By ABIODUN NEJO
Social and commercial activities returned to Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, yesterday after three days of violence and tension that followed the assassination on Thursday night of the former State Chairman of the National Union of road Transport Workers, NURTW, Chief Omolafe Aderiye.
Banks, shops, markets and offices opened for activities yesterday just as commuters were seen on the roads. Signs of normalcy began to show as early as 7am after the lifting of the 7pm to 7am curfew imposed on the state by the Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, when vehicles and people trooped to the roads.
The curfew was part of measures to curb the violence just as soldiers were deployed and police intensified patrol and search to restore peace. Aderiye, a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftain and staunch supporter of the governor-elect, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, was murdered by some assassins on Thursday night.
The murder heightened the crisis generated by the invasion of the Ekiti State High Court premises by a mob and assault on a judge, Justice John Adeyeye, on Monday and Thursday.
This was as the state police command said that 19 suspects in its net were being interrogated to ascertain the culpability of each of them in the murder of the former NURTW boss.
Spokesperson for the police in the state, Mr. Victor Babayemi, said the identity of the suspects who were arrested between Saturday and yesterday would not be disclosed. He said a female was among the suspects.
This was as the Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of Zone 8, Mr. Christopher Dega, and the Commissioner of Police in Ekiti State, Mr. Taiwo Lakanu, on Monday met with traditional rulers in the state as well as other stakeholders in their bid to fully restore peace in the state following days of violence and tension.
The meeting with traditional rulers was targeted at fashioning ways of ensuring lasting peace in their domains and in the state.
It was gathered that eight traditional rulers, namely: Oba Idowu Adamo Babalola, the Onitaji of Itaji and Chairman of Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers, Oba Adebayo Adewole, the Ajero of Ijero-Ekiti; Oba James Adedapo Popoola, the Oore of Otun-Ekiti; Oba M. G. Adedeji, the Owa Ooye of Okemesi; Oba Olu Adegoke Adeyemi, the Alara of Aramoko; Oba Oluwole Ademolaju, the Oloye of Oye kingdom and Oba S. o. Ajiboye, the Onisan of Isan- Ekiti attended the meeting.
However, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon Adewale Omirin, yesterday dismissed as spurious and baseless, the statement allegedly made by the PDP that he was interested in becoming the Acting Governor of the State. Omirin told journalists in Ado Ekiti that the allegation was very unfortunate, saying he was never desperate to become the Acting Governor or planning to stall the swearing-in of Fayose as the governor of the state under any guise.
The PDP Director of Media and Information, Mr. Gboyega Aribisogan, was quoted to have alleged that Omirin was working with Fayemi to ensure that Fayose, was not sworn-in on October 16 so that the Speaker would automatically become the Acting Governor as stipulated by the constitution in case of any vacancy at the executive level.
But the speaker said: “This must have been a figment of imagination of the PDP. I have never taken any step that could make anyone to accuse me of working with the executive to derail the transition.
“I am a politician who believes in the rule of law and the dictates of the constitution and nothing can be traced to me to suggest that I am eyeing the governorship in acting capacity.
“This allegation has confirmed that the PDP is jittery. It is afraid of its own shadow. Nothing stops any of the parties to any election to go to court to seek redress. It is part of the democratic process and we expect the PDP to be civil enough to subject itself to judicial scrutiny.
“I want to advise the PDP to rather concentrate on how to face the judiciary than resorting to self help under the guise of blackmailing the people that have nothing to do with the challenges confronting it,” Omirin said.
The Speaker also pleaded with the people of the State to eschew violence and embrace peace for Ekiti to remain united and strong for sustainable development.
Omirin also appealed to the Commissioner of Police to work assiduously to ensure that the curfew slammed on the state was strictly complied with by the residents to restore peace and curtail violence.