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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 October 2006, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Missing Nigerian governor speaks
Impeached governor of Ekiti State, Nigeria
Mr Fayose says he is still in Ekiti State
The impeached governor of Nigeria's Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose, has spoken from hiding for the first time, saying he is still in power and has not fled.

Mr Fayose, who has not been seen since Saturday, was impeached for corruption along with his deputy on Monday. She is now challenging the move in court.

The governor told Nigerian TV by telephone that his sacking was a coup attempt and he feared for his life.

Several high-ranking Nigerian officials have condemned the impeachments.

The Nigerian Bar Association called for a boycott of Ekiti State courts until the matter is resolved.

Critics of President Olusegun Obasanjo say his anti-corruption drive is a cover for a political witch-hunt.

Two governors

In a telephone interview, Mr Fayose denied that his impeachment was legal and said he had not gone abroad as was rumoured but was still in the state capital.

Map

"There has only been a coup against my government and the judiciary. I am still in Ado-Ekiti ," he told Channels television.

Former Deputy Governor Biodun Olujimi told the BBC that she was currently acting as Ekiti State governor following the impeachment of her boss.

She told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme that she was at her desk as normal all day on Tuesday.

However, the former speaker of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, Friday Aderemi, was sworn in as acting governor on Monday.

Nigeria's remaining 35 governors met President Obasanjo and informed him that they would not accept Mr Aderemi at their Governors' Forum.

The BBC's Mannir Dan Ali says this leaves Ekiti State in the dubious position of being run by two different governors.

If the Ekiti State matter is not resolved, it could turn into a major crisis for the whole country, our correspondent says.

'Beauty of democracy'

Nigeria's most senior judge Modibbo Belgore described the procedure adopted in removing Mr Fayose as illegal.

Justice Minister Bayo Ojo said the government viewed the move as unconstitutional, however, he failed to say what he intended to do.

But other senior Nigerian lawyers say his removal reflected the "beauty of democracy".

Mr Fayose is the third governor to be impeached since Nigeria returned to multiparty democracy in 1999.

Two other governors are currently facing impeachment proceedings from their local legislatures over allegations of corruption.

Nigeria's anti-corruption agency says it is investigating two-thirds of the country's governors.

While Mr Fayose was being sacked, MPs in Anambra State began impeachment proceedings against Governor Peter Obi.

Early last week, Plateau State Governor Joshua Dariye was served with an impeachment notice in controversial circumstances that sparked riots in the central state.

Political tension is high in Nigeria ahead of elections due next April.


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