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October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
President Obasanjo's Letter To The National Assembly On Imposition Of A State Of Emergency In Ekiti State
October 19, 2006
Imposition of A State Of Emergency In Ekiti State
I feel constrained to write you this letter on recent developments in Ekiti State, efforts by the Federal Government to bring about peace and harmony and the inevitable resort to the last constitutional option open to me: The imposition of a State of Emergency.
We have all made personal and collective sacrifices not just to enthrone peace, stability and democracy in Nigeria but also to consolidate our democratic enterprise and cultivate new values. It is, therefore, very painful when that new collective commitment to democracy, peace and security is compromised, contaminated or truncated in any way or form.
At this stage, it is the belief of government, based on available security reports, as well as visible evidence on ground, that the situation in Ekiti State, to say the least, constitutes a challenge to our democracy, negates the norms of rational human interaction, contradicts the tenets of civil society, and devalues opportunities for peace, stability, co-existence and social justice. It constitutes a grave threat to law and order and a great danger to security in Ekiti State.
It is, therefore, clearly a great threat to the security and unity of Nigeria.
Let me give you some insights into direct efforts made by me and the leadership of our party, the PDP. After the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), had submitted its report on Governor Ayo Fayose's proven corrupt acts, I summoned the leadership of the party for the consideration of the report. We concluded that Ayo Fayose could no longer put himself up as a gubernatorial candidate of PDP, anywhere in the country. We made him to understand this point, which he accepted.
Secondly, we made him to understand that he had to face up to EFCC's follow-up actions. The State House of Assembly requested the EFCC for the report. On receipt of the Report, the State House of Assembly decided that they would carry out their duty and responsibility. Nobody in the face of the Report stopped them from carrying out their constitutional responsibility as they deemed fit. At this stage, to save the State from the agonising experience of impeachment, some leaders of the Party at State and national levels counselled Ayo Fayose to resign but he decided to see the impeachment process through.
Mr. Senate President, the situation in Ekiti State which culminated, on Monday, in the Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly being sworn in as Acting Governor is patently unconstitutional and, on that same day, the Attorney-General of the Federation issued a statement to that effect. Let me say from the onset that, for us at the Federal Government level, the issue is not the constitutional right of a State House of Assembly legitimately removing the State Chief Executive or Deputy Chief Executive for misconduct. The issue clearly is the due process and the constitutional and legal procedure to be followed without violating the Constitution and without breaching the rule of law. As at today, we have three people laying claim to the governorship of the State - a State of anarchy.
I am sure that you can fully appreciate the grave situation I have described thus far. You can also see evidence of gross abuse of rule of law. This must not be allowed to crystallise and to be consolidated. The time to save our democracy from being undermined and badly eroded is now. We must save our democracy and preserve our Constitution and that was the oath of office I took. We must save Ekiti State from anarchy.
From what is on ground at the moment, we need to take very serious action.
Mr. Senate President, the Nigerian Constitution 1999 foresees the ultimate of emergency in part or all of Nigeria and provides for it as the last resort. Therefore, by virtue of Section 305 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999), I have to declare a State of Emergency in Ekiti State with effect from today, 19 October 2006. This declaration has been published in a Federal Gazette as of today.
The Governor and his Deputy by this declaration, cease to be in charge of the affairs of Ekiti State for six months in the first instance. An Administrator to manage the affairs of Ekiti State in the person of Brig-Gen. Tunji Olurin is nominated.
The Ekiti State House of Assembly also ceases to exist as the formal legislative body of the State with immediate effect. Having a State Assembly in position under a State of Emergency is incongruous and may not allow for the expeditious actions that the Administrator will need, to put the State back into a situation of peace, harmony, security for all and maintenance of law and order throughout the state.
It is the hope of the Federal Government that the Administrator will not need new laws for the administration of the State. But if he does, it will be in the form of a regulation, which he will submit to the President for consideration by the Federal Executive Council and promulgated by the President for the State.
The decision to impose a State of Emergency in Ekiti State was based on the collective desire to strengthen our democratic practice, institutions, and values. This decision would, without doubt, enhance security as well as protect the stability and corporate existence of our nation for which many have died.
It is my hope and prayer that this six-month period will be used by the Administrator and all peace-loving people in and outside the State to bring peace and join hands to promote democratic values and enshrine the values of transparency, accountability, social justice, love, good neighbourliness and good governance.
I thank you for your understanding and appreciation of the reasons why the State of Emergency had to be imposed in Ekiti State. I am certain that we shall all come out of this stronger, more united and more committed to democracy and good governance.
Olusegun O. Obasanjo, GCFR
President & Commander-in-
Federal Republic of Nigeria
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