Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State has this week continued acting with raging impunity with his systematic attempts to deny State Assembly members’ entry to Ado-Ekiti Assembly and manipulate the outcome of the State’s elections.
This week marks the latest in a series of instances where Governor Fayose has abused his authority, and the authority of the Federal Government and military, to silence political opposition. The Ekitigate Scandal, first revealed by SaharaReporters in February, shows that Ayo Fayose did not lawfully win his gubernatorial election in 2014. With the assistance of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders Musiliu Obanikoro, Iyiola Omisore, and Jelili Adesiyan he intimidated and bribed Brigadier General Aliyu Momoh to assist their rigging plans for the Ekiti State election.
Recent attempts by Ekiti State Assembly members to begin impeachment proceedings against him for these crimes have been curbed by Governor Fayose. Sources say that All Progressives Congress (APC) Assembly members were physically blocked from gaining entry to the Ekiti State Secretariat by PDP politicians, supporters, and State Security Services mobilized by Governor Fayose.
On Tuesday April 7th military and security officials denied civil servants entry to the Secretariat as they surrounded the Assembly House with armored patrol vehicles and a tank, sources at the scene told SaharaReporters.
The following day, April 8th, saw the reemergence of the controversial Brigadier General Momoh, who had previously carried out the demands to rig Ekiti’s election for Fayose in 2014. Brig. Gen. Momoh reportedly accosted APC lawmakers en route again to the Secretariat, according to a SaharaReporter citizen journalist at the scene. This same source told SaharaReporters that Brig. Gen. Momoh blocked APC lawmakers until local thugs hired by Fayose arrived and chased the lawmakers away.
SaharaReporters also reported yesterday that several roadways in Ado-Ekiti were blocked by Fayose supporters using commandeered buses, bon fires, and other materials intended to restrict access to State lawmakers.
Ekiti saw similar tactics during the week of the presidential election, as the Ekiti State Police Command placed a moratorium on public processions and political rallies—which disproportionately affected the APC opposition. Ekiti APC members fell under attack after a victory party celebrating President-elect Buhari’s success by three Hilux vans filled with armed gunmen.
Taiwo Olatubosun, the Ekiti State APC Publicity Secretary, publically told journalists that the Hilux vans had Government House license plates and that three men in police uniforms were in the front seats. Mr. Olatubosun accused Governor Fayose and the Ekite State Police of orchestrating the attack, which saw a hail of bullets fired into the crowd of APC supporters and the destruction of property and cars.
Idowu Adelusi, Governor Fayose’s Chief Press Secretary, issued a statement to the public that it was the APC who attacked themselves intending to blame Fayose, he said “the Governor [Fayose] does not operate or have any killer gang as they had alleged, rather, it is the APC’s killer gang which was set up and funded by Fayemi’s administration.”
Tensions have risen between Governor Fayose and the predominantly APC State Assembly over the latter’s attempt to impeach Governor Fayose. SaharaReporters reported on Wednesday that the High Court of Abuja struck down the legal maneuvers by Fayose’s camp to prevent impeachment proceedings against him in Ekiti State. Governor Fayose told the media that the Ekiti State lawmakers “are the joke of the century” and that they have been abdicating their duties since last year.
There are continued concerns that Governor Fayose is attempting to unlawfully manipulate this Saturday’s election in Ekiti State following the same script as he used during the presidential and 2014 gubernatorial elections of voter suppression, hiring of local thugs, and using State Security Services to give preferential access to PDP supporters.
At present moment, the only legal repercussions Governor Fayose has faced are the attempts by APC lawmakers in Ekiti State to impeach him. No probe into his conduct during the lead-up to the presidential election has been conducted, nor has investigation or charges been brought against him—or his accomplices—for his involvement in the Ekitigate Scandal.