Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose has banned his predecessor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, from joining the 2018 governorship race, as speculated in many quarters.
The Fayose administration, yesterday, accepted the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry to bar Fayemi from holding public offices in Ekiti State and other parts of Nigeria for 10 years.
The panel, which was chaired by former Acting Chief Judge, Justice Silas Oyewole (retd.), submitted its report on December 13, last year, to Fayose and recommended that Fayemi must refund over N2 billion and return 17 vehicles.
Also recommended for 10-year ban from public office is the former Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Dapo Kolawole, who served under Fayemi.
The recommendation followed the receipt of a White Paper on the report of the Judicial Commission of Enquiry which investigated the handling of the state’s finances during the Fayemi administration between October 2010 and October 2014.
The White Paper also recommended that the duo should refund various sums of money to the coffers of the state government.
The State Executive Council (Exco) accepted the recommendations and adopted the White Paper at an emergency meeting yesterday.
Fayemi is the Minister of Mines and Steel Development while Kolawole is a board member of the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA).
The ex-governor refused to appear before the panel on account of a lawsuit he filed to the effect that he would not get justice at the panel.
He claimed that members of the panel are loyalists, associates and card-carrying members of Fayose’s party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Although Fayemi is yet to declare intent to run for the July 14 governorship election, his foot soldiers are working to draft him into the race.
His posters with inscription “Happy New Year, JKF Again” appeared in Ado-Ekiti and other major towns last week.
The recommendation banning Fayemi and Kolawole appears on page 22 of the White Paper.
It reads: “Government accepts the recommendation to bar Dr. John Kayode Fayemi and the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Dapo Vincent Kolawole, from holding public offices in Ekiti State for 10 years.”
On Page 15 of the White Paper, Fayemi and Kolawole were declared “unfit to hold any public office” for their refusal to appear before the seven-man jury to give evidence on how they managed the state treasury when they were in office.
It reads: “Both His Excellency, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, and Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Dapo Vincent Kolawole, are recommended as unfit to hold any public office in the state for their refusal to appear before this Commission of Enquiry, even, after the determination of the case challenging the inauguration of this commission before the Ekiti State High Court.
“Their disrespect to the constituted authority and the undignified roles they played in the whole contract saga, were obviously against the interest of the state.”
The White Paper recommended that Fayemi, Kolawole and other members of the erstwhile Exco should account for N2,750,000,000 allegedly allocated for the execution of the contract for the ultramodern market “which was never executed”.
‘Governor’s kangaroo panel’s recommendations laughable’
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said the White Paper the state government released yesterday on his alleged probe is a joke taken too far.
A statement by his Senior Special Assistant (Media), Olayinka Oyebode, reads: “The attention of the Media Office of the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has been drawn to the pre-meditated verdict of the Ekiti State government, as contained in the White Paper submitted by the panel set up by Governor Ayo Fayose to investigate the finances of the state between 2010 and 2014.
“While we believe it is part of the responsibilities of the state administration to look into the finances of the state at any point in time, we are also of the belief that such must be done in a very responsible manner devoid of prejudice, witch hunting and a calculated attempt to victimise a citizen.
“In this particular case, the entire process is discredited right from the beginning, as the only agenda of the panel was to rubbish Dr Kayode Fayemi’s public service record.
“One is therefore not surprised at the recommendations of the White Paper: It only goes to confirm our initial position that the panel was compromised right from inception and targeted against Dr Fayemi.
“In his desperation, Governor Fayose chose the crude and ignoble path towards hitting a perceived political foe.
“In the process, they ignored the rule of law and behaved as if the court does not matter; thus making their actions subjudice to the court.
“Fayose was, however, misguided into believing that he could pass a death sentence on Dr Fayemi’s public service with the White Paper. This is not only laughable but also ridiculous, as neither Governor Fayose nor his paid agents have the power to bar anyone from political participation.
“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.
“We urge the teeming supporters of Dr Fayemi, the good people of Ekiti State and the general public not to be disturbed by the development. It is simply another act of illegality, from an administration that has elevated political debauchery to state craft.
“It shall not stand. It is nothing but a joke taken too far, perhaps joke of the century.”