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Cablegate: Ekiti Update: His and Her Excellencies

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 LAGOS 000296

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - HANDLE ACCORDINGLY

LONDON FOR GURNEY, PARIS FOR NEARY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KDEM PINR NI
SUBJECT: EKITI UPDATE: HIS AND HER EXCELLENCIES

REF: 2003 LAGOS 2349

1. (U) Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governor Peter Ayodele
Fayose and his wife Feyisetan of tiny, impoverished Ekiti
State have had their Public Relations Director working
overtime recently to "spin" them a high-profile, positive
public image. The couple has been appearing almost weekly in
newspaper "personality" pieces proclaiming undying love and
admiration for each other, and extolling the power of prayer
to solve all problems, governmental and personal.

2. (U) On the darker side, Her Excellency (Mrs.) Fayose, as
she prefers to be called, has somehow escaped an NGO suit
against 26 "first ladies" which includes the wives of the
president, vice president and at least six of the 36
governors. The ladies are
being accused of fraud and corruption for the misuse of funds
through "foundations" set up in their names. Although she
has no verified training or experience in any field, one of
the first things Mrs. Fayose did when her husband took office
was to set up the "Fayose Foundation," which is said to be
involved in health care, education, services for the elderly,
entrepreneurial
programs, etc. (Reftel). She claims that her education
program and program to feed people with HIV/AIDS has already
lowered the number of HIV/AIDS sufferers in Ekiti State --
although she does not say how the patients were identified,
how many there were or are now, and, most important, how her
"Foundation" is financed.

Fighting to save his office

3. (U) For his part, His Excellency is fending off lawsuits
on several fronts. The most important suit was brought in
the Elections Tribunal by the Alliance for Democracy Party
(AD) shortly after Fayose was elected in April. This suit
charges that Fayose presented falsified documents when he
registered to become a candidate. The case has been
dismissed or postponed on technicalities three times. When
the Tribunal finally sat to hear the case on January 27, the
courtroom was invaded by armed "thugs believed to have been
sponsored by top politicians" according to police reports.
The police, who had been dealing with violence between the AD
and PDP supporters since Fayose's election, were prepared and
out in force around the courthouse. They were able to disarm
the protesters and force them from the courtroom. The trial
was postponed.

4. (U) When the trial resumed on February 3, the court wanted
to know why the diplomas and school certificates Fayose had
presented as a candidate were for a "Peter Ayodele Oluwayose"
and not Peter Ayodele Fayose. Fayose's father testified that
in 1974 God had told him to change the family name to
"Oluwayose" or he would die. The Governor swore that he only
changed his name back to Fayose in 1994, and for this reason,
all his school records are in the name "Oluwayose." Lawyers
for the AD presented results from an investigation they said
showed "Oluwayose" was actually a person who lived in Ibadan
in Oyo State and was the owner of the diplomas and school
certificates. They further pointed out that Fayose was
unable to present any document at all, such as a passport or
driver's license, showing that he had used the name
"Oluwayose" at any time prior. A decision is expected soon
from the Tribunal.

5. (U) The Governor is also being sued for 5 billion naira by
Omegabank for damages to its business reputation. The bank
had been the Ekiti State's central bank since the State was
created. State funds were deposited with Omegabank and the
bank says it frequently provided loans to the State when it
was short of funds and paid State employees directly. In
January, Fayose removed all State funds from Omegabank and
alleged that the bank had been over-charging the State
government 500 million naira per year in fees from the
beginning of their relationship and was now refusing to
negotiate to reduce the fees. The bank countered saying
that, shortly after assuming office, Fayose had demanded that
the bank hire some of his relatives and, most importantly,
that the bank accept his uncle, one Adabayo Brown, as the
chairman of its board of directors.

6. (SBU) Comment. This is just one example of the sometimes
farcical nature of state governance Nigerian-style that says
much about this fledgling democracy. While many politicians
"just don't get it" when it comes to transparency, NGOs,
civic organizations and businesses do. Bringing suit against
State Governors and first ladies is a step in the direction
of demanding accountability from politicians. But only when
the political high jinks result in certain losses at the
ballot box, will Nigerians begin to see some of the dividends
of democracy in governance. Unfortunately, that is still a
long way off.
HINSON-JONES

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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