The Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, on Tuesday made his first public appearance since his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, lost the Saturday’s governorship election.
Fayose, who went to the palace of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adejugbe, the Aladesanmi III, was mobbed by the people in areas such as Okesa, Oja Bisi, Oja oba, Irona and Oke Oriomi.
At the palace of the Ewi, the governor said it was unfortunate that he and his supporters were still being hounded after the election had come and gone.
He said, “I have come to officially tell you, sir, as the Paramount Ruler of Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, that the Government House was invaded by the police. As we speak, over 300 innocent people are in detention. Since the day of the election, I have not been able to come out. My security aides have been withdrawn, continuously I have been harassed. It is dark hours in our history.
“After the poll on Saturday, my wife was prevented from entering the Government House for about 45 minutes. Since last Wednesday, security agents had laid siege to the Government House, and were subjecting people to untold hardship coming in or going out.
“The poll has come and gone irrespective of what we went through. The constitution says I am still the governor till October 16 this year. Our state radio and television stations have been shut down. And there has been no means of getting across to our people.
“It was only this morning that security agents at the entrance of the Government House were withdrawn. If we have been robbed, I still have a right to life and my family has a right to life too.”
Fayose lamented that his security aides had not been restored while the governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, had a retinue of security aides around him.
“The man that won has three units of the police protecting him. All my security men have been withdrawn since last Wednesday. I am only left with just a few.
“Harassing me is not in the interest of democracy. People must intervene before things go out of hand. I don’t know why we should be in this situation in 2018,” he said.
Oba Adejugbe, in his reply, thanked God that nobody died during the poll.
“As if we knew, monarchs arranged many meetings before the election and pleaded with everybody that before, during and after the poll, we don’t want any trouble. We said then that whoever wins, there should be no problem. The way I see you, I know something is happening. You rarely wear this type of dress in the palace.
“I will convey your message to the Oloye of Oye-Ekiti, who is the Chairman of the Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers and we spoke this morning and we were worried about your whereabouts.”
Oba Adejugbe appealed to security agencies to restore the governor’s security aides.
“As Ekiti leaders, we will intervene. You, Fayemi and Eleka (Prof. Kolapo Olusola) are our sons. Peace must be allowed to reign. We need peace in our state,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project on Tuesday, urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of alleged vote-buying in Saturday’s governorship election in Ekiti.
Executive Director of the organisation, Mr Adetokunbo Mumuni, said in a statement that a letter on the demand had be sent to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, adding that SERAP would institute a suit against the commission if it failed to comply.
According to him, SERAP urges INEC to prosecute anyone suspected to be involved or complicit in the alleged vote-buying, if there is relevant and sufficient evidence of electoral bribery and abuse of the democratic process against them.
He said the organisation requested Yakubu to take steps within 14 days of receipt of the letter, to act.
“This is to compel you and INEC to discharge your constitutional and statutory responsibilities in the public interest,” he quoted the letter as saying.
Mumuni said that it was the responsibility of INEC, as an independent body, to take meaningful steps and actions to minimise electoral bribery by politicians, adding that the commission needed to ensure political equality and prevent unfair electoral competition.
According to him, this is because nobody politic worthy of being called a democracy entrusts the selection of leaders to a process of auction or barter.
He said that vote-buying amounted to undue influence and improper electoral influence.
The SERAP director said that when politicians bought votes, they reinforced social subjugation and did long-term damage to poor voters as vote-buying impaired voters’ already limited political power and participation in governance.
He said that offering and giving poor people money to buy their votes was the hallmark of political disrespect as it implied that politicians perceived voters as lacking autonomy.
He disclosed that copies of the letter to INEC were also sent to ICPC and EFCC and that investigating the allegations and prosecuting suspects in the process would indicate the agencies’ willingness to exert authorities.
The human rights activist stated that this would send a strong message to politicians that INEC would not tolerate any infringement of the electoral process ahead of 2019 general elections.
He said that vote-buying amounted to undue interference in the free exercise of the right to vote as it was implicitly aimed at influencing or attempting to influence a voter not to vote or to vote in a particular manner.
Mumini said that the N3,000 or N5,000 allegedly given to voters during the Ekiti election or payment into the bank accounts of voters was corruptly intended.
He said that it was clearly aimed to influence the choice of candidates and their voting intention.
According to him, the practice seriously undermined the right of voters to freely vote out of their convictions.