By Oji Odu
Will outgoing governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose’s alleged plans to flee the country be a repeat of the former Minister of Transport “Umaru Dikko Saga”, when the Honourable Minister was deported from London where he fled to via a crate meant for goods? Is Fayose really trying to escape the country? If so, is it possible he will do such in a goods container or crate meant for exporting Nigerian goods? These are some of the daunting posers following recent letter by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) to ensure that the governor does not escape the country under their watch.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had written to the Nigerian Customs to monitor and arrest the governor Fayose anytime he wanted to run away from the country.
In a statement, the anti corruption-agency urged Customs to place Fayose on its watch list, while accusing him of money laundering, abuse of office and other social political vices.
“The under listed person is under investigation in connection with the above mentioned offences and there is a reasonable suspicion suggesting that he may likely leave the country either through the land borders, airports or seaports in order to evade investigation.
“Hence, you are kindly requested to watch-list him and arrest him.You are further requested to contact the commission through the provided contact details if sighted”.
Why should the EFCC take such step when Governor Fayose had told the anti-graft agency that he would submit himself to the commission immediately he handed over to the next governor Fayemi on October 16, 2018?
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State had in a letter dated September 10, 2018 written the EFCC, and addressed to the Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, told the agency to expect him as soon as his tenure expires on Tuesday, October 16, 2018.
In the letter which was personally signed by the him, he told the anti-graft agency of his decision to make himself available at its office “to clarify issue(s) or answer questions on issues within my knowledge.”
In the letter, Fayose said his desire to submit to the commission was hinged “on several and serial actions of your commission for some time now, including but not limited to freezing of my accounts and attempts to secure temporary forfeiture of my properties.”
These, he said were “indicative of the commission’s desire to have me clarify some issues or answer some questions but for the immunity I enjoy under Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution as the sitting governor of Ekiti State.
“I wish to inform you that my term of office pursuant to which I enjoy immunity against investigation and prosecution under the above provision shall lapse by effluxion of time on Monday, 15th October, 2018. As a responsible citizen of our great country, who believes in the rule of law, I wish to inform you of my decision to make myself available in your office on Tuesday, 16th October 2018 at 1pm to clarify issues or answer questions within my knowledge. Kindly confirm the suitability of the above date or indicate by return, the commission’s convenient date.” If this is so, why did the EFCC embark upon such directive?
Responding to the governor Fayose’s letter, EFCC in a letter dated September 14, 2018 and signed by its Director of Operations, Umar Abba Mohammed, on behalf of the Acting Director, Ibrahim Magu, said it was delighted by the willingness of the governor to present himself voluntarily but would also be glad to receive him earlier than October 16.
“I refer to your letter dated September 10,2018 relative above captioned subject. I appreciate your sense of duty and responsibility as a law abiding citizen who wishes to submit himself voluntarily to the due process of the law, more so as your immunity as a governor shall soon come to an end.
“In view of the above and your request to make yourself available on October 16,2018, to make clarifications on ongoing investigations that affect you, we look forward to receiving you even earlier than October 16, 2018. In this regard, we shall be willing to receive you on Thursday September 20, 2018 without prejudice to your immunity under Section 308 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999.
“Please, accept the assurances of the Acting Executive Chairman’s highest regards,” MohAmmed wrote.
Recall the EFCC had accused Fayose of collecting huge sum of money from the Presidency for the prosecution of his governorship bid and diverted part to his private firms and associates.
The outgoing Governor was allegedly ferried by a former Defence minister under president Jonathan to the Akure Airport and transported by land thereafter to a bank vault in Ado Ekiti.
Although EFCC subsequently trailed part of the money to associates and companies said to be linked to the governor, a judge blocked the agency, citing Fayose’s immunity.
In a chat with Deji Olatunji, a political analyst, he regretted that the Buhari administration is full of people whose behaviour and utterances can best be described as pure comedy. “What has Customs got to do with Fayose running away from the country? Are they afraid he might flee in an export container or crate like Umaru Dikko? Why not include the Police, Army, Navy, Air Force, Vigilante groups et cetera?
“ Although I do not think that the Fayose I know is so cowardly to bring himself so low, I also have doubts of the Ekiti outgoing governor because of the many controversies following him. After all, some huge framed men flee disguised like women,” he said.
For Umana Simon, he sees the federal might at work. “ You know the outgoing governor had been a bone on President Buhari’s throat. I think the secret powerful hands are at work to deal with him,
“ We also cannot forget the face-off with incoming Governor Fayemi who has federal might behind him, and has been spitting fire against Fayose, especially after winning the Ekiti state gubernatorial election,” he said.
Will Fayose honourably present himself to be grilled by the EFCC after handing over on October 16, 2018, or will he flee the country to avoid prosecution by the anti-graft agency howbeit either in a crate or dressed like a woman? Nigerians are anxiously waiting with the October date very close.