Ekiti State Government has barred a former governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, from holding public office for 10 years. This was issued via a white paper recently released by the state government.
The state also barred his former Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Dapo Kolawole, for the same number of years.
The two were barred based on the report of the Justice Silas Oyewole Judicial Commission of Inquiry which indicted them over an alleged mismanagement of the state’s finances between October 2010 and 2014.
Fayemi, now a Minister of Mines and Steel Development, was the governor during this period.
The white paper declared them “as unfit to hold any public office in the state because of their refusal to appear before this Commission of Inquiry, even, after the determination of the case challenging the inauguration of the Commission of Inquiry before the Ekiti State High Court.
“Their disrespect to the constituted authority and the undignified roles they played in the whole contracts saga were obviously against the interest of the state they were supposed to protect. They are banned from holding public office in Ekiti and any part of Nigeria,” it added.
Briefing newsmen after the State Executive Council meeting, the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Lanre Ogunsuyi, said that Ekiti State was a pacesetter in the management of finances.
He said, “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.”
The white paper mandated Fayemi and Kolawole to refund N2.7bn which was allegedly allocated for the execution of the contract for an ultra-modern market that was allegedly never executed.
It asked Fayemi and Kolawole to also account for the whereabouts of the N468.6m earmarked for the Ero Water Works from the Bond Prospectus which was not utilised.
The government directed the Ministry of Justice to take appropriate legal actions to recover the money.
It also accepted the recommendation that Fayemi and Kolawole “should be made to account for the difference of N340m from the N1.5bn earmarked from the bond proceeds for the upgrade of infrastructure at the Ikogosi warm spring which could not be accounted for.”
The white paper also asked Coscharis Motors to return 17 Joylong buses meant as gifts to the Ekiti State Government or in the alternative, the N76.5m being the cost would be deducted from the outstanding debt the state owed the company.
But reacting, Fayemi through his Special Assistant on Media, Yinka Oyebode, described the ban as “a pre-meditated verdict” and “a joke taken too far.”
“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-hunt 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 ridiculous, as neither Governor Fayose nor his paid agents has 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 vire.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Governor Ayodele Fayose, has defended the government decisions in the white paper.
He said, “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.”