Renowned legal icon and elder statesman, Aare Afe Babalola, yesterday, met with Governor Ayo Fayose’s team and other elders of Ekiti State in a peace meeting over the political impasse between Governor Fayose and the 19 All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers, moving for his impeachment.
The APC lawmakers were, however, absent at the meeting, which was held at Afe Babalola University in Ado Ekiti amid tight security. It had eminent Ekiti elders like Chief Deji Fasuan, a retired permanent secretary and co-chairman, Ekiti Council of Elders; former Minister of National Planning, Chief Ayo Ogunlade; former secretary general of the Yoruba Council of Elders, Dr. Kunle Olajide, among others in attendance.
The Commissioner of Police, in the state, Mr. Joshua Ibine and the Director of the State Security Service, Mr. Duke Fubara, led more than 200 personnel to provide security at the meeting .
Part of the resolutions reached at the parley was that the governor indicated his readiness to shift grounds on the leadership crisis in the Assembly and on all other contentious issues, if the lawmakers could attend the next peace parley, which date was yet to be announced.
Indication emerged on Wednesday that the 19 APC lawmakers would not attend the meeting, when a statement issued by the embattled Speaker, Adewale Omirin, described the parley as a booby trap.
While Omirin said Fayose had allegedly set up measures to get them arrested, he also raised doubt about the safety of his members, saying he heard from the grapevine sources that the governor was planning to arrest them and detain them till June 6, when their tenure would expire.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Babalola displayed several text messages exchanged between him and Omirin, where he assured the lawmakers that adequate security had been prepared to ward off any attack against them.
Chief Babalola said he decided to intervene in the crisis because of his stake in the ‘Ekiti Project’, adding that he had earlier received letters from the Nigerian Labour Congress and Chief Kunle Olajide on the need to resolve the lingering impasse.
The eminent lawyer said: “The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase mandated the State Commissioner of Police and other security outfits to personally provide security at this meeting. So, I see no reason why the lawmakers were afraid of their safety.
“At my age, about 86, I don’t want to be seen meddling in politics, because I don’t want insult from anybody. I even assured Omirin that I will ask the CP and the Director of SSS to sign an undertaking to lead his members in and out of Ekiti to ensure their safety, all for this parley to be successful.”
Fayose, while saluting the bravery of the elder statesmen and their commitment in resolving the crisis generated by his impeachment plot, said he would do everything to ensure peace in the state, stating that this gesture should not be mistaken for cowardice.
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