Some youths in Ekiti State on Tuesday protested against alleged persecution of the immediate-past governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, by the incumbent Governor Ayodele Fayose.
Fayose recently raised a judicial commission of enquiry to probe the finances of the state under the administration of Fayemi, who is now a Minister of Mines and Steel Development.
Following this, the minister approached an Ekiti State High Court to challenge the competence of the commission.
Some students of tertiary institutions in Ekiti State had on Monday protested against the move, describing it as an attempt by Fayemi to use the judiciary to shield himself from answering questions on allegations of corruption levelled against him.
The students, who said they represented all indigenes of Ekiti State and who had gathered under the aegis of National Association of Nigerian Students, Federation of Ekiti State Students’ Unions, home and diaspora, had marched with their various placards from the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium to Ojumose, where they addressed newsmen.
Speaking on behalf of the students, the President of FESSU, Idowu Peter, said they were “protesting endemic corruption of political office-holders in Nigeria and we are demanding that the fight against corruption by the Federal Government should be across board and not sectional or restricted to only the opposition party.”
Peter said they were also calling on Fayemi “to face the judicial commission of enquiry set up to probe his activities in government,” saying “he must come to defend himself against the allegation of misappropriation of the N850m State Universal Basic Education Board funds levelled against him and others. He shouldn’t hide under a court injunction to stop the panel if indeed his hands are clean.”
Another protesting student, Temitayo Owolabi, who described himself as the chairman of NANS, Ekiti chapter, said, “If former Governor Fayemi knows he has no skeleton in his cupboard, we demand that he appear before the judicial commission of enquiry set up to make him answer to allegations of misappropriation of funds.
“He should not hide under the judiciary. After all, he, himself, signed the law of judicial commission of enquiry by the state’s House of Assembly. So, he should have the moral courage to face the commission and not run away from it.”
But in a counter-protest on Tuesday, some youths urged Fayose to let Fayemi be because he had served the state well.
They described the setting up of the commission as a “desperate move” to nail Fayemi by all means and persecute him for political reasons.
Acting under the Ekiti Youths Vanguard, they advised Fayose to respect the rule of law as Fayemi had filed two separate cases in court over the plan to probe him.
They also described members of the panel as loyalists of the governor who would not do justice in the matter.
Addressing reporters during the protest, the Coordinator of EYV, Charles Fakunle, said the planned probe was a ploy to divert the attention of Ekiti people from Fayose’s alleged failure to provide good governance.
He said, “Fayose is looking for a scapegoat for his … failure to meet the needs of Ekiti people by diverting public attention from this failure to nail an innocent man.
“Fayemi borrowed N25bn bond money and paid back N14bn before leaving office. Fayose accused Fayemi of incurring a debt of N86bn, which the DMO in the Federal Ministry of Finance had authenticated as N18bn.”