Let Kayode Fayemi be

Friday, April 30, 2010

On Tuesday, 13 April, 2010, the Ado-Ekiti High Court, venue of the election petitions tribunal, was filled to capacity. The court room was so small that only a few people could gain access. Those outside the court room were more than five times those in the room. Proceedings went smoothly, although some lawyers played their usual prank of looking for every opportunity to waste time by bringing up spurious arguments even when they were either unnecessary or irrelevant. Prominent among the arguments is the fallacy of reasoning which logicians call ignoratio elenchi (irrelevant conclusion). Nigerian judges have to be praised for their unusual patience before some of our lawyers. The case would have gone on to the point of calling for an unnecessary adjournment even after final addresses had already been taken from both parties and all that was needed was to wind up and expect the day of judgment to be communicated to both parties later.

In the midst of bickering over irrelevant issues, the very smart Hon. Justice Hamma Barka quickly disarmed further dishonest tricks by lawyers, took up the microphone and thanked the two political parties and their attorneys, thus putting an end to time wasting and an anticipated call for unnecessary and unacceptable adjournment. It is highly probable that the awareness of the fact that the day of judgment was imminent, was responsible for what happened outside the court when Dr. Fayemi and his supporters were about to leave the court premises. The atmosphere was charged and Dr. Fayemi and his convoy were protected by loyalists until they ran into an ambush at the junction of the new Governor’s Office.

Altogether, four Ekiti state Action Congress (AC) members were injured. Other targets like Mrs. Funmilayo Olayinka who is Dr. Fayemi’s Deputy, Chief Jide Awe, the Ekiti State Chairman of Action Congress and an AC senatorial aspirant for Ekiti Central, Mr. Babafemi Ojudu of The News Magazine, escaped with Dr. Fayemi into the premises of nearby Tantalizers eatery, right at the same junction of the new Governor’s Office, for about an hour. Minutes after Dr. Fayemi and his entourage sneaked out of their place of refuge, the present writer ran into a cross fire of gun shots and arrests of some thugs who were made to lie down as captives while onlookers engaged in hushed discussions about the war-like situation. The situation was that bad.

The Action Congress (AC) had suspected the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the mask behind the violence while the PDP’s state government had rejected the allegation, calling the AC the aggressor. It stands logic on its very head to call those being attacked and who would have been killed or maimed the aggressor. How does one expect Dr. Fayemi and his entourage to be attacked by his own party? That would have been madness. It is unbelievable, and even inconceivable, under the circumstances leading to the mindless attack. Dr. Fayemi is so popular and passionately loved in Ado-Ekiti (not to mention other places in Ekiti State) that the city would have witnessed an unprecedented mayhem that would have spilled over to other towns if the violence had not been graciously nipped in the bud or, worse still, if Dr. Fayemi, the Ekiti people’s symbol of hope and change, had been hurt, maimed or killed!

As if the show of that day was not satisfactory enough, the PDP thugs struck once more. This second time it was the vigilance of passers by and security agents in Ado-Ekiti that prevented another bloodshed attack on the same Fayemi at the 75th birthday and retirement ceremony of Bishop Olatunji Fagun, the Bishop of the Catholic church in Ado-Ekiti, a few days after the first attack. What memories do we make of these ugly scenarios under a "do or die" political philosophy as engineered by the erstwhile Field Marshal of the PDP, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Now, we can only advise Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to steer clear of this primitive and extremely dangerous philosophy in country already being dubbed a Banana Republic.

We all know that the Ekiti gubernatorial rerun had given an incredibly bad image to Nigeria as a whole, and Ekiti State in particular, through the better-to-be-forgotten Ido-Osi monumental electoral fraud. Through it the word Ido-Osi has, all over the world, entered into the lexicon of electoral malpractice as well as any form or description of blatant cheating, or daylight robbery. President Obama knows about Ido-Osi in this connection. So also are leaders of the European Union and African, Asian and Caribbean countries or, in short, the whole world. What I really do not know is about the other planets. I am sure when our Acting President Goodluck Jonathan met with President Obama who wanted an assurance of free and fair election in Nigeria in 2011 from him (Jonathan), the name "Ido-Osi" must be constantly in his (Obama’s) mind.

With what happened after the tribunal’s sitting in Ado-Ekiti on 13 April and what followed a few days later, it is necessary for the Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to step in and read the riot act against future re-occurrence. If such a violence could occur on the eve of judgment, only God knows what would happen on the day of judgment that is yet to be announced. The Acting President should know that Dr. Fayemi, like other citizens of Nigeria, should be free to move around unmolested before, during and after the final judgment at the tribunal. People at home and abroad should be made to understand that instead of engineering a retaliation as people of primitive mentality always do, Dr. Fayemi had simply petitioned the Federal Government and the police on the matter. This must be appreciated as a lawful and gentlemanly bevahiour of a person destined to lead his state to the path of virtue, honour and greatness. If anything happens to Dr. Fayemi and his supporters, both the state government and the Federal government should be held responsible. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. A stitch in time saves nine.

In as much as Ido-Osi formula cannot be brought to work at the electoral tribunal, Nigerians and the international community can at least heave a sigh of permanent relief that never again shall we witness an occurrence of the national shame called Ido-Osi electoral fraud and the violence that characterized its emergence during those days of cursed memory. Neither do we expect its re-emergence at the expected judicial conclusion of electoral petitions occasioned by that fraud. Simply put, there is no room for another Ido-Osi at the historic Ekiti tribunal. Ido-Osi episode is gone, and I believe gone, for ever!

The bottom line is, let Dr. Kayode Fayemi be, and let the hitherto peaceful people of Ekiti State regain their sanity through the fulfillment of their long expectations of peace, change, progress and good governance.

Moses Akinola Makinde is Professor of Philosophy (retired) Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

Source: www.thenationonlineng.net

0 Feedback:

Site Meter