Courts in Ekiti State failed to sit yesterday for the continuation of hearings in the ongoing suit instituted by a group of the state’s stakeholders, the E-11, and the Citizen Peoples Party (CPP) against the governor-elect, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.
The continued closure of the courts followed an alleged directive from the Presidency that the case against Fayose “should not be allowed to go on.”
The precincts of the courts were empty yesterday, except for the chirping of birds, the rustling of flora and the ceaseless breeze.
The Chief Judge, Justice Ayodeji Daramola, on September 25, ordered the closure of the courts, following attack on judges, lawyers, judicial officers and litigants.
The purported Presidency’s directive was faithfully executed by a combined team of security operatives, comprising men of Nigeria Army, the police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
As early as 7am, the security teams mounted about 10 check-points around Fajuyi area where the courts are located.
A black coloured pick-up van with the inscription, “Ondo NA 32 OPS 08 Fast Strike Squad,” which was occupied by some soldiers, patrolled the area.
Other stern-looking and heavily-armed security operatives were seen either standing by the gates of the courts or by their vans, surveying the area for possible infractions.
Some of them also stood by the roadsides, controlling vehicular movements, which were constrained to one side of the dual-carriageway from the Basiri end of the road, causing low traffic.
At the same time, scores of individuals believed to be supporters of the embattled Fayose, gathered around the Fajuyi Park, watching the scene while journalists, who ventured near the premises, were barred from gaining entry.
A male journalist with a state-owned broadcast station was physically assaulted and his camera seized by those believed to belong to one of the parties in the current dispute.
The E-11had instituted the case against the governor-elect, contesting his ‘eligibility’ to contest the June 21, 2014 election over a purported false information Fayose disclosed in a Form CF001 of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The group claims that he failed to state in the form that he was indicted by an administrative panel in 2006 and subsequent impeached.