Saharareporters, New York
A State High Court headed by Justice Adetayo sitting in Ado Ekiti has ordered that former Governor Ayodele Fayose be tried for murder.
Fayose, who was impeached last year and is currently standing trial for corruption, is to be tried for the murder of Tunde Omojola, a Netherlands-based Nigerian. Mr. Omojola died in 2005 while being beaten by Mr. Fayose and his thugs.
On May 28, 2005, then Governor Fayose led a group of political thugs to Iddo–Ekiti in an attempt to rig council elections in the city. The 31-year old Omojola, who was visiting home to prepare for his wedding billed for November 2005, accosted Fayose when the governor personally seized ballot boxes from the polling booth. Mr. Omojola expressed dismay that the governor was participating in election rigging. He further stated that he was embarrassed by Fayose's action.
Fayose, who had known Omojola in Ibadan, capital of Oyo State, was incensed that the young man had the audacity to question him. In fury, the governor slapped the Netherlands-based young man. Then, under Fayose's watch, his supporters wrestled the young man to the ground and beat him to a coma.
A bank manager, Mr. Tunde Bakare, wanted to take the comatose Omojola to a hospital, but his effort drew the ire of the governor. Fayose and his supporters pounced on the banker and broke one of his legs. A few hours later, Tunde Omojola was confirmed dead at the Federal Medical Center, Iddo-Ekiti.
On return to the state capital of Ado Ekiti after killing Tunde Omojola, a seemingly possessed Fayose broke into a meeting of members of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), shot into the air and broke the car windshields of terrified party members as they scampered into safety.
As if to reward Fayose for his brutality against Ekiti indigenes, former President Olusegun Obasanjo went on a state visit to Ekiti State where he openly adopted Ayodele Fayose as his "political son." He later appointed Fayose to head a PDP presidential candidate search committee charged with recruiting Obasanjo’s successor.
In December 2005, the State Security Service (SSS) sent a report to Obasanjo that indicted Fayose for murder and also accused the then governor of operating a killer squad. Mr. Obasanjo ignored the report.
Today’s court decision was the culmination of a series of legal steps by human rights lawyers led by Femi Falana, president of the West African Bar Association, to hold Fayose to account for murder. Mr. Falana had sued the Inspector General of Police on behalf of Tunde Omojola's parents. A Federal High Court in Abuja granted him leave to force the hands of the Inspector General of Police to investigate the murder.
Fayose's suspected involvement in the murder of a gubernatorial rival, Dr. Ayo Daramola, in the night of August 14 2006 fueled calls for his impeachment in late 2006.
Mr. Fayose fled the state capital 24 hours before his final impeachment. He remained in hiding until his sudden appearance two weeks ago to address an arranged rally of “supporters” in Ado-Ekiti.
Fayose's killer squad was composed of a retired army major as well as Dayo Okondo and Niyi Adedipe, an Odua Peoples Congress (OPC) operative in the state. Many believe the squad was responsible for killing two students of the College of Education, Ikerre-Ekiti in March 2004. The assassination of Dr. Daramola in August, 2006 was the squad’s most high-profile operation.
Fayose’s murderous activities in Ekiti State vindicate Professor Wole Soyinka’s description of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) as “a nest of killers.”