Following the indictment of the former Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi by a judicial commission of inquiry which probed his tenure as governor between 2010 and 2014, the state government has banned him from holding public office for 10 years.
Naija News gathered that a white paper which stipulated the ban was released on Monday, also banning the Dapo Kolawole, who served as Commissioner for Finance during Fayemi’s tenure.
The government had accused Fayemi of diverting funds meant for the construction of various projects, for which the state is now indebted.
The white paper, according to Premium Times, also berated 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 Commissioner for Information, Lanre Ogunsuyi, while addressing journalists on Monday, said Fayemi and Kolawole disrespected the constitutional authority, despite their “undignified” roles in administering the state during their tenure.
“They are banned from holding public office in Ekiti and any part of Nigeria. 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. he government viewed seriously the report and it intend to carry out all the recommendations in the report,” he said.
The government also ordered Fayemi and Kolawole to refund the N2.7billion earmarked for the execution of the contract for ultra-modern market, which was not executed.
Justifying the adoption of the recommendation of the white paper, Fayose 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.
“The APC government could probe this and that, even if you say they are biased, what can anyone do? I am not part of the panel that sat for the inquiry, they submitted the report to me and I presented it to appropriate organ and I will do the same with this document. This is not personal in anyway, we are only doing the right thing and following due process.
“The Presidency appointed Ibrahim Magu, and Professor Mamoud and these people are doing their work. The Federal Government also appointed judges, does this mean that these appointees would not do the right things?”
However, Fayemi, who is the current Minister of Mines and Steel Development, in his reaction, described the stipulation of the white paper as “a joke taken too far”, saying it was “perhaps a joke of the century” that “shall not stand”.
He also described the inquiry by the Ayo Fayose-led government as “witch-hunt and victimisation”.
Rejecting the ban, Fayemi said, “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.”
A statement by his Fayemi’s media aide, Yinka Oyebode, said, “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 ridiculous, as neither Governor Fayose nor his paid agents has the power to bar anyone from political participation.”
Fayemi therefore urged the general public to disregard the development, saying it was another act of illegality, from an administration that had “elevated political debauchery to state craft”.