The Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, has yet to constitute a panel to investigate Governor Ayodele Fayose and his deputy, Dr. Kolapo Olusola, over allegations raised in the impeachment notice against them by the 19 All Progressives Congress’ lawmakers.
The embattled Speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Dr. Adewale Omirin, had directed the CJ to raise a seven-man panel to investigate allegations of impunity, violence, stalking and other constitutional breaches against the governor.
Omirin, the leader of the 19 APC lawmakers in an April 9 letter had urged Justice Daramola to raise the panel within seven days of receipt of the letter.
But the factional Speaker and leader of the Peoples Democratic Party caucus, Dele Olugbemi, in a counter-directive had asked the CJ to ignore the letter.
However, two weeks after, the CJ has yet to raise the panel as directed.
Our correspondent gathered that the Chief Judge had not acknowledged receipt of the letter two weeks after it was issued.
Confirming this to The PUNCH on Thursday, the Chief Registrar of the Ekiti State High Court, Mr. Obafemi Fasanmi, maintained that he was not aware of the letter directing the CJ to raise any panel.
“I’m not aware of any letter sent to the CJ requesting for composition of a panel. The CJ has also not acknowledged that he had received any letter,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers and the APC lawmakers are set on a collision course as the two have openly disagreed on the impeachment proceedings.
While the monarchs have opposed the impeachment plot, saying the people should be allowed to enjoy the mandate “freely” given to the governor, the party accused them of bias in the handling of the crisis.
In a statement issued by the Chairman and Onitaji of Itaji, Oba Adamo Babalola, the council commended the Chief Judge for “rising above partisan positions to uphold the tenet of his office despite obvious pressure from interested quarters.”
The monarchs implored Justice Daramola to ensure that the popular wish of the generality of the people was not subverted.
They also advised the governor to consider giving palliative measures that could alleviate the sufferings of the agitating legislators who had not been paid salaries and allowances since November.
“Council also acknowledges and appreciates the efforts of the law enforcement agents in maintaining law and order in the state and for ensuring that the wish of the people is not truncated.
“…On our part as traditional rulers, council has called on Obas in the communities of the members of the agitating legislators in their different domains to put an end to this impeachment saga and tread the path of peace,” the council stated.
The council wondered why the lawmakers, who had abandoned the state for months resurfaced shortly after Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) of the APC was declared the President-elect. The monarchs described the action as unpatriotic.
The monarchs stated that the landslide victories Fayose had recorded in various elections conducted before and after he assumed office, had confirmed the people’s preference for his leadership.
But the state chapter of the APC said it was not surprised by the partisan role of the traditional rulers judging by their complicity in the festering crisis.
The state Chairman of the party, Jide Awe, in a statement on Thursday regretted that the Obas chose to keep quiet when Fayose turned the heat on the lawmakers but now found it convenient to blame them when the governor was under the threat of impeachment.
He said, “Why praising the Chief Judge for not setting up the panel to investigate Fayose over his illegal acts? This is a clear support for brigandage and lawlessness and it is unfortunate that the crisis is being turned into a profiteering escapade in the face of ridicule and lawlessness in our state by the governor that has put Ekiti people to shame across the globe.