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    Monday, May 15, 2017

    Ekiti Assembly And Burden Of Mediocrity By Adesoji Gabriel. O

    Ordinarily, I would have continued to ignore the poor activities of the Fifth House of Assembly in my state, Ekiti State (The Fountain of Knowledge, turned Land of Honour), but I can no more stomach the continuous breaking of laws in the hallowed chamber, a place where robust intellectual debates should have been taken for granted in the interest of Ekiti people. But painfully, it has been turned to a playhouse of jesters where Fayose is both the script writer and director...

    I have always heard people pray not to have a better yesterday, but I can say without apology that the Ekiti House of Assembly had a better yesterday, as the Fourth Assembly composed of intellectuals and professionals led by Dr Adewale Omirin is no match for the present gathering of barely educated and artisan members that populate the Fifth Assembly led by Pastor Kola Oluwawole.

    It is disheartening that in spite of the array of scholars that Ekiti State parades, the current Assembly has only one graduate (Dr. Samuel Omotosho), a medical doctor, who though never practised all his life.

    Ordinarily, one would have thought that Omotosho fits the bill as the Speaker, but in Fayose's wisdom, he picked Oluwawole whose academic and professional background is shrouded in mystery, making Ekiti State the butt of jokes among Nigerians.

    But how did we get there? It is only President Goodluck Jonathan, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, Dr. Tope Aluko TKO (embattled PDP Secretary) and Captain Sagir Koli that can explain the script that brought Ekiti State to her knees.

    95 per cent of the membership of the Fifth Ekiti House of Assembly are SSCE certificate holders with no leadership orientation, legislative understanding, and to worsen it, most of them can't even read or write.

    If you consider this an exaggeration, pick the lawmakers at random for a press interview on any national television station and see embarrassment in its raw form. The remaining five per cent have been infected with their illiteracy.

    On June 5, 2015, Hon. Kolawole Oluwawole emerged as the Speaker at a session attended by Governor Fayose. Knowing who Fayose is as a civilian dictator, I concluded that Fayose handpicked the Speaker.

    As if I was a prophet, on June 7th, news broke again that some members protested against the constitution of Committee members and their chairmen when Fayose gave the juicy committees to his loyal boys and sidelined those who had independence of mind tendency, such as Gboyega Aribisogan, who led the internal protest but it was resolved.

    Since then, it has been a nightmarish legislative business in Ekiti State House of Assembly where Fayose in a live broadcast on December 6th, 2016 while presenting the 2017 budget declared: “I am the Speaker of this Assembly. Oluwawole is representing me here."

    On that occasion, none of the members could call Fayose to order, not even the speaker himself. Ever since, I have always held the House members as what they call themselves; an assembly of "yes men" with no legislative character and independence of mind needed in a robust legislature.

    The 2017 budget and its passage still remains mysterious to me. This was a budget that was brought to the house in less than two hours with no one, including members, having access to its contents, yet in few minutes, Fayose in military camouflage, declared the budget passed and thereafter, said: “I am the Speaker. Kolawole is the Acting Speaker. Therefore, if I say this budget will be passed by me, it will be passed.”

    That declaration was the last that was heard about the budget till date, as the lawmakers have exhibited crass ignorance and incompetence in the manner to carry out their duties as the representatives of the people.

    As if these are not enough, on few occasions, these lawmakers protested for almost a week in the state capital in support of Fayose's maladministration, causing traffic gridlock and disrupting business activities of the ordinary people, who they refused to help in making laws that will make their lives worthwhile.

    Not only that: they took this stupidity beyond the state to several embassies embarrassing Ekiti for no genuine reason outside the blackmail of the Federal Government in support of the governor.

    They were so impressed by Fayose's nuisance that they crowned him "King of opposition", even though they could not explain how this had helped common Ekiti people or how this had brought development or attract investors to the state.

    Besides indulging in idleness or unnecessary jamborees whereby the state money is prodigally spent, in-fighting among themselves instigated by Fayose for selfish motives is commonplace. For instance, Gboyega Aribisogan seen as the only clear-headed member was suspended by his own people on Fayose's order to settle personal scores in the interest of the governor.

    Besides these outlandish conducts is the lawlessness and disobedience to lawful orders of the courts by members at the behest of the governor, including conducting themselves as the servants of the governor on servile duties. For instance, Oluwawole refused to swear in a lawmaker declared as the winner of an Assembly seat by a court as the representative of Ado Constituency 1, Hon Toyin Obayemi.

    On the day Obayemi showed up on the floor of the House to be sworn in as ordered by the court, he was manhandled by the Assembly security guards.

    Again, the House could not find its voice when EFCC found about N4 billion in Fayose's Zenith Bank account as a proceed of crime. The House in its wisdom felt that the serving governor was supposed to have more than, hence the house didn't set up panel of inquiry or committee to investigate this money laundering activity but could in its wisdom set up panel of inquiry to probe Fayemi, now the current Minister of Mines and Steel Development, even when the case is before a competent court of law.

    One would have expected these jokers to understand the rules of engagement between them and other arms of government, but instead they prefer trampling on the rule of law to denigrate the nation's constitution or ignore their watchdog roles on the Executive, including keeping quiet when Fayose was closing banks down, forcing them to relocate from Ekiti with the attendant job losses among Ekiti indigenes working in those banks. As I write, Ecobank and GTB are out of the state.

    The last time IGR was mentioned in Ekiti was in May 2016. What used to be within the range of N460million to N800million in Fayemi's regime!

    The amount allocated for the construction of the overhead bridge in Ado-Ekiti, the contractor, supervision and proper scrutiny to fast track the completion of the bridge and other projects of the state isn't their business but could easily declare the former governor wanted for no crime after failing to frame him up.

    While all hope is lost on these jesters, because they can't give what they don't have, I believe miracles can still happen to change their orientation.

    Finally, like we remember former members for their noble deeds in the discharge of their duties, we will not forget the present lawmakers' recklessness and non-chalant attitude towards the progress of our state.
    It is regrettable that the Assembly has done virtually nothing in its legislative duties except passing the anti-grazing bill. Even though it was done with an ulterior motive, it will serve the purpose of protecting Ekiti people's farmlands from the destruction of their cash crops by the cattle.

    The Assembly members are reminded that Fayose's tenure as governor will elapse before their own. It is therefore necessary to button up to the challenges of legislative business to assert their independence as honourable members in defence of democracy for the benefit of Ekiti people. Or when will your independence come, dear honourable members?

    An answer to that is necessary to make a mark in the history of law-making in Ekiti State.

    Adesoji Gabriel. O (ANGELGABBY)

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