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Interview with the Majority Leader in the Ekiti State House of Assembly.

By Lere Olayinka
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Hon. Lai Oke is the Majority Leader in the Ekiti State House of Assembly. He is also the leader of the PDP Caucus in the House of Assembly which has 13 PDP members and 12 Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) members. He bared his mind with some selected journalists in Ado-Ekiti on the ongoing crisis occassioned by the dissolution of the Local Councils in the state in this interview. Excerpts:

What is the situation of things in the Ekiti State House of assembly?

Thank you, the situation is normal, the house has not actually met

after the illegal sitting on Monday by the 12 ACN lawmakers, but now,

there is every sense of cordiality among the honourable members, the

issue has not been tabled and discussed on the floor of the assembly

as we are talking now, so, we can not say what will be the outcome the

meeting, there has not been any decision on the shameful and illegal

actions by the ACN lawmakers, but I can assure you that anytime the

house sit, that will be the first thing we are going to discuss. As

things are now, to us in the PDP, there is no caretaker, because to us

the thirteen PDP lawmakers, the democratically elected local

government officials have not been dissolved and that is what we are

going to stand on because what the law says is that the house needs

two-third majority of the members and not the house resolution, so,

there is constitutional stipulations on that particular issue and

until now,
the two-third has not met, so, how far the ACN lawmakers and its

government are illegal, null and void and can not stand the test of

time in the face of he law and that remains our position, we, in the

PDP will not and never be part of that charade because if truly they

have been preaching the rule of law and due process, then there should

be ways of doing it, even if the constitution is saying that you can

not dissolve, there is a provision in the state law that you can

dissolve based on two-third, but we also agree that such is not in

agreement with the Nigerian constitution, but even as at that, the

state laws have to be obeyed before you start to talk of the federal

laws, so, we see the moves by both the ACN lawmakers and its governor

as a Jankara kind of actions to get at the people, the actions is more

like a coup-de-tat, trying to impose yourself on the people that do

not actually want you, but to us in the PDP in the house, we still

maintain our
stands hat we are not part of the illegal action, we are apostles of

the rule of law and we are going to follow that to the latter, so, to

us the local government is still intact, if anyone except the

democratically elected council officials, they are like impostors.

What is the relationship between the legislative and the executive arm

of government in the state at present?
It has always been very cordial until recently when the self acclaimed

apostle of law starts to behave funny with his actions and

pronouncements, we have met with the governor sine he came on board

about three times and to us in the PDP, the deliberations have been

very positive, at all the meetings, we assure him that we are ready to

work with him provided he was ready to follow the rule of law based on

what our leader told us, we also told him that whatever our criticism

would be that we will not be subjective, but as objective as possible,

this is part of our agreement and we also agreed to work with the

executive, but with the latest happenings in the state, I can not

guarantee the relationship because its like the governor himself has

drawn the battle line, he has put a line of dichotomy and discord like

saying these are my people and thee are my enemies, but he should

remember that we are all Ekiti people, until now, the relationship has

been very
cordial which the governor himself can attest to, even on the heat of

the crisis, we met with him and he assured us of following the rule of

law in doing everything. It is a pith and shameful that he will sit

there as the governor who assumed office through the rule of law and

allow twelve ACN people to sit illegally and pass what should

ordinarily be passed by two-third of the entire house, its unfortunate

because they can to pretend not to know and with the resolve by the

governor to draw a line of discord, though, we have not really see

this as something that will bring a wedge between us and governor

Fayemi, it only makes us to be stronger as a PDP, focus and for us to

say to the governor that what he has done is wrong and we are going to

tell him, that is exactly what we in the PDP is going to do and not

that we will bring the government down, we are not ready to fight the

way they fought us, but it is a pointer to the fact that there is no

if Governor Segun Oni did not do all these ones, even when we in the

PDP sat by 7 in the morning, governor Oni never liked it, he even

apologized to everybody involved in the matter then, and if that act

could be condemned by the ACN chairman and everybody, we don't now

expect the same party to go ahead and do the same thing, most

importantly is the fact that we don't sit on Mondays, since the

inception of the present house, we have never sat on Mondays, let us

ask our brothers in the ACN if we have ever sat on Monday since 1999,

the day has always been for parliamentary, it shows that they have a

lot of things to hide, they are like usurper who works under all means

and disobey the constitution and to this, we know we have a legal

means to challenge them.
How would you assess the less than two moths of Gov. Fayemi in office?

