming together is meant to foster unity and peaceful coexistence among ourselves in particular and Ekiti people in general, as well as collectively defend the rights of our members and that of the state government.
“It is our belief that there should be stability in our polity and our coming together will no doubt foster the much needed stability.
“As we are coming together to foster peace in Ekiti State, it is our belief that politicians in the State should also imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship. The moment election is conducted and winner emerges, the loser should support the winner in the overall interest of the state and its people.
“We are miffed by what is being witnessed in the state today, in which the party that was openly rejected by the people has persistently waged war against the person elected by Ekiti State.
“Most importantly, we are not unmindful of the use of the federal government apparatus against the government of Ekiti State, and we wish to state that under a federal system of government that is being practiced in Nigeria, the federal government should not bully any state government under whatever guise.
“It is our view that in every election, the choice remains that of the people and Ekiti people made their choice on June 21, 2014 and that choice must be respected. Those who have formed the habit of causing political instability in Ekiti State whenever they lose elections are hereby warned to desist from collaborating with external forces to cause crisis in the state. They should be mindful of the fact that we are in 2016, and not 2006 when impeachment notices of governors were signed in EFCC office.
“Even though we support ridding Nigeria of corruption, especially in the public service, it is our opinion that there should be no two laws in Nigeria. In its fight against corruption, attention of the federal government must be on all Nigerians irrespective of their political parties and anti-corruption agencies of the federal government must operate within the ambit of the laws.
“A situation where the bank accounts of our governor will be frozen by the EFCC despite that he enjoys absolute immunity is not acceptable to us and we condemn it totally.
“We also demand that all petitions to the EFCC and ICPC on the mismanagement of Ekiti State by the previous government must be investigated and those found to have looted Ekiti treasury must be prosecuted and their loots returned to the state.
“In our view, recovery of money looted from Ekiti treasury is more important to the people of Ekiti State than fund used for the election of anyone and EFCC will do Ekiti and its people a lot of good if it focus its attention more on funds looted from the State.
“We salute the courage of members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly. The present members of the House of Assembly have demonstrated their love and commitment for the peace and political stability of Ekiti State and we commend them.
“We also commend the labour unions in the State for submitting to reasons and calling off the industrial action embarked upon over the non-payment of salary. We are happy that the labour unions accepted that non-payment of workers salary is not the fault of the state governor and it is hoped the federal government will focus its attention on the economy of the country that is almost collapsing.
“It is evident that Governor Fayose has made tremendous strides in the area of infrastructural developments and we are confident that the governor will do more for the State as he did during his first tenure. We, therefore support his government and make bold to say that we will continue to protect the government from external aggressors.
“As we unfold our coming together today, we wish to state that in the interest of Ekiti people, who overwhelmingly elected the governor of their choice on June 210, 2014, we will remain undaunted in our unflinching support for our governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.
“Freedom of thought and expression is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and in exercising this right, Governor Fayose won’t be intimidated by any agency of the federal government.
“To those who lost election in June 2014, they should stop trying to get to power through the backdoor. They should stop this harassment, intimidation and use of federal power to oppress the custodian of the mandate of Ekiti people.
“Lastly, we congratulate our members for this coming together of all the private sector unions in our State and we are confident that this coming together will be the beginning of peaceful coexistence of Ekiti