By Olakiitan Victor in Ado Ekiti
The Ekiti State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has advised the state Governor, Ayodele Fayose, to encourage the members of the state House of Assembly to submit themselves to the law over their alleged crimes against the nation’s constitution instead of embarking on blackmail to whip up sentiments for undeserved public sympathy.
Four members of the assembly were whisked away to Abuja by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) at the weekend over undisclosed offences.
The Speaker of the assembly, Kola Oluwawole, had last Saturday reacted accusing President Muhammadu Buhari of witch-hunt over Fayose’s critical comments on the president.
But reacting to the Speaker’s allegation, the Publicity Secretary of the party, Taiwo Olatunbosun, said in a statement that the accusation against the president was not strange to the observers of Fayose’s politics.
He said instead of accusing Buhari of persecution, it was the governor who was persecuting his opponents, citing attacks on the opposition and persecution of APC state Chairman, Jide Awe.
“We have said several times that Fayose’s criticism of President Buhari is a deliberate stunt by the governor to blackmail the president that he (governor) is being witch-hunted by the time the bell tolls for the nation’s law to take its course on Fayose’s various infractions against the constitution.
“Just as expected, Fayose and his agents provocateur have started playing the game as scripted, but Nigerians are not fooled by the governor’s antics to escape justice in his various crimes against the state,” Olatunbosun explained.
He said Fayose and the state assembly members were not the first or only Nigerians to be invited by the DSS for investigation, citing the former APGA National Chairman, Victor Umeh, and other eminent Nigerians who had been invited to answer charges against them but were released after making their statements.
Accusing Oluwawole of whipping “a dangerous ethnic sentiment in a clearly legal matter bordering on crime against the state,” APC spokesman said it was irresponsible for the Speaker to see the current DSS Director General, Lawal Daura, as a Katsina man poised to repeat what another former DSS boss from Katsina, Lawal Rafindadi, allegedly did between 1984 and 1985 to terrorise Nigerians.
However, Fayose has declared that even if the state was invaded by one million armed men of the Department of State Service (DSS) on the order of President Buhari, the government and the people of the state will never be intimidated to surrender governance of the state to political desperadoes, whose four years reign destroyed the economy of the state.
The governor who said the DSS under Buhari was operating beyond its constitutional mandate, added that “the government of state may have to reconsider the usefulness of men of the DSS in the government house and other institutions of the state government.”
In a statement issued yesterday and signed by the Special Assistant to the governor on Public Communications, Lere Olayinka, Fayose alleged that the APC-led federal government was pursuing a clandestine agenda of truncating democracy in the state and other Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) controlled states like Rivers and Bayelsa.
He said: “If Buhari likes, let him relocate all DSS men in Nigeria with the entire ammunition in their armoury to Ekiti, the will of Ekiti people can never be broken. They will only try and like they have always done, they will fail because dictatorship has never triumphed over the people. Even Buhari’s dictatorship between 1984 and 1985 ended one day and Nigerians will also outlive his present dictatorship.”
The governor said the DSS under Buhari’s kinsman, Lawal Daura, has abandoned its core mandate of providing intelligence for the protection of the internal security of Nigeria as provided in the Security Agencies Act Cap. N74 LFN, 2004, adding that: “Instead of assisting the police, military and other security agencies with classified matters, we now have a DSS that is running after perceived opponents of the president, arresting goat and fowl thieves as well as husbands who assaulted their wives.
“If the DSS was alive to its responsibilities, we won’t be having Boko Haram insurgents killing Nigerians, all these kidnappings and Fulani Herdsmen killings, raping and destroying farmlands in the South-west, South-east and North-central zones in the country would have been nipped in the bud.”
Fayose said: “It is obvious that democracy in Nigeria is becoming unsafe in the hands of Buhari and his APC and those keeping silent now because of politics may also end up in the belly of this roaring lion that is threatening to consume our democracy.
“Therefore, Nigerians and the international community should take special notice of the use of the DSS and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to muscle opposition.
“As for me, I wish to say once again that I am not among those Nigerians who are afraid of harassment by any agency of the federal government.
“I make bold to state that in the overall interest of democracy and well-being of Nigerians, I will continue to speak my mind on issues bordering on governance in Nigeria. I will not be intimidated.”