State Broadcast By His Excellency
Dr. Kayode FAYEMI, Governor, Ekiti State, Nigeria Following the Breach of Peace in the State Friday, September 26, 2014
In o kun o Ekiti Kete.
It has become expedient that I address you today on account of dire happenings in the land of honour, Ekiti State. With tension mounting across the state, Ekiti has been the subject of alarming headlines in the news, following the tragic assault on the judiciary.
On Monday, September 22, thugs acting on the incitement of an interested party, were involved in the sacrilegious sacking of the court while hearing on a political case was in progress. This happened in full glare of the law enforcement agents with inappropriate response. Clearly, these brigands exceeded the limits of acceptable behavior, even in the most liberal of democracies, and ventured into the realm of blatant criminality with this desecration of the hallowed chambers of the law.
The fact that this assault did not meet with any strong deterring repercussions from the appropriate authorities further emboldened the miscreants. They subsequently attempted to prevent the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal from sitting, yesterday, Thursday, September 25. I am advised incontrovertibly that thugs acting on the command of Mr. Ayo Fayose, who was also present to lend his clout to the travesty, brazenly assaulted a senior judge and urged his thugs to beat him up and tear his clothes.
The court premises was thrown into confusion and those present scurried away in search of safety and security. This was on the back of his specious allegation that the judiciary in the state is compromised and biased against him. And the answer to that was to resort to jungle justice and take the laws into his hands. This has led to the closure of the courts indefinitely due to the inability of the security agencies to guarantee the safety of lives and property in our temples of justice. With the entrenched atmosphere of impunity, violence in the state has escalated with the unfortunate loss of one life and the willful damage to several properties to arson by rampaging thugs.
Since the beginning of this development on Monday, which is unprecedented in the recent history of our state, I have been in touch with the Heads of all Security Agencies at the State and Federal levels, urging them to act quickly and firmly in the interest of public law and order. It is worrisome that the slow and inadequate response has occasioned the avoidable escalation of violence in our dear state.
Against this backdrop, it is understandable that not a few stakeholders have expressed concern about what the development portends for our dear state. The brazen contempt of our hallowed law courts and the use of violence and intimidation to obstruct the course of justice is a clear invitation to anarchy of the scale and texture that characterized Ekiti State some years ago. Ekiti Kete, are those years upon us again?
Already, there is widespread anxiety about this development coming at a time the state is going through the transitioning out of one administration and the ushering in of a new one. This is a very delicate period that all stakeholders must work together to ensure Ekiti State comes out stronger for it.
During periods of transition, vital partners in progress adopt a cautious posture, watching for the slightest portents of the possible discontinuity of the regime of peace and tranquility, amongst other factors that have made our state conducive for investors and development partners. We must not disrupt our very bright prospects for sustained development in our state.
Considering the cases that have triggered the recent spate of violence are politically related, the political elite in our state from all disparate quarters must exercise caution. We must rescue our state from the precarious slippery slope that some have desperately pushed us to. We should not imperil the very people we seek to serve by resorting to violence and brigandage. One does not burn down his homestead to establish his claim of ownership or leadership.
Most assuredly, the course of Justice can only be delayed, but can never be truncated. The independence of the Judiciary is an inviolable tenet of any democracy. Accordingly, I have this morning directed the Attorney General of the state to issue a legal advisory to the Chief Judge of the state and all the parties to the existing cases in the State High Court and the Ekiti State Governorship Elections Petitions Tribunal, on the desirability of seeking an alternative venue for the hearing of these cases outside Ekiti State. The State can no longer afford to witness the bizarre spectacle of the beating up of judicial officers and wanton intimidation of lawyers and court personnel.
Now that the security agencies appear to be fully seized of the situation, I call on them not to relent in performing their constitutional role of protecting lives and property in our state. Administrations come and go; politics can be frenetic when the stakes are high; but by the grace of the Almighty God, our state remains for all time, therefore THE PEACE OF OUR LAND IS NOT NEGOTIABLE.
Ekiti Kete, consistent with our history of unity and love, let us work together to make our state a garden of concord where our children and their children will dwell in peace and safety. Even in the pursuit of politics and justice, let us conduct ourselves as kinsmen, bound by a shared love for Ekitiland but differing only in the choice of instruments by which to accomplish the same goal.
Let us then temper our competitive zeal with civility and empathy. Let us deal truthfully with our youth, who are so liable to be led astray by unbridled political fervour, by seeing them as our children rather than as conscripts or fodder for our objectives.
Ekiti Kete, in order to forestall further descent into anarchy in our state, I am taking the very difficult decision to suspend the ‘Thank You’ tour which I’m undertaking as part of our transitioning-out formalities. Also, I have taken the decision to institute a dusk to dawn curfew in the state immediately. Accordingly, there would be no movement between the hours of 7.00 p.m. and 7.00 a.m. everyday till further notice. We urge the citizenry to be vigilant and provide the security agencies with details of suspicious activities that can undermine the peace in our state.
Let us work together to stop the violence and brigandage that has brought about serious embarrassment to our state in the last few days.
Let Peace Reign in the land of honour, Ekiti State.
God bless Ekiti State.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Dr. Kayode Fayemi
Governor, Ekiti State
Friday, September 26, 2014