The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has detained former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose.
“I can confirm to you that he has been detained. We entered the EFCC with him but we were asked to go later. But up till now, he is still with them and he has been rendered incommunicado,” his spokesman, Lere Olayinka told The Guardian around 6:30 p.m. yesterday. A source within the anti-graft agency also insisted detention was a most probable outcome.
The action ends a long drama watched keenly by the public. While the EFCC made a poor show of concealing its desperation to arrest the former governor, Fayose told everyone who cared to listen that he had nothing to fear and would turn himself in yesterday.
At 12:59 p.m., he arrived on the premises of the EFCC, accompanied by Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, a former minister of aviation, Femi Fani Kayode, human rights activist, Deji Adeyanju, and a legal team led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozhekome.
Clad in a pair of jeans trousers and a blue T-shirt with the bold inscription, ‘EFCC I’M HERE!’ he slung a complementary blue bag across his shoulder, supposedly containing his personal effects.
Fayose told reporters: “I am here, in line with my promise that I will be here on the 16th of October, like I said to the EFCC to await my arrival. This morning, they came to my house. They cordoned off my street, which I feel personally is unnecessary and unwarranted. When a man says he is coming, he should be given the benefit of the doubt. I have left Ekiti, so whatever they need to ask today, I will be able to respond appropriately.”
Earlier yesterday, he tweeted: “In few minutes, I will be at the EFCC Old Office, Wuse 2, Abuja. I’m a man who stands by his words and I hope that after today, those President Buhari’s men that have been accused of corruption will also be bold enough to submit themselves to the EFCC.”
While the scene played out, a group of placard-carrying women, who identified themselves as Widows of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), stormed the premises, saying the former governor must not be detained.
The anti-graft agency wants Fayose to explain his role in the alleged receipt of N1.2 billion from a former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, through a former minister of state for defence, Musiliu Obanikoro. The money was allegedly given to him in the buildup to the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State. Fayose’s aide, Abiodun Agbele, and others had already been arraigned by the EFCC, while Fayose’s immunity from prosecution lasted. He is also wanted over alleged contract fraud.
But while Fayose walked into a world of investigations, in Ekiti State, thousands of excited residents walked into the main bowl of the Ekiti Parapo Pavilion to witness the swearing-in of his successor, former minster of mines and steel development, Kayode Fayemi.
Clad in a white agbada and a brown cap, the new governor took the oath of office administered by the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, promising the dawn of a new era.
“Never again will Ekiti slip into the hands of those who knew nothing about governance. Never again shall we allow our school children to pay taxes. Never again shall we abandon the burgeoning resources at Ikogosi Warm Spring to waste. Never again shall we allow our judiciary to be debased by a draconian government. And never again shall the most educated state, like Ekiti, be apostle of stomach infrastructure that has made us a laughing stock,” Fayemi declared.
He also revealed that all the finances of the Fayose administration would be reviewed in a non-vindictive appraisal. He regretted that the state was burdened with a N170 billion loan debt acquired by the last administration. This challenge, he however added, would not stop his government from delivering the dividends of democracy.
Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mustapha Boss, noted: “We are confident that Fayemi will help cover the lost grounds brought by the past administration. From today, you will begin to have a new breath in Ekiti under the present government.”