Ekiti Crisis: Chief Judge Daramola Got it Wrong - By Lere Olayinka
Fracas during court proceedings is not new in Nigeria, especially in political cases.
On March 18, 2013, supporters of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Labour Party (LP) clashed at the Ondo State Governorship election Tribunal. Four persons were severely injured.
On January 23, 2012, supporters of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) CAN clashed at the premises of the governorship election petition tribunal in Lokoja, Kogi State. One person was SHOT and three others injured. The then Speaker, Kogi State House of Assembly, Abdullahi Bello, narrowly escaped death.
On January 6, 2012, TWO persons were injured in a commotion between the supporters of Gov. Tanko Almakura of Nasarawa State and his predecessor Alhaji Akwe Doma at the Court of Appeal in Makurdi. The supporters of CPC and PDP were in the court to witness the judgment of the election petition between the governor and his predecessor, which the court adjourned to a later date.
In all the THREE instances mentioned above, COURTS in the States were not SHUT while no JUDGES came out of his chamber to "warn" the party supporters.
Now on the alleged assault on Justice Adeyeye last Thursday, it was reported that the judge told the Ekiti Governor-Elect, Ayodele Fayose (who came to attend the Tribunal sitting) to "warn" his "THUGS." That reportedly took place at the COURT PREMISES, not inside Justice Adeyeye's chamber or Court.
Firstly, Justice Adeyeye reportedly addressed law-abiding Nigerians, who came to the Court to observe proceedings as THUGS. Isn't that wrong?
Secondly, Fayose was in the court premises, not inside any courtroom. Meaning that Justice Adeyeye came out of his chamber or court to address people who were possibly being unruly at the court.
Now I ask, is it the DUTY of a JUDGE to check UNRULY crowd in the court premises? Definitely NO!
Thirdly, if indeed Justice Adeyeye was assaulted by the "unruly crowd," was he assaulted because they knew he was a judge? Was Justice Adeyeye carrying IDENTIFICATION as a JUDGE on his head? Definitely NO!
In Ondo, Kogi and Benue States that I mentioned above, did the Chief Judge of any of the State SHUT DOWN the COURTS?
Obviously, the Ekiti Chief Judge, Justice Daramola shut down Courts in the State for reasons other than what happened in the Ado Ekiti High Court premises last Monday and Thursday. Only Justice Daramola can tell Nigerians why he shut down the courts in Ekiti because even when GUNSHOTS boomed in Lokoja on January 23, 2012, the Kogi State CJ did not shut the courts.
Now, on the last Monday incident, neither Fayose nor the PDP as a party ordered anyone to invade the court. Those who did must have done it on their own, and when they did, not even Fayose and PDP lawyers were spared.
Perhaps, those who invaded the court saw that they were about to be SHORT-CHANGED.
If someone had been defeated in all the 16 Local Governments and he now wants to come through the window of the court, does anyone expects those who voted to defeat the person not to react?
Even our Lord Jesus Christ did not hold His peace when he met people trading in the Temple.
"And he made a whip of small cords and put them all out of the Temple, with the sheep and the oxen, sending in all directions the small money of the changers and overturning their tables." John 2:15.
As it stands today, those who orchestrated the hullabaloo of last week must have realised the futility in their clandestine efforts because no law permits a CJ to relocate his State court to other State.
Also, all the efforts geared towards stopping Fayose, the man popularly elected by Ekiti people have failed and only God knows who will get burnt by the fire ignited by those who were rejected by Ekiti people but wanted to retain power, using the judiciary.
I therefore wish to align myself with the call by Fayose and the PDP for a through probe of the Ekiti judicial crisis with a view to bringing those found culpable to book.
As for those that have promoted the judicial crisis above the gruesome murder Chief Omolafe Aderiye, such that they could not even offer one sentence of sympathy in their State Broadcast, God will definitely meet them at the point of their wickedness.
Finally, no one owns more stake in Ekiti than the others. Rather, Ekiti belongs to all of us and the wish of the people MUST be RESPECTED.