Ekiti Crisis: Schools shut, civil servants desert offices, as Okada riders, commercial drivers invade Assembly complex

Ayo Fayose, Ekiti state governor.

Pupils in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital, were sent back home Monday morning and civil servants stayed away from the State Secretariat for fear of being caught in a potential outbreak of violence following the call by Governor Ayodele Fayose to Okada riders and drivers to rise up and help him protect his mandate.

Nineteen lawmakers of the All Progressives Congress have initiated impeachment proceedings against him and have requested the state chief judge to raise a panel to probe the governor.

A resident of the city, who asked not to be named for fear of his safety, told PREMIUM TIMES that although vehicular movements were not restricted in Ado-Ekiti, there were minimal commercial activities in the town as a large group of Mr Fayose’s supporters from three transport unions in the states gathered at the House of Assembly Complex in anticipation that the APC lawmakers would attempt to meet there.

“I took my children to school this morning and I was told to take them back home. In fact, I saw about six teachers at the gate of a public school close to my children’s school sending pupils home,” he said.

“Most of the ministries are very close to the House of Assembly Complex; most of the civil servants did not come to work because of the tension. I’ve called several civil servants working there and they said there was no life along the secretariat road. They told me that they fear that violence might occur and that it is better they stay at home,” he added.

The transporters were responding to calls by Mr Fayose on the state-owned television station, Ekiti State Television for Okada riders and drivers to mobilise and defend the mandate they gave the governor.

“My mandate is your mandate and you must defend it,” said Mr Fayose in a live broadcast on Ekiti State Television on Sunday.

Soon after the governor’s appeal, the state television intermittently run paid advert by the Okada Riders Association, the National Union of Road Transport workers (NUTRW) and the Road Transport Workers Association of Nigeria (RTWAN) calling on their members to gather at the House of Assembly and help protect the governor’s mandate with “the last drop of their blood”.

Meanwhile, Lere Olayinka, Media aide to Mr Fayose, has denied that the governor is instigating public disturbances and inciting people to attack the APC lawmakers. In an email to PREMIUM TIMES, he said claims suggesting so are false.

He said the people on their own volition have risen up to defend their mandate.

“The reality in Ekiti State today is that the people are rising up to defend their mandate and if Omirin and his APC lawmakers are not working against the people’s mandate, they have nothing to fear. The governor cannot stop the people who voted for him from protecting their mandate,” he said.

He said instead of pursuing the “illegal “ impeachment against the governor, the APC and its lawmakers should ask themselves what they did to offend the people of Ekiti.

He said the result of the March 28 and April 11 elections, where the governor’s party, the Peoples Democratic Party, won all elective positions in the state clearly showed that the Ekiti people do not want anything to do with the party or its lawmakers.

He also blamed Ekiti elites staying in Lagos, Ibadan and Abuja for instigating the plot to impeach the governor.

“Some of these people who called themselves elites were in the comfort of their bedrooms in Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja and abroad when okada riders, traders, drivers, workers, artisans, students and all the common people of Ekiti stayed in the sun and rain to cast their votes for Governor Fayose.

“So because Fayose wants peace and he is committed to it, those who gave him the mandate to govern them for four years should not defend their mandate if it is being threatened by a few people who they have rejected with their votes?

“Instead of making noise in the media, the APC lawmakers, including Omirin and those deceiving him with the prophesy of him becoming acting governor of Ekiti State, should face the reality of their total rejection by Ekiti people and stop running from Idanre to Lagos, Osogbo and Abuja trying to uproot the tree planted by the people of Ekiti.”

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