The political crisis in Ekiti State has heightened with the Governor-elect, Ayo Fayose, calling on the residents of the state to ignore the curfew imposed by outgoing Governor Kayode Fayemi.
Fayose, who arrived in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday afternoon amid jubilation by his supporters, made the call while featuring on a live radio and television interview monitored on Nigerian Television Authority.
Fayemi had on September 26 said “there would be no movement between the hours of 7pm and 7am every day till further notice.”
The outgoing governor had explained that the curfew was necessitated by the widespread violence that greeted the murder of a former Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Omolafe Aderiye, by gunmen.
During the interview, Fayose said residents should go about their normal business because the curfew had brought untold hardship to them.
Fayose said, “It is unfortunate that people have been put under needless pressure and I have discussed with the police and the army on the need to let people move around freely.”
“I have spoken with the security agencies on the need to allow people to move freely. As from today, I have released people to go about freely. There is no more curfew.
“No security agent will arrest you. Anyone who is harassed or arrested should call me.”
Fayose gave out a mobile line that people could call him on to secure their release if arrested.The governor, who promised to personally seek the release of anyone arrested by law enforcement agencies, also likened the alleged last-minute efforts by the All Progressives Congress and the Ekiti-11 to stop his October 16 inauguration to the last kick of a dying horse.
He said the outgoing government would leave a debt profile of nearly N84bn for his administration.
“They took N31bn in the first instance and paid about N10bn and they took another N22bn loan and the state is having N552m monthly deficit and the repayment is till 2020,” he said.
On the purported suit at a Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday by the APC and the E-11 to stop his inauguration on Thursday, Fayose said God’s will would prevail no matter the circumstances.
He said, “Everything will work for good for me and the people of Ekiti State. The case filed in Lagos today(Tuesday); we have found out their antics and I am confident that I would be inaugurated.
“I am currently enjoying God’s grace and kindness which I did not merit. I will work with everybody even within and outside the party.
“This is a rare second chance and I will consult widely with everybody before taking policy decisions.
“You people of Ekiti State saw me that I am not a professor before you voted for me. Those making frantic efforts to go against the will of the people will not succeed. Their efforts is like the last kick of a dying horse and we will triumph.”
The governor-elect added that he had not enjoyed the support of the state government on the arrangement for his inauguration.
He said, “I called Governor Fayemi last week and I told him that the people that will set up the canopy at Government House grounds will arrive today (Tuesday) but Fayemi said no. He said I should write through a permanent secretary and I said no problem. The reception will hold at the Trade Fair Complex in Ado-Ekiti.”
Fayose also pleaded with workers in the state to suspend the industrial action and join his incoming government in developing the state.
He lamented that government had neglected the welfare of the people by owing them salaries and not remitting deductions to their cooperative accounts.
Efforts by The PUNCH to speak with the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Tayo Ekundayo, on Fayose’s call on the people to ignore the curfew and his claim that the government was not prepared for his inauguaration proved abortive.
He did not answer calls placed to his phone by 7pm.
A text message sent to him by 8.14 pm was also not responded to as of press time.
Meanwhile, judiciary workers in the state on Tuesday defied the order of the Chief Judge, Justice Ayodele Daramola, to reopen the courts in the state.
Daramola, acting on the National Judicial Council instruction on Monday had directed the reopening of the courts which he shut down on September 25.
The CJ had closed the courts following attacks on Justices Olusegun Ogunyemi and John Adeyeye by political thugs.
But the state chapter of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria whose members are currently on strike with other civil servants over the non-payment of their two months’ salary arrears refused to resume for duties at the courts.
When our correspondent visited the premises of the Ekiti State High Court and the Court of Appeal, security personnel, including soldiers and riot policemen were on guard.
They barricaded the double lane that links Fajuyi Park with Basiri area in the capital city.
The Ekiti Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which earlier adjourned till Tuesday could not sit as a result of the development.
When contacted, the JUSUN Chairman, Mr. Niyi Ogundare, was hostile. Instead of answering the questions posed to him, he replied with questions.
Excerpt of the encounter:
Your members didn’t resume today (Tuesday) against the directive of the CJ , may we know why sir?
Were you there today (Tuesday)?
And you didn’t see them in their office?
Maybe they are on leave.
I’m speaking with you officially as the JUSUN chairman sir because they are your members.
Then report it in your paper that you didn’t see anybody.
But the Police Public Relations Officer, Victor Babayemi, said the continued presence of armed personnel at the courts was in accordance with the advice of the NJC to the Acting Inspector General of Police that adequate security be provided for judges and court workers.
He said, “Please note that the courts have re-opened as you do know. however the police presence at the courts is to provide security and not to prevent people from going in and out of the courts.
“The locked gate is by the striking workers and not by the police, please.”