Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, EFCC, has said on Monday that Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State will face criminal trial after leaving office, Premium Times reports.
Mr Fayose, a vocal critic of President Muhammadu Buhari, is expected to leave office in October after handing over to the governor-elect of the state, Kayode Fayemi.
Mr Fayemi on Sunday defeated Mr Fayose’s preferred governorship candidate and current deputy governor, Olusola Eleka.
Both Messrs Fayose and Eleka, as well as their party, PDP, have said they will challenge the results of the election in court.
Hours after Mr Fayemi was announced winner of the election, the EFCC posted a tweet on its official Twitter handle that it would resurrect a poultry scandal involving the governor. The agency later deleted the tweet which was condemned by many Nigerians including the governor’s spokesperson.
“That tweet was totally irresponsible,” Mr Fayose’s spokesperson, Lere Olayinka, said. “The EFCC is not the court.”
“Ayo Fayose will remain governor until October 16, so they should wait until the end of his tenure,” he added.
Mr Fayose, like all Nigerian governors, enjoys immunity from prosecution while in office.
In a statement sent on Monday night, the EFCC spokesperson played down on the tweet controversy, but said only the court could clear Mr Fayose of his criminal trial after leaving office.
“While it is true that there is a subsisting criminal charge against Governor Fayose, the fate of the charge will be determined by the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti, at the expiration of his tenure, not the EFCC,” the agency’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has observed with interest, reactions to a tweet that purportedly appeared on the Commission’s Twitter handle July 15, announcing the imminent revival of the criminal case against Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State.
In the opinion of most commentators, the tweet coming a few hours after Fayose’s protege, Kolapo Olusola of the People’s Democratic Party lost the governorship election to his All progressives Congress rival, Kayode Fayemi, betrayed the partisanship of the EFCC in the political contest in Ekiti State.
Against the background, Commission is constrained to state that the purported tweet does not represent the views of the EFCC. As a law enforcement organization the Commission is apolitical and was not involved in the recent Ekiti election. It therefore has no reason to gloat over the political misfortune of any candidate or political god-father.
While it is true that there is a subsisting criminal charge against Governor Fayose, the fate of the charge will be determined by the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti, at the expiration of his tenure, not the EFCC.