Written by Doyin Adebusuyi, Ado Ekiti
Thugs invaded the Ekiti State High Court and disrupted proceedings on the state’s governor-elect. The court was sitting on Ayo Fayose’s eligibility to contest the June 21 governorship election.
Daily Trust gathered that the judge, Justice Segun Ogunyemi, narrowly escaped lynching by the youths, who accused him of showing desperation to hear the case.
Also, a chieftain of the All Prog-ressives Congress and the Chairman of Ado West Local Government Development Authority, Mr Sunday Ibitoye, and one of the plaintiffs, Mr Adeniyi Ajakaye, were beaten and chased out of the court premises.
The youth, who brandished dangerous weapons like clubs, cudgels and stones, prevented Justice Ogunyemi from giving an adjournment date, as they bom-barded the court in a commando-like style forcing court officials, including lawyers to run for their lives in different directions.
A socio-political pressure group, E-11 and one Adeniyi Ajakaye, are challenging the eligibility of Fayose, who was candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, to contest the election on the basis of his impeachment on October 16, 2006, by the then House of Assembly over alleged gross misconduct.
The trial, which began on a peaceful note in the morning turned violent, after the judge dismissed the application brought by Fayose, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.
The judge also struck out the application brought by the defendant, which sought the reversal of the earlier ruling delivered by Justice Ogunyemi, which granted the plaintiffs’ request for the abridgement of days by which the defendants must reply to issues raised in the substantive suit.
After the early morning ruling, Justice Ogunyemi adjourned till 12 noon for the commencement of hearing of the substantive suit and entertainment of other pending issues, but youths, who were hanging around the court premises despite the heavy presence of anti-riot policemen, entered the court premises and chased out the occupants.
Sensing danger, policemen went into the inner chambers of the court, where Justice Ogunyemi was preparing for the afternoon session and took him away through the back door.
The youths accused Justice Ogunyemi of collecting bribe to avert “justice”.
PDP Publicity Secretary, Pastor Kola Oluwawole, while reacting to the crisis, urged Justice Ogunyemi to steer clear of the case and also condemned him for what he called “connivance with the APC-led government to pervert justice in the case”. The party alleged that Justice Ogunyemi’s actions confirmed the rumour that he was allegedly offered a sum of N75 million to truncate justice in the case.
Interim state chairman of the APC, Chief Jide Awe, on his part, said: “We are back to Idi Amin era in Ekiti where judges and lawyers are attacked in the face of the court. This is terrible”.
He added that since the case was not between his party and the PDP or Fayose, they were not at the court and as such did not witness the attack.