Friday, 24 June 2016

N4.7b Election Fund: Protest erupts in Ekiti

N4.7b Election Fund: Protest erupts in Ekiti
The alleged involvement of Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State in the sharing of N4.7 billion released for the 2014 governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun State Friday sparked a massive protest in Ado Ekiti,the state capital.
Thousands of protesters stormed the streets condemning what they termed the looting of the treasury in the midst of wide spread suffering by the majority of the people.
They asked the governor to resign having failed to pay civil servants for the sixth month running while he has billions of naira in his own personal account.
The protesters declared their support for the anti-corruption crusade of President Muhammadu Buhari and called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to bring Fayose and others who have been indicted to book.
The anti-corruption agency during the week named Fayose as a major beneficiary of the slush fund.

Consequently it restricted the governor’s Zenith Bank accounts which it said were used in sharing the alleged loot.
Fayose has denied any wrongdoing and claimed that the bank funded offered to sponsor his election campaign.
The governor’s denial made no impression on the protest organizers – Be The Change Organization (BCO) – which mobilized labour unions, Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), artisans, market women, youth organizations and student bodies to join in the Fayose-must-go rally.
They took off from the  Fajuyi Roundabout in Ado Ekiti at about 8.50am ,carrying placards with inscriptions such as: ‘Support Anti-Corruption Crusade, Probe Executive Looting in Ekiti’; ‘What Happened to Ekiti Airport Fund?’; ‘Fayose Must Go’; ‘ Fayose is a Disgrace to Ekiti People’; among others.
From the Fajuyi Roundabout, they moved to Okesa, Ojumose and finally  Okeyinmi Roundabout throwing jibes at the governor.
They distributed leaflets to traders, commercial drivers, pedestrians and bystanders detailing how the state treasury is being allegedly looted and the personalities and corporate organizations believed to be involved.
Officers and men of the Ekiti State Police Command were on hand to ensure that the rally did not get out of control or hijacked by hoodlums.
Executive Director of BCO, Mrs. Omotunde Fajuyi, said Ekiti people are embarrassed by the EFCC allegation against the governor and declared that all Nigerians must support any move to recover the people’s commonwealth from looters.
Mrs. Fajuyi said: “We support President Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade. We have come out to protest the looting of our money, corruption in government and scandals dodging this government in Ekiti.
“Workers are dying at home. We want Fayose to explain what he has done with the allocations he has so far collected because he has received more than N50 billion as allocation since he came to power.
“Fayose claims to be a Christian, he must come out clean and give account to the people of Ekiti State and he must submit himself and all his aides and associates to the anti-corruption agencies for investigation.”
A youth leader, Adeoye Aribasoye, challenged Fayose to explain what he did with the ecological funds and the N9.6 billion bailout funds he received from the Federal Government.
Aribasoye said: “We have a governor who has over N4 billion in his account .He is the only one who can explain what he has done with all the funds he has received from the federal authorities.
“He must explain the N2.4 billion ecological funds because we don’t know what has happened to the money. He must answer for the revelations of Ekitigate.
“Pupils and students of public schools have been out home for over four weeks due to the strike embarked upon by civil servants and teachers.”
The court-validated Chairman of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Kolawole Olaiya, urged the EFCC to probe the whereabouts of the N9.6 billion bailout money released for the payment of workers, pensioners and past political office holders.
Olaiya said: “Corruption is responsible for the inability of Ekiti State government to pay workers’ salaries for six months.
“Ekiti workers still believe that the N9.6 billion bailout is kept somewhere and we urge the EFCC to institute a probe into this fact so that workers can receive their six month salary arrears and secure their future.
“Government is created for the welfare and security of the people and Governor Fayose has done nothing to improve the lives of the people and secure their today and their future. Enough of these lies, Ekitk people must be liberated.
“Today in Ekiti State, public primary and secondary school students, including those in private schools are now paying taxes. This must stop. It is at variance with the 1999 Nigerian Constitution; imposition of obnoxious taxes in Ekiti State must stop.
“We want Ekiti State workers to note that Fayose is nobody’s friend.Teachers, civil servants, public servants, local government workers, artisans, driver unions etc must note that Fayose is not your friend.
“Workers are dying for non-payment of salaries for six months including pensioners. Fayose must be brought to book not minding Section 308 immunity.
“It is criminal not to pay workers and pensioners for six months. The federal government sent N9.6 billion to Ekiti State as bailout, how was the bailout expended and who are the beneficiaries? What accrues to the state as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is not known to the people.”
Speaking on behalf of artisans, Idowu Ayegbe said: “We regret all the burden the governor has imposed on us in Ekiti in form of levies and taxes on our pupils. We are not happy with what the governor is doing including his attacks on the President.”
The state CNPP spokesman, Ayo Adelabu demanded Fayose’s resignation from office in the face of new evidence of alleged corruption .He also asked  the management of Zenith Bank to come out and explain the role  of the bank in the alleged funding of Fayose’s  campaign.
Adelabu said : ” Fayose should resign  from office over his failure to live up to people’s expectations.He should come out and defend himself in the N4.7 billion arms deal scandal and we also challenge him to explain to Ekiti people how he has spent six months allocation without payment of workers’ salaries.
“The CNPP warns Fayose to stop abusing Mr. President who has been enjoying the full support of the majority of Ekiti people.
“The CNPP strongly condemns Ekiti State legislators who have turned themselves to political slaves in the hand of Fayose. The governor should also come out and explain the N2.3 billion loan he took from bank.
“The CNPP advises Governor Fayose to immediately stop the flyover bridge project and caution his political thugs against the attack of innocent people in the state.”
Meanwhile, an interest group, Ekiti Redemption Group (ERG), has called on Fayose to pay all the six month arrears of workers’ salaries or face a legal action and “unending protests”.
The group gave Fayose a seven-day ultimatum to pay all arrears of salaries and pensions failure of which the administration will be dragged to court to explain how treasury is being managed.
ERG National Coordinator, Morakinyo Ogele, in a statement yesterday  said Fayose’s campaign was anchored on stomach infrastructure but expressed surprise that his administration has unleashed hunger, hardship and untimely death on the people through poverty and financial recklessness.

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