Oh, it's unfortunate, for the three and half years of the former

governor Segun Oni, we have witnessed a lot of media siege on Ekiti if

Segun Oni should sneeze, the papers will say it is illegal and there

is nothing he handles that would not be condemned by this people using

the media to suppress the administration, now getting to power, we

believe that the activist would use his 'NADECO' experience to do and

put things better, but we now realize that chameleon can never change

his colour, even this present government is worse if not very than

that of his predecessor in office and you can just watch his less than

two months in office, there has been series of illegalities that has

never been experienced in the state, even in less than three weeks of

coming to power and an issue gets the attention of the National

Assembly and calling for the intervention of the Presidency shows that

there is a moral question on Governor Kayode Fayemi and to me, I

will say I have been disappointed because someone you thought would

bring all Ekiti people and everyone together is not doing that and

even instead of concentrating his energy on what were started by his

predecessor and think of how to complete them and put smiles on the

faces of the people, we were informed that he is preparing to go to

the stock market for bond in the name of Ekiti State, when his

predecessor spent over three years and never thought of borrowing and

the government was running, this government in less than three months

going to sell out the future of the state calls for concern, though we

still have it as a rumour, but I know the governor with his actions in

the last less than two months, we are waiting for that and may be he

will not need the assembly again because he has shown us that he does

not need the house of assembly for anything. Though, we heard it as a

rumour, but no one can predict this government with its antecedents in

short time in office, the issue of the dissolution of the local

government, swearing in and the illegal sitting of the 12 ACN members

all started like a rumour, but it all came to reality, the same thing

applied to this issue of bond, even if it is coming in the realms of

rumour, we know it is true because we read it in one of the newspapers

that his administration is looking into the consortium of going into

bond for the infrastructural development of the state, which is an

attestation to the fact that he will approach the stack market and

from what we have witnessed in the past one month, Governor Fayemi

does not need the house of assembly to pass any law for him, what he

is going to do is to just arrange the twelve, appoint a Speaker

pro-tempore and pass whatever he wanted to be passed, that's exactly

how he wants to operate, he does not need us for anything, he just

need an approval and which he can organize in the government house.

What effect is the on-going have on the state?
Thank you, but the question is does the governor himself care about

the effect on the state or what effect does the dissolution of the

councils have on the state, this is a governor that does not care,

this is a governor that want to impose himself on the people of the

state by all means and it is a pity that judicial victory is turning

to another thing in Ekiti State that pride itself the Fountain of

Knowledge, the effect will be unpalatable and the PDP lawmakers in the

state house of assembly will not support such high level of

intolerance and undue illegality, we will not and never support the

move of taking the bond without cogent reason why the bond should be

taking and if eventually that is done, that means the PDP will finally

draw a battle line with his government, the worst they could do is

also to use their usual twelve to sit at the government house the way

they did, even the facts at our disposal revealed to us that they were

not twelve, but
that only eight of them sat and that they did not even do anything,

but only entered the floor of the house and came out, so, any video

you are seen is just a make shift, came to the assembly with the

security of the government house and particularly the head of the

private security to the governor, coerce all the assembly staff

including the clerk was waylaid by the ACN honourable members even

when the house has adjourned sine die which could only be called off

by Mr. Speaker alone, it is only unfortunate that the whole things has

been perfected and released to the media, one thing is now clear to us

the PDP honourable members that the governor does not need us again

for anything, but history will judge right or said in the future that

there was a governor in Ekiti State that bye passes the house of

assembly to do whatever he wants to do, the commissioners, budget and

any other issues that requires the assembly who knows, he does not

need the house of
assembly to pass anything for his government , this is a slap on

democracy and the constitution that creates the separation of power,

he has turned himself to a civilian dictator, he can always use twelve

to achieve his aims and objectives, but he should also be reminded

that there was a governor who always obey and respect the house of

assembly and that person was the former governor Olusegun Adebayo Oni,

anytime he sends a bill and was not enjoying the support of the ACN,

we know how to pet and appeal to them to ensure that the bills scale

through, while there are other some that they did not support and the

former governor never created any room for crisis or bye pass the

lawmakers for any reason. Also, during the Segun Oni time in office,

he never applied for bond and I never heard he was planning to apply

for one, I read recently that he said we should go to court, which

court if I may ask, there is a court pronouncement that the government

did not
obey, are you sure this government of the day will now obey any court

instruction, do they even believe in any court system, I learnt this

case is even before a court which the house is not even suppose to

deliberate upon, it's a contempt of court, this case in court will

come up on December Ist and they went ahead to go and do something

against the pronouncement of the court and these are the people that

will be asking you to respect the rule of law, although, it is only

when it favours them that they tell you to respect the rule of law,

but if it did not favour them, they don't respect the rule of law.

What therefore is the situation in the house now?

Like I said, the situation is normal, we the PDP members pretended as

if nothing has happened, though am not saying because Mr. Speaker is

not around, but we went to meet with Mr. President to solicit for one

of the newly approved Federal Universities for the state, we went on

behalf of the people we represent and we met with him and thank God

that we succeeded, its not that Mr. Speaker was incapacitated, sick or

absconded and nobody has declared him wanted or missing, so, on what

basis will a group of eight now gang up to go and sit and appoint a

Speaker pro-tempore, it is shameful that people that called themselves

honorable members and an apostle of the rule of law could do that on

Monday that we don't even sit, more so, when we had adjourned sine die

and the only person who can call for the sitting of the house is the

speaker, it became more worrisome that the lawmaker that moved that

motion on that we need to adjourn sine die was Hon. Funminiyi

Afuye, so, I don't know why they want to stab the constitution on the

head, they can do it because they believe they are in power and

because they are ACN, because PDP can not do it, was there an urgent

issues that warrant such sitting that is calamitous or was there an

outbreak of epidemics, there was nothing that warrant urgent sitting

of the legislative arm on that day, so, we view it that they have

never sat, because they want to appoint caretaker, what is the

importance of the caretaker to the people that is constitutional to

warrant urgent sitting on the day we don't usually sit, there was no

order paper, no record, but when we resume these are what we are going

to resolve whenever we sit. They are now telling us that twelve can

appoint, but two third can impeach, what is the basis, when it was not

that the house was boycotted, I can assure you that it will not go

unchallenged, as I am talking to you now, the lives of the 13 PDP

lawmakers is
not safe and we are object of attack, like what happened in the

assembly the day we scheduled to sit, we were surrounded by thugs,

even the security that were there, we can not trust them because we

don't know who put them there, we are sure that there was no crisis to

warrant Mr. Speaker to call for security, even if he will do it, he

will inform us, but these stern looking people most of them we have

never seen before, we don't know who ordered for them to come to the

assembly, if we attempt to sit that day, its either most of us the PDP

lawmakers will go back home handicapped or battered, most of them were

not even uniformed police, the PDP people have to run for our safety,

as we are now, most of us are in hiding for the fear of attack because

presently in Ekiti, our lives is not safe, this government as we have

observed is a government of do it by force, but we will not stop

talking, the PDP that we know, that we are don't believe in the Pull

Him Down syndrome, we will continue to support the present government

as long as it does not continue with the illegalities and reverse the

illegal actions and pronouncements committed earlier, which we believe

were done in error, then he will have a smooth tenure, but as long as

it continue with its present terror-like system, then we are also

ready for the government.