Tension rose again in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, on Monday as supporters of the state Governor, Ayodele Fayose, and some Peoples Democratic Party members laid siege to the state House of Assembly in Ado Ekiti .
Their action was to prevent the 19 All Progressives Congress lawmakers from gaining entry to the assembly to actualise their move to impeach Fayose.
While the siege lasted, the national leadership of the PDP and Fayose urged President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in the matter.
News had filtered into the state on Sunday night that the lawmakers had assembled in a hotel in a neighbouring state preparatory to sneaking into Ado Ekiti to remove Fayose and his deputy, Kolapo Olusola.
It was gathered that the news made the police to quickly cordon off the major roads leading to the Assembly complex with their patrol vans and an Armoured Personnel Carrier .
The PDP members and commercial motorcyclists blocked the secretariat and NTA roads which also lead to the complex.
As of 3p.m on Monday, the policemen, the PDP members and the commercial motorcyclists were still seen blocking the roads.
As the tension heightened, Fayose made a statewide broadcast during which he again called on the people to defend the mandate given to him by them.
After the broadcast, commercial life in the city went dead as traders hurriedly locked their shops while civil servants closed their offices and left for their homes.
Fayose had before the broadcast told journalists that all the entitlements of the APC lawmakers had been paid, contrary to Speaker Adewale Omirin’s denial.
The governor flaunted copies of Skye Bank cheques dated May 26, 2015 and issued to the lawmakers to corroborate his claim.
One of the cheques, which bore the name Boluwade Kehinde was received on behalf of the lawmaker and had a sum of N2, 149, 052 .37 on it.
Fayose warned that it would amount to contempt of court for Omirin and his colleagues to continue with the impeachment proceedings against him.
He made reference to the ruling by Justice E.S. Chukwu of the Federal High Court, which ordered that the status quo as of April 23 be maintained pending the determination of a motion on notice before him(Chukwu).
The factional Speaker, Dele Olugbemi, and six other lawmakers had in the suit sought an interlocutory injunction among other reliefs restraining the APC lawmakers from commencing impeachment against Fayose.
The governor said, “They have been dropping the name of President Buhari as giving them the backing to impeach me. How can an Assembly, whose tenure will wind up on Thursday be planning this. I wonder why the issue of the past should be allowed to come to play out now.
“As of the day the court gave the order, I mean April 23, Omirin was not the speaker. It will be wrong for the court order not to be respected. This is illegality and I want to raise this for the public to know.
“Omirin had gone to court to challenge his impeachment but he later withdrew his case, which means he accepted he had been impeached. A cost of N100, 000 was awarded against him.
“So, he is not the Speaker. I am calling on well-meaning Nigerians, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmoud Mohammed, and President Buhari to intervene in this matter.
“How can somebody be living in another state and be planning to invade his own state; this is something else and I view this as a major crime anyone can commit against his people.”
On the payment of the salaries and other benefits to the APC lawmakers, Fayose said, “They came to collect the cheques in Ado Ekiti in company with the Commissioner for Finance, Toyin Ojo.
“The issue would have been discussed publicly during a peace parley but they insisted that it should not be discussed openly because they didn’t want the leaders of their party to know,” he added.
Fayose urged the Ekiti people to keep their eyes on the lawmakers and prevent them from carrying out their plot to remove him.
In Abuja, the PDP accused the outgoing APC lawmakers of trying to cause mayhem as a means of securing political control of the state.
The party warned in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, that its members would be fully mobilised to resist the scheme.
It alleged that the move to create confusion in the state by the lawmakers was a final attempt in their failed mission to unseat Fayose.
The PDP warned the lawmakers to watch their steps and not to take its civility for granted as it would not hesitate to defend the governor with all the force availed by the law.
The statement read in part, “We wish to state in very clear terms that we would not condone any more move by the rejected APC lawmakers to subvert the will of the people of Ekiti state as expressed in the mandate freely given to Governor Fayose.
“These outgoing APC lawmakers whose mandates have already been withdrawn by the people should watch their steps and not in any way take our civility and Governor Fayose’s deportment for peace, unity and harmony for granted.
“We issue this as a final warning. Our members and supporters in Ekiti State are able, willing and ready to defend our mandate using all available instruments granted by the law.
“We have the capacity and will have no other option unless the APC lawmakers retrace their steps and embrace peace. Enough is enough.”
It added that it would not in any way “condone or tolerate any move by the APC lawmakers to subvert the course of justice”.
While commending the people of the state for their courage in standing by Fayose, the party urged Buhari to caution the lawmakers especially given the olive branch already extended to them by the governor.
The party also charged security agencies to be on the alert and ensure that there was no breakdown of law and order in the state.
In Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus, also said that Buhari and the the international community needed to intervene in the Ekiti crisis.
Secondus accused the APC of planning to cause confusion in Ekiti and other PDP-controlled states, warning that such a step was detrimental to the survival of democracy in the country.
He said, “It is the plan of APC to cause crisis in Ekiti State. It is the plan of APC to systematically cause crisis in the PDP-controlled states and this will not augur well for democracy in Nigeria.
“If you recall, PDP has nurtured this democracy for 16 years and we are having today, that has the rule of the game, they are now in power. They were not coerced; they were allowed freedom of the press; rule of law was obeyed and today, Buhari is the President of our dear country.
“We call on the President and we call on the international community to quickly look at what is happening in Ekiti. We ask that the rule of law should be followed.[Punch]