In reaction to an alleged plot to prevent him from traveling abroad, Ekiti Governor, Fayose Ayodele , through a press conference has dared President Muhammadu Buhari and his anti-democratic agents to prevent his movement outside the country.
The Ekiti Governor, through a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, argued that under the federal system of government, state governors are not appendages of the President, therefore he cannot be ‘cowed’ by Buhari and his agents.
He adding that whenever he wished to travel out of Nigeria, he would do so in the full glare of the public, thereby daring federal government to try and stop him.
The Premium Times reported the official statement and it reads:
“I am not surprised or disappointed by this latest plot of the Buhari’s government because the President Buhari that we know is a man without any atom of respect for the rights of Nigerians as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and this he demonstrated as a military dictator and now demonstrating as a democratically elected president.”
In his statement concerning the reports that two governors, one one from the Southwest and another from the South South had been placed on travel restriction on President Buhari’s order, Fayose said:
“This dangerous dimension of compelling a sitting governor that enjoys Constitutional Immunity like the President to obtain clearance from the Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS) before travelling out of Nigeria can ever be contemplated.”
Speaking further on Fayose’s view, Mr. Olayinka, who was flanked by the Chief Press Secretary to the Ekiti Governor, Idowu Adelusi, said told the press about Fayose earlier shock about the order from Buhari to ban the governors from travelling outside the country.
“The Ekiti Governor, Fayose deliberated that even though the Buhari’s presidency was capable of even attempting to prevent those opposed to the President from breathing the air, it must still be sane enough to be conscious of the consequences of placing any Nigerian under travel ban without an order of the court, not to talk of a sitting governor that enjoys constitutional immunity like the President.
“However, when we read the story titled; “Two governors under watch, face travel ban” published on Sunday by two major national dailies, we have no option than to once again alert the public on President Buhari’s new dictatorial plot to infringe on the constitutional rights of Governor Fayose just because of his critical position on the President’s dictatorial tendencies.
“The question is: if Governor Fayose has become a threat to the security of Nigeria just because he criticises President Buhari and says the truth about his mis-governance of the country, is this not a confirmation that the President hates dissenting views?
Based on this, Olayinka reviewed several chapters of Nigeria’s Constitution which gave citizens their rights for freedom of movement in and outside the country.
He further stated:
“President Buhari and his agents should also be mindful of the fact that under a federal system of government, the states and national government both enjoy some autonomy, with sovereign power formally divided between the national government and the States such that each State retains some degree of control over its internal affairs.
“Therefore, the President of Nigeria cannot lord himself over any State governor and President Buhari and his agents should accept this basic reality and stop behaving as if they own Nigeria in totality.
“President Buhari and his agents, especially his kinsman; Alhaji Lawal Daura of the DSS need to purge themselves of this blood of dictatorship running in their veins and be guided by the Constitution of Nigeria.
“Even ordinary Nigerians do not require clearance from the DSS or any security agency to travel outside Nigeria unless travel restriction is placed by an order of the court, not to talk of State Governors that enjoy immunity just like the President and are not under the control of the President.
Recounting the ordeal which transpired during Buhari’s military regime:
“The president and his agents should know that this is not 1984 when General Buhari, as a military dictator prevented late Chief Obafemi Awolowo from travelling outside Nigeria for medical treatment, thereby leading to his (Awolowo) untimely death in 1987!
“They should also be reminded that the same way Buhari humiliated the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade; late Emir of Kano Alhaji Ado Bayero and late Obi of Onitsha, Ofala Akulalia Alphonsus Ogugua in 1984 by seizing their passports and restricting them to their palaces just because they travelled to Israel for business, he cannot restrict State governors from travelling outside Nigeria under whatever guise.”
“I therefore wish to state on behalf of the Ekiti Governor, Ayodele Fayose that as an opposition figure, he cannot be cowed by this pettiness from the presidency. Governor Fayose, by this press conference is daring President Buhari and his anti-democratic agents to carry out this evil and shameful plot and let us all see how far it will take them.
“Anytime the Ekiti Governor wishes to travel out of Nigeria, he will do so in the full glare of the public and we await how he will be prevented from exercising his rights as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
“We also wish to inform the President and his DSS men that as they were disgraced when they invaded Ekiti State House of Assembly, arresting members of the House indiscriminately, they will be put to shame this time too.
“Also, the National Assembly is being alerted of this new threat to the Constitution of Nigeria by those who swore to protect it. Members of the National Assembly should by now begin to imagine what will be their fate if attempt is now being made to place travel restriction on State Governors.
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“It is our considered view that President Buhari should rather concern himself with the growing insecurity in the country and charge the security agencies, especially the DSS to perform their functions as enshrined in the constitution instead of running after petty issues.
“The President should focus his attention on the economy of Nigeria that is almost collapsing and stop using his position to oppress other Nigerians. He should know that Nigerians are only interested in having food on their tables, not the number of people their President hounds into detention or oppress with his powers.” he concluded