Ekiti: Fayemi out, Fayose in

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Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, was agog on Wednesday as preparations for the inauguration of Ayodele Peter Fayose as the new governor of state gathered momemtum.

At the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium, Fayose Campaign headquarters in the Government Reservation Area, and the streets of Ado-Ekiti, the supporters of the governor-elect were seen readying themselves ahead of the ceremony.

Our correspondent also noted that a well-decorated stage had been created at the centre of the stadium. The stage faces the equally well-decorated state box.

Fayose visited the stadium in company with security agency chiefs to inspect the extent of preparation for the ceremony which will be graced by either President Goodluck Jonathan or Vice-President Namadi Sambo and the national leadership of Peoples Democratic Party.

It was not clear as of 7pm on Wednesday if outgoing Governor Kayode Fayemi would attend the ceremony that will be conducted by the state Chief Judge, Justice Ayodeji Daramola.

A rehearsal for the inauguration with the Chief Registrar of the Ekiti State High Court, Obafemi Fasanmi, also took place in the city whose hotels and guest houses had been fully booked.

Artisans, okada riders, market men and women as well as commercial motorists and motorcyclists were seen buying different colours of uniforms at the Fayose campaign headquarters for the inauguration.

The governor-elect, it was gathered, had distributed cows and money to various groups in the state to enable them to celebrate his second coming as the state governor.

As of 4pm on Wednesday, the Government House was solemn as The PUNCH learnt that Fayemi, his family members and aides moved out their personal belongings around noon.

Fayemi, who lifted the curfew he imposed on the state following an outbreak of violence, was said to have left for his Isan-Ekiti home town in the Oye Local Government Area of the state.

Fayose had in a live television interview on Tuesday said he had invited all the clerics in the state to join him in cleansing the Government House.

He said, “I am expecting all pastors; they would first be at the new State House to carry out a thorough spiritual cleansing before we enter the building on Thursday (today) after the inauguration.

“ Even if they are up to 1, 000, they should all come for the spiritual cleansing before we enter the building. But any pastor who isn’t sure of his calling shouldn’t come.”

Heavy presence of security personnel was visible on major streets of the city and the stadium’s entrance.

The operatives were drawn from the Nigeria Army, Nigerian Police Force, Nigeria Prison Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Department of State Service.

The Ekiti Police Public Relations Officer, Victor Babayemi, in a statement said the Command had put in place adequate and comprehensive security measures to prevent breach of law and order.

He said, “The Commissioner of Police, Taiwo Lakanu , has ordered the deployment of adequate manpower and equipment to police all the events.

“Bomb Disposal Units, Counter-Terrorist Units, Police Mobile Force and Swift Response Squad in addition to conventional and plain- clothes detectives have been strategically positioned to ensure an eventful and crisis-free ceremony.

“The police personnel have been mandated to embark on thorough stop and search of persons and vehicles to prevent troublemakers from infiltrating the venues.’’

Lakanu, according to him, appealed “to the good people of the state to support and cooperate with law enforcement agencies to ensure a hitch-free ceremony.”

But in spite of the lifting of the curfew by Fayemi, the National Youth Service Corps in the state on Wednesday discharged members who were initially scheduled to end their mandatory national service on Thursday(today).

It was gathered that the decision was informed by what the NYSC management considered as rising tension in the state.

The Governor-elect, in an interview with journalists, lamented that the transition team raised by Fayemi did not cooperate with his inauguration team.

Alleging that the Fayemi administration was leaving an empty treasury, he appealed to workers in the state to call off their strike as a mark of honour for him.

He assured all groups and associations, party supporters, civil servants including teachers of adequate care during his tenure.

Fayose said, “I don’t want to join issues with anybody. I only believe that a chapter has come and gone. A new chapter will be opened tomorrow (today).

BY KAMARUDEEN OGUNDELE

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