By Ayodele Fagbohun
I hasten to commend the quick intervention of some foremost senior lawyers of Ekiti extraction led by eminent, erudite and formidable legal luminary, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) who recently instituted court action to redress the political gangsterism and unbridled power tuzzle in the hallow chambers of Ekiti House of Assembly.
It is nauseating and galling to recall that the peaceful Ekiti House Assembly was rudely assaulted and violated in a Gestapo and brazen manner.
A validly elected Speaker, Gboyega (of Ijesha Isu/Ikole constituency, was violently removed. While peaceful session disrupted, army of occupation clamped down on the beleaguered House. Worse still, the whole state was overrun under undue tension that defied plain common sense and comprehension in a peace time.
Having examined the pros and cons of the egregious mocking narrative and the destabilizing effect on the corporate existence of the state which must not be treated with kid gloves, this unabashed blitzkrieg in the legislative House could constitute a dangerous precedent if unchallenged and not reversed or remedied. Constitutionally, democracy might elude Ekiti State and go into utter and unalterable permanent darkness. God forbids.
Nonetheless, political intrigues, naked power play as pastime have always been the distinguishable trademark of some Ekiti intelligentsia, a highly volatile but staunchly principled and distinct sub ethnic group of Yoruba race in Nigeria.
The term or name Ekiti denotes a mound “hill” in Yoruba language from the rugged mountainous feature of the country. It is an extensive province, well watered including numerous homogenous tribes, clains and families neighbouring Ijesha.
The Ekiti are characteristically rugged, resilient, independent, resolute and fair-minded; unafraid to swim in troubled waters whenever their rights are infringed or they smell rat. They won’t capitulate to brute force and fight to the finish with the last pint of their blood until justice is done and restored in the otherwise restive situation.
If there is no justice, gangsterism and high handedness shall prevail, while might is right in a supposed democracy. Peaceful co-existence will only remain wishful thinking in the fertile imagination of the people and tantamount to peace of the graveyard and stability of standing still.
However, as one of the largest historical sub groups of the larger Yoruba people in the realm of West Africa sub region, granting state status for Ekiti people within Federal Republic of Nigeria was a calculated stratagem of military dictatorship led by Northern oligarchy and self serving cronies in Yoruba land to weaken and mortally denigrate the integrity and solidarity of Yoruba nation.
Whereas, if Ekiti was not severed from the old Ondo state, the present political imbroglio, treachery, inordinate overlapping ambition and political venality could be reasonably contained and progressively extirpