How Fayose Set me Up - Adewale Omirin
° Fayose Framed Me Up – Omirin
° i was Purportedly impeached -Omirin
Interviewed by Tai Oguntayo
Can you tell us about how you were brought up?
Well, I am a local man, I grew up purely in Aisegba. My father was a farmer, the first photographer in my hometown. When he was made a chief, he dropped the photographic job and took to farming. So I grew up in Aisegba. I attended Holy Trinityand St Mathias primary schools, both in Aisegba. I attended St Jude Modern School for three years where I was among the few that passed the final exams from where I went to Oyemekun Grammar School, Akure. That was the first time I left Aisegba because I left my mother at the age of four in 1960 but my father took good care of us all.
Can we start with your most embarrassing moment in life?
That was when I gained admission to Federal School of Arts and Science, Mubi in Gongola State. You know, I finished in Oyemekun Grammar School which was and still is a boys’ school where I used to dress anyhow because we were all boys. So when I got to Gongola State, I was still dressing along that line until one day I saw a cartoon on the board which says; “one of the drivers was fond of rough parking”. I was the one that first read it but didn’t know it was referring to me until my friends came making jest of me that I then went back to look at the cartoon and observed that it was actually referring to me. Rough parking means not putting your manhood in the right place whenever you wear your trousers and we were fond of doing at the boys’ school. I felt so embarrassed and could not go to the dining for one week.
What of your most embarrassing moment in politics particularly in the House of Assembly?
The embarrassing moment I had was embarrassing moment that all the former Speakers of the House had. House of Assembly is where the real politics is because every member of the house is a potential Speaker. It is the place where the real politics happens, every stage, you want to be impeached. When I was given that post, I did not envisage such problem until it started happening to me. I was afraid of my name not to be tarnished and it happened more than one, two, three or four times. Each time they want to impeach you whether you offended them or not, they always cook up lies about you.
Is there any specific one that really embarrassed you?
Yes. It was the one I cannot forget in my life when we want to the United States of America. They accused me of being the one who employed the man that took us there. They impeachment was almost succeeding before the governor waded in by confirming to them that he was the one who actually engaged the man. So these are the kinds of things you have in the house.
What were the roles of the members of G-19 in the botched impeachment plot against Governor Fayose?
Briefly I will talk about it but it is a long story that if I start talking about it, we may not finish until very late in the night. When this man (Fayose) came in on Friday October 17, 2014, I could not attend the inauguration for security reasons because he already started telling people that I didn’t want him to be inaugurated. However, I went for the thanksgiving at the Deeper Life Church and on Monday, we had a parliamentary meeting where we took the decision that we were going to work with him three of us were selected to go and have audience with him, two of the honourable members; Hon Orinowo and Hon Odebunmi went with me. We told him that we didn’t have any problem in working with him as the governor of the State. We make him realize that if he is interested in the progress of the State, we are also interested in the progress of the State. So he fixed a meeting with us on Tuesday but I told him I had an appointment in Abuja on Tuesday so we had to fix it for Wednesday because we agreed that I should be back very early on Wednesday. On that Tuesday, the Personal Assistant to Asiwaju (Tinubu) called me that he wanted to see all of us, the honourable members but at that time, six of them had defected so only 20 of us went. Alex Adeojo from South West from Igbara Odo still went with us. By the time we were holding the meeting which is a normal thing in politics to hold meetings with your leader, the meeting was already circulating in Ekiti State that we had gone to Lagos and that Tinubu gave me 100 million and other members 50 million each to impeach Fayose which was not in the agenda of the meeting we held. Before I came, he had locked up my filling station. The place was locked up on October 15, 2014 and up till today, there is no where I asked him why did you lock it up and up till today, there is no where I asked him please open my filling station. He locked it on his own and opened it on his own. In fact, he even told some people that “this is my is stubborn” because he thought I was going to beg him. So he knew why he closed it, and he knew why he opened it! I was not ready to negotiate anything with him. We went along that line nothing like impeachment came to our minds as a matter of fact. Even after he had driven us outside the State, nobody thought of impeachment until April this year. When the issue of impeachment became the last resort, I was told and I called the other honourable members that this is the situation of things and we agreed that we were going to impeach him on constitutional offences but unfortunately, the problem we had as at that time was the division we had in APC. People saw those that were driving the impeachment as wanting to drive away Fayose and take control of the party (APC) and I am telling you today, I Rt Hon Adewale Omirin never had such agreement with anybody. Nobody told me anything that after the impeachment, this was what we were going to do. There was no anywhere anybody told me that “when you take over as acting governor, this is what I want you to do”. For crying it loud, I am not a baby and I see no reason why anybody should start pushing me around and I am a medical doctor not just a push over. So when the issue of impeachment came up, the only thing we realized was that, the party (leaders) felt they were not carried along but the issue of impeachment as far as I am concerned, is a prerogative of the house. The house decides whether it wants to impeach or not to impeach, nobody sends us an errant but as party loyalists, our party members are supposed to be carried along. Even though they were not initially carried along, as the impeachment process went on, everybody’s hand was on deck and the issue of money came up that the honourable members took money from one source or the other. As far as I am concerned, no honourable member took more than one million for that impeachment, nobody! That was given to us before Easter 2015 because we were all in the hotel, paying for our accommodation, paying for our feeding. We were all in the hotel since November 16 when we were driven out of Ekiti State. We were all there eating on our own, so the one million naira was to cushion the effect of the hardship.
Was there any mole in the G-19?
As far as I am concerned the failure of the impeachment was due to the division in the party, as far as I am concerned the entire G-19 was loyal to the party. Mole or no mole, if we had gotten the right support, the impeachment would have succeeded. The three time we came to Ekiti State, there was never a time, 18 people came, we were all 19 on the three occasion but the major reason why the impeachment failed was that there was no security. You know the role of the members of the house of assembly is not more than 20 to 25 per cent, the remaining 80 or 75 per cent is that of the Federal Might. If there is no security, there is nothing we can do. The same time we were almost burnt off at Itawure when the Police and Army stopped us but if the Federal Government was fully interested the security would be deployed. The first time Fayose was impeached, the security was there but this time around no security was given. As a result, we could not go ahead may be because the President as the father of all did not want to get himself in such project at such early stage of his administration and I comment him for that. So that is the major reason why the impeachment failed.
What inform your recent letter to the House of Assembly calling for the quashing of your purported impeachment?
Thank you very much. Whether you accept it or not the impeachment was carried out. It was in the pages of newspapers, it was on the radio, it was on the television and everywhere.
So in the real sense of it you were impeached?
Purportedly impeached. It was an impeachment carried out illegally and you know Nigeria, if you fail to challenge illegal act, it becomes a legal act. Where seven members carried out an impeachment, it was an aberration as far as I am concerned. In Nigeria to impeach a Speaker, you need two-third of that house and in Ekiti State where I operate, you need 18 not even 17 but when seven members sit down and say they impeach a Speaker was unheard of. In Nigeria, if you fail to challenge such act, it becomes valid. For example if go to the House of Assembly, now you will see the picture of Olugbemi being hung there as a Speaker after me so that type of a thing needed to be challenged and that was I intended to do.
But did you ever think at anytime that you could not fight that battle alone?
Yes. Before I travelled out of the country, I went to the (former) Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi and he gave me the go ahead. So when I got to London, I contacted a lawyer here in Nigeria and even paid part of the money he asked for. It was the lawyer that wrote to the Assembly asking them to give him the Hanmzard….
Without your knowledge?
I said I paid him
I mean writing to the Assembly
Yes, he wrote with my consent asking for the hamzard they used for that impeachment which the clerk did not oblige him. So when I came back, may be the clerk told the governor that this man wants to go to court, about three weeks ago, I was sleeping it was a Monday morning the clerk started calling me. He called me three times I did not pick his calls because he never called me since November 16 when we left Ekiti State so I was wondering why he was calling me and I just ignored his call. 20 minutes after, my Media Aide, Wole Olujobi called me and said the Clerk told him he had been calling me and that I did not pick his call that he had vital information to tell me, that I should call him. I then called him and the first thing he did was to apologize for not calling me so long. He then said Fayose called him and the Speaker yesterday night that they should go and reverse the impeachment. That, that would be better for me to go to court and spend my money, you know he already knows that I was going to court but that what they needed was a letter from me, asking them to reverse that impeachment. I know they would need that letter, they cannot just go to the plenary and start talking about reversal without writing them. I said ok, I will get back to you. Immediately I dropped the phone, I called JKF and said this is what I heard this morning but he was very skeptical about it. He expressed his reservation and said; “Mr Speaker you can trust this man but let us give him a benefit of the doubt.” I called Jide Awe (APC State Chairman) and he said he didn’t see it the way the governor saw it and that he would encourage me to write that letter. I called Chief Tony Adeniyi too, as a lawyer and he also encouraged me to write the letter and that was the point at which we wrote that letter to them and it was a shock to me on Monday, two days after my writing letter and they were addressing press conference. The way I see it was somebody setting someone up
Who is that somebody setting someone up?
I mean it is like the governor setting me up! Immediately I heard about the press conference, I put a call up to the governor and said “Your Excellency, this was what I heard. I didn’t ask you for this, it was your idea. I never asked you for any favour over this impeachment, it was your idea! He then said he was not aware of any press conference. In fact, he put his phone in speaker and called the Speaker immediately to come and he told me that he would call me back when the Speaker comes to him and up till today he never called back. Within me, I knew that the speaker could not call any press conference without his consent. Mr Speaker couldn’t have called any press conference over the impeachment letter without the governor’s directive so I knew he (Fayose) was playing me and I felt very bad about it!
Since that press conference, is there any development on the impeachment?
No! no, no. Neither the Speaker nor the Clerk ever put a call across to me. In fact the last press conference I addressed at the party secretariat, the House Chairman on Information was even saying that they were not aware of it.
How do you mean sir?
You know I told you that the Clerk and the Speaker said the governor asked me to write a letter. What I am now saying is that the Chairman of information committee in that house is saying that the governor was not aware of any letter before their press conference. As far as I am concerned, Fayose is the Speaker and the Governor. The Speaker hasn’t gotten any control of that house as far as I am concerned, he does whatever the governor asks him to go and do but as a legislator and as institution where we all belonged to, I don’t think we should ridicule that institution. I don’t think we should ridicule that institution moreover, I was a Speaker in that Assembly and my achievements are there to see. It will be difficult for anybody in Ekiti State and even in Nigeria to surpass our achievements, I mean the fourth assembly in that House. We passed 72 bills into laws. In the history of that house, by the time we were leaving, Ekiti House had passed 150 bills into law out of which the fourth assembly which I presided over passed 72 and the three past assemblies put together passed the remaining 78.
Some people are also accusing you of just endorsing whatever Governor Fayemi brought
We thank God that we were just endorsing it and that gave us the progress and development we were having in Ekiti State. Any house of Assembly that is at logger head with the governor, that House of Assembly is not going to progress.
Don’t you see that as being counter-productive to what you say about the present assembly?
Not in any way counter-productive, not in terms of control. For instance, I will give you a typical example. When the governor sent the Local Government Bill to the House, we all argued against it and we refused to pass it until what we were asking for was amended in that bill
But we learnt that you gave the power to appoint the Supervisors and the Secretaries to the Governor in the bill
Go and see it, it has been removed. We removed it! We did! Go and collect it and read it, we have removed the power of the governor to appoint the executive arm of the Local Government for them. Go and check the recent Local Government Law, we all argued against it and the governor reasoned with us. If you look at all the bills we passed in that house, there was no bill that we passed that did not pass through the normal process; first reading, second reading, if it requires for public hearing, we call for public hearing to have their own input to that bill so there was no bill that the governor just sent to us and said please go and pass this bill without passing through the due process of law making. We look at each bill on its merit and what we were interested in was the progress of Ekiti State and that was exactly what we did.
Your advice to your party APC
I think what we need now in Ekiti APC is unity. Without unity, the federal might is nothing. Without unity, we can go nowhere. Without unity, we will continue to lose elections. Fayose only feasted on our lack of unity to frustrate the impeachment against him otherwise it would have been successful. Every other things we heard about the impeachment was so disheartening especially about lies against the G-19 who stayed for several days in the hotel eating bread with groundnut and even drinking gari while some ambitious guys were travelling on our behalves making money alongside this Olugbemi who claimed to be the Speaker.