One Scandal Begets Another in Ekiti State, By Ogaga Ifowodo

Ekiti State, the self-styled “Land of Honour,” can’t seem to
do anything honourable in recent times. “Ile iyi, ile eye” or
“Land of honour, land of integrity,” its moto boasts. Having
coined the imperishable new phrase “stomach infrastructure”
to define its loftiest vision of governance, and gone ahead to
elect as its chief executor an impeached former governor still
standing trial for the alleged embezzlement of public funds
through a foul poultry project, Ekiti has in the past week shown
the rest of the country what its political philosophy means with
regard to the judiciary. If the alleged role of former governor
and soon-to-be-governor-again Ayodele Fayose in the
scandalous attack on the judiciary is anything to go by, then a
heavy pall of ignominy may have settled over Ekiti for the next
four, maybe eight, years.
It was bad enough that on Monday, 22 September 2014, thugs
believed to be associated with the governor-elect invaded the
High Court premises in Ado-Ekiti where the state’s election
petition tribunal sits to hear the case filed by the incumbent
governor’s party, the APC, seeking to nullify the election. A
pre-election case by an independent group, the E11,
contending that Fayose was not a fit and proper person for
the office of governor due to his impeachment and pending
trial by the EFCC for corruption was also being heard having
suffered unconscionable delays beyond the election itself. The
E11 group accuses Fayose of lying about his impeachment to
INEC. Somehow, Fayose, his party, PDP, and supporters believe
that seeking redress of perceived electoral injustice through
the very machinery set up for the purpose tantamounts to his
opponent, who was quick to accept defeat and congratulate
him, attempting to obtain victory “through the window.” And
that it ought to be resisted by any means necessary, mob
action being one such means. Leading to Mayhem Monday when
a mob invaded the high court premises to . . . well, take the law
into its own hands. It is as if the pro-Fayose mob already
knows the judgement the tribunal is yet to give and, not liking
it, decided to stop it forthwith.
And so came Tragic Thursday, when the panel of judges hearing
the petition ruled against a preliminary objection to hold that
it had jurisdiction. Emboldened by their action of three days
earlier for which no one was arrested or in any way sanctioned,
the mob decided this time to beat up a judge, Justice John
Adeyeye, who was hearing in another courtroom a case that
had nothing to do with the petition but had come out to appeal
to the governor-elect to control the riotous crowd that had
surged after him to the high court premises. Justice Adeyeye’s
suit was ripped off his back while the mob’s unbridled violence
caused other judges to flee for their lives. The chief judge who
happened not to be present at the time was nevertheless not
spared as his chambers were ransacked and his record book
torn to pieces, according to the high court’s registrar. The
mayhem has compelled the Chief Judge to shut down the High
Court in order to ensure the safety of judges and judicial
Expectedly, Governor-elect Fayose has denied knowledge of
the sacrilege. “How can I order the people to beat up a judge
that is handling a case that has nothing to do with me?” he
asks in self-exoneration. How, Your Excellency? Well, by
conduct that speaks even more loudly than words. Conduct that
conveys to goons the unmistakable assurance of protection
from prosecution the minute you take office in just a few
days. And by words, for that matter, such as these which you
spoke to underline the coming reign of impunity right after
protesting your innocence: “But I want to point out that a
situation whereby judges or judicial officers who should be
custodians of the law get compromised by politicians, breeds
anarchy. . . . It is sad that most of our judges have
compromised. . . . If you have been defeated . . . and you now
want to come in through the window, it won’t be like ice cream
party for the APC. I would not be cheap.”
There it is, sir! You nudged and urged the desecration of the
temple of justice. For a former governor only days away from
being sworn in to uphold the constitution and the rule of law,
your words indicate a vile motive in the contemptible attack
against the judiciary and the lives of those you describe as
compromised custodians of the law. The order of self-help and
impunity inscribed by your words has thrown Ekiti into anarchy
and set the stage for your second coming as governor, the
anarchy aggravated by the murder of a former chairman of
the state’s chapter of the National Union of Road Transport
Workers who also happened to have been one of your henchmen.
Out-going Attorney-General, Wale Fapohunda, lamented the
other day on Channels Television that Ekiti is being scandalised
by this premeditated act of sacrilege. True, but the real
scandal was your stomach infrastructure election. For a man
who should be straining every nerve to prove his detractors
wrong by seeking redemption at every opportunity, your pre-
inauguration outing speaks volumes about compromise and
anarchy. The only wonder remains when voters’ remorse will
commence in the land of honour.


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