By Myke Uzendu, Abuja
Outgoing governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Peter Fayose, has reaffirmed that he would make himself available for questioning by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) on October 16, a day after he hands power over to his successor.
EFCC had earlier requested that Fayose turns himself for questioning after he had voluntarily written the commission of his willingness to be their guest as soon as he is out of office. But the commission asked him to appear before it tomorrow.
In a reply to the commission’s invitation, Fayose maintained that the October 16 date remains sacrosanct. He pointed out the danger of violating Section 308 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which vested immunity on him as a sitting governor should the commission think of an earlier date.
Fayose, who lost his bid to install his Deputy, Prof. Kolapo Eleka, as the next governor of Ekiti State, said that he was moved to write the anti-graft agency after reading in the press of its directive to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to arrest him if he is spotted near the borders, on presumption that he might escape before the expiration of his tenure and evade prosecution.
In a letter addressed to Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu and made available to The AUTHORITY in Abuja, Fayose, who is also the Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum, chided the commission in a letter he titled: “Unprovoked personal hatred and malice against my person.”
The letter read: “I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 13th September, 2018 requesting me to appear on the 20th September, a day preceding the expiration of my tenure.
“As a responsible citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who currently enjoys immunity under Section 308 of the Constitution, it would amount to a breach of the Constitution which I swore to uphold if I appear in your office on any date earlier than 16th October, 2018. If done otherwise, it will set a wrong precedent for the constitutional institution that I represent.
“While drafting my response to yours of 14th September, 2018, my attention was drawn to your widely publicised letter of 12th September, 2018 to the Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service and similar agencies, directing them to watch and arrest me on an imagination that I might leave Nigeria to escape investigation. This development, to say the least, is disappointing and betrays your commission’s unprovoked personal hatred and malice against my person.”
The governor faulted the stand of the commission saying that by the tone of the invitation and alert raised to the Customs, EFCC has “presumed my guilt even prior to the commencement of investigation. This raises serious question about the impartiality, independence or neutrality of the commission in the matter,” adding that he felt “harassed, intimidated and embarrassed by the imputation of crime and the innuendos of criminality underlining your correspondence which has been maliciously circulated widely.”
He added that should the commission insists on September 20th, he is ready to interface with the Commission and its operatives provided they are willing to play guests to him at Government House, Ado-Ekiti, the state capital same day.