Politics

Few weeks to handing over: Fayemi, Fayose set Ekiti ablaze

‘It’s the handiwork of Fayose’-Fayemi

‘Fayemi is a defeated man, so I don’t  expect anything better from him’-Fayose

Fayose

Fayose

22 days to handing over, the battle between Governor Kayode Fayemi and Governor elect of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, has taken a violent turn as houses and properties worth over N1 billion were destroyed and a life lost. This is not unconnected to the battle of supremacy between the two gladiators over who is entitled to take over the rein of leadership in the state in October 16, 2014.

The murder of former chairman of Ekiti State chapter of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Mr. Aderiye Omolafe late Thursday night (September 25), has triggered chaos in the state as hoodlums went on rampage early Friday morning, burning and destroying almost everything in sight.

The murdered Aderiye was said to be a staunch supporter of the governor-elect, Ayo Fayose and also alleged to have led the hoodlums that attacked judges, lawyers and other judicial workers during proceedings at the State High Court on Monday, September 22, 2014 and Thursday, September 25, 2014.  Aderiye was murdered by unknown gunmen late Thursday night at his office in Ejigbo area of Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.

The angry mob vented their anger on the offices of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ajilosun area of the state capital. The buildings, which serve as the party’s secretariat, were burnt along with properties of major members of the APC.

Several vehicles and motorcycles were also burnt by the hoodlums, while vehicles parked by the road in such places as Oke Iyinmi, Odo-Ado, Oke-Ila and Oke-Isa, among others, were destroyed.

The action of the irate mob led to a breakdown of law and order until about 9:30 am when security operatives eventually arrested the situation. The anti-riot security operatives tear-gassed the scenes of the protest and dispersed the mob. Many people were nabbed in the course of arresting the chaos.

We reliably gathered that the whole crisis started  with  the confusion at the premises of the Ekiti State High Court in the morning of Thursday, September 25,2014 as thugs believed to be loyal to the state Governor-elect, Ayodele Fayose, allegedly beat up a judge, Justice John Adeyeye, for being allegedly rude to Mr. Fayose.

The pandemonium that ensued scuttled the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting billed to hold today at the High court, Ado-Ekiti, as judicial workers abandoned their duty post and ran for safety.

Witnesses said the pro-Fayose  thugs had besieged the court premises as early as 6a.m., while a detachment of policemen from the police headquarters were also seen on major streets and around the court.

Justice Adeyeye of High Court 3, who was miffed by the huge number of the thugs as they surged towards the court premises had approached Mr. Fayose and urged him to prevail on “his supporters” to keep a safe distance from the court premises, the witnesses said.

An enraged Mr. Fayose was said to have shouted the judge down. Immediately, thugs numbering about 20 pounced on Justice Adeyeye, beat him up and tore his clothes, while his co workers scampered and shouted for help.There are claims by some witnesses that Mr. Fayose personally slapped the judge but that could not be independently verified.

Following the development, judicial workers hurriedly shut down the court premises thereby preventing any court proceeding for hours before the police fired tear gas canisters to disperse the surging crowd.

Justice Adeyeye is presently receiving treatment at a private hospital in Ado-Ekiti.

A similar scenario had played out on Monday when suspected PDP thugs stormed the high court premises, attacked the trial judge, some litigants and judicial workers in the bid to prevent hearing in a case to determine Mr. Fayose’s eligibility for the June 21 governorship election.

The state governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has consequently imposed a 7pm to 7am curfew in the state capital.

The governor, who has also suspended his Thank-You tour of the state, urged the citizenry to be vigilant and provide security agencies with details of suspicious activities that can undermine the peace of the state.

According to him, “On Monday, September 22, thugs acting on the incitement of an interested party, were involved in the sacrilegious sacking of the court while hearing on a political case was in progress. This happened in full glare of the law enforcement agents with inappropriate response. Clearly, these brigands exceeded the limits of acceptable behaviour, even in the most liberal of democracies, and ventured into the realm of blatant criminality with this desecration of the hallowed chambers of the law.

“The fact that this assault did not meet with any strong deterring repercussions from the appropriate authorities further emboldened the miscreants. They subsequently attempted to prevent the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal from sitting, yesterday, Thursday, September 25. I am advised incontrovertibly that thugs acting on the command of Mr. Ayo Fayose, who was also present to lend his clout to the travesty, brazenly assaulted a senior judge and urged his thugs to beat him up and tear his clothes.”

Governor-elect Ayo Fayose, who visited the home of murdered Aderiye in Olokemeji area of Ado Ekiti on Friday, September 26, 2014, to commiserate with the family, said the deceased was his close and staunch supporter.  “It is barbaric and happening at this point in time, it is a political killing. And I will rest it with the police to do a proper investigation, the murdered Aderiye was my very strong supporter. We were together till about 5pm on Thursday. But taking his life is not an option. It is not the best. This is irreparable and we have come here to condole with the family.

“If this other party is sure they are not the one who is responsible for the killing, they should be courageous enough to come and pay a condolence visit to his family. What happened in the town is a clear reaction of the people to the steps being taken by the out-going government to simply cause chaos in the state before their exit. Fayemi is a defeated man, so I don’t expect anything better from him. I see him as governor until his time is over. So, I would not join issues with him.

“It is reckless for anybody to be making assertions on an incident you didn’t witness. I will want to accord the office due respect and not join issues with him. He has only said he has advised the Chief Judge, that is only a piece of advice and there is nothing wrong with it. I have been going round town to calm frayed nerves. If we have not been calming the people since last night, you wouldn’t have seen the peace we have now.

“Their target is to make sure that the inauguration doesn’t take place but my desire is to ensure there is peace and that is why I have been working hard to calm the people. Having failed in the back door of twisting justice through the court, they have now resorted to self-help. But I’m assuring you that by the grace of God, because God abhors people who shed blood, the blood of Aderiye will fight his killers.”

Meanwhile, The All Progressives Congress (APC) has also called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of Ekiti State Governor-elect, Mr. Ayodele Fayose for  allegedly leading thugs to beat up a Judge and then instigating his supporters to attack and burn down the opposition’s secretariat in the state.

In a statement in Lagos, National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said since Mr. Fayose does not yet enjoy any immunity from arrest and prosecution, he should immediately be arrested over “the dastardly and barbaric attack, which represents an attack on justice and on the rule of law, and the violence that has gripped the state.”

The party  said every time a judge is  attacked anywhere in the world, the attackers have been jailed to serve as a deterrent to others who may want to take the laws into their hands, adding: ”The case of the thuggish Fayose should not be different.”

It said the clear message being sent out by the PDP is that it is ready to resort to self help to capture and govern any state, especially in the South-West where the PDP’s desperation has forced it to put forward reprobates as governorship candidates.

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in the state, ASP Victor Babayemi who confirmed the carnage caused by the mob, said some arrests have been made. His words: “A number of suspects have been arrested and taken into custody for investigation in relation to the mayhem. The command is also on the trail of the gunmen who shot and killed the former NURTW boss. The residents of the state are, therefore, advised to remain calm and be law abiding. We equally enjoin the people to comply with the dust-to-dawn curfew order made by His Excellency, the Governor of Ekiti State. Any person or group of persons found flouting the order or breaking the law will be adequately dealt with in accordance with the law.”

-FEMI OYEWALE

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