The Ekiti State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused Governor Ayodele Fayose of undue harassment of the state executive members in the administration of Governor Kayode Fayemi, saying their unlawful arrest and forceful confiscation of their official cars is harassment carried too far in the governor’s bid to take APC leaders out of circulation ahead of February 14 general elections.
Reacting to the arrest of former EXCO members on alleged instigation of the governor over non-payment of the costs of their official cars, the APC state Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatubosun, said arresting them over alleged non-payment for the cars is just a smokescreen behind a larger agenda to take APC leaders out of circulation to enable the governor seize the field for domination and manipulation during the election.
Olatubosun said that as of today, Biodun Akin-Fasae, Ayodele Jinadu, Oluwole Ariyo and Dr Bayo Orire had been arrested while policemen were on the way to Mrs Ronke Okusanya’s house to arrest her.
The APC spokesman said based on Fayemi’s policy on official car, there was no reason for Fayose to accuse the former officials of owing on the cars, stressing that on the contrary, it is government that is owing them.
Olatubosun explained that before the advent of Fayemi’s administration, the usual practice was that vehicles were procured centrally by the government and allocated to EXCO members.
“The usual practice before we came in was that upon leaving office by the respective state Executive Council members, the vehicles are usually sold at a rebate to this category of political office holders and any other subject to approval of the governor while in line with the common practice, the Permanent Secretaries go with their vehicles without paying for the vehicles,” he explained.
Olatubosun added: “On assumption of Fayemi’s administration, most of the vehicles used by the erstwhile Exco members were poorly used and in bad state and they were taken away without the respective political office holders paying fully for them.
“Some vehicles were retrieved in different locations across the country by the government at a very great cost through the setting up of recovery task force jointly with security agencies while a few of these vehicles subsequently retrieved were discovered to have been damaged thus requiring that the government would need to buy new vehicles for the newly appointed political office holders.
“Also some political office holders took the government to court to stop retrieval of their vehicles. However, due to the need to put into effective use the available resources of the state and to address the problems associated with poor utilization of government properties, especially vehicles by public office holders, the governor approved that Exco members and other political appointees should bear a certain percentage of the cost of the vehicles making them a part owner to reduce the burden of the cost of the vehicle on the government from inception of vehicle purchase rather than a sale at rebate on exit of political office holder.
“Government also reasoned that officials would be more careful in handling government properties, especially the vehicles, knowing full well that after four years or tenor of office, there is assurance that ownership will vest on the respective political appointees. Consequently, a decision was taken to procure the vehicles by the state government upon the following decisions:
“Cost of the vehicle was agreed at 40 percent and 60 percent to government and Exco member respectively after a flat discount of N1 million was granted. Cost of the vehicles is to be paid monthly from salary of Exco members as approved by Exco”.
Olatubosun explained that the vehicle allocated is part of salaries and emoluments and allowances/perks of office due to political office holders, which political office holders shared with the government, which he described as commendable, making it a befitting model for other states across the country.
He added that it is a standard practice globally to offset the outstanding payment on the vehicles through severance allowance, outstanding leave bonus, unpaid salaries and allowances in computation of final entitlement of a retiring employee. It is on record that Governor Fayemi paid the severance allowance of office holders who served his predecessors including Governor Fayose during his first term.
”It is tyranny of the first order for Fayose not to pay all these to former office holders who have already paid more than half of the cost of their cars and yet the governor is still insisting on impounding these cars and arresting their owners,” Olatubosun concluded.