Ekiti Patriotic Coalition, the group whose petition spurred the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to invite the immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Dr Kayode Fayemi over allegations of over N100 billion fraud on Monday advised the former governor to face the reality of accounting for all the stolen funds of Ekiti State under his watch rather than calling the group “faceless”.
Fayemi in a release had refuted allegations of probe by EFCC, saying that he was only invited over a petition written by a faceless group. The release signed by his media aide, Ahmad Sajoh stated that all the former governor did while with EFCC was “respond to a frivolous petition from a faceless group, the so-called Ekiti Patriotic Coalition, which we strongly believed is a front for some anti-Fayemi politicians, who are trying to soil the former governor’s good name and image.”
Sources close to the Ilorin, Kwara State Zonal Office of the anti corruption commission revealed that Fayemi was released at 12.40 am on Friday morning to enable him attend the burial of his former deputy, the much respected Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, a lawyer and a strong politician from Ado-Ekiti, the state capital. His stay at the burial ceremony was not up to an hour.
In its reaction, the group’s secretary, Mr Gbenga Babawibe, a lawyer said the group “comprises of individuals who share a common vision and commitment towards the development and growth of Ekiti State to fulfil the aspirations of her founding fathers”. To him the group cannot be faceless as it gave its name and that of its secretary.
Below is the full statement of the group:
Our attention has been drawn to a press release issued by one Ahmad Sajoh, and we would like to address the reference made to our group as a “faceless group.” As the group in question, we feel it is important to provide clarity and shed light on the true nature of our group. We would not have honoured the claim with any response because we knew that the press release was meant to dwarf and undermine the ongoing investigation of financial impropriety against Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the former Governor of Ekiti State, by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
While we understand that labels can sometimes be used in a descriptive manner, referring to our group as “faceless” creates a perception that fails to capture the essence of who we are and what we stand for. We believe it is crucial to emphasize the core values and principles that define our group rather than focus on superficial characteristics.
Firstly, the petition against Dr. Fayemi was signed by the secretary of our group, Gbenga Babawibe, Esq. A practicing lawyer, known by the majority of the elite class and people of Ekiti State. Such a group cannot be considered a faceless group because the name and signature of the Secretary have given face to the group, if at all the former Governor does not know the group. Also, the readiness of the group to stand by their petition is another angle on the identity of the group. However, the gaffe can be pardoned owing to the fact that Ahmad Sajoh is not from Ekiti, and he would not have known our group or the secretary of the group who signed the petition.
We would like to emphasize that our group comprised of individuals who share a common vision and commitment towards the development and growth of Ekiti State to fulfill the aspirations of her founding fathers. We are patriots and technocrats, driven by a shared passion for our home state, from various villages, towns, and professions, all working together towards a common goal, which is the development of Ekiti State.
Furthermore, we actively engage with the system and work tirelessly to make a positive impact by ensuring accountability and probity in governance in the state. Our intention is never to be faceless but rather to be inclusive, approachable, and receptive for the betterment of Ekiti State.
We strongly believe in accountability, probity, transparency, and making sure that Ekiti’s scarce resources do not find their way into any private purse or are used for something that will not benefit the majority of our people. We are open to dialogue and collaboration with every patriotic Ekiti, as we value the power of collective effort and the contributions of everyone. Our group fosters an environment where ideas are shared, debated, and refined, ultimately leading to informed decisions and actions like we have currently.
In light of the above, we won’t allow this ongoing investigation of the EFCC to be reduced to gonzo journalism activities. We do think the appropriate thing to do by the former governor is to come out clean of all the allegations against him currently and equally prepare to provide answers to those emerging ones, and if the need arises, he should make a refund of all the allegedly stolen funds.
We kindly request that you reconsider referring to our group as “faceless” in any future communications. We believe that accurate representation is vital to maintaining fair and objective public discourse. We are more than willing to engage in further discussions or provide additional information about our group’s work and core values.
In conclusion, part of the hallmark of leadership is the ability to render accounts transparently when called to do so and being bold enough to answer any question about every kobo spent while in the saddle without necessarily rushing to the media for damage control or image laundering.
For: Ekiti Patriotic Coalition Forum
Gbenga Babawibe, Esq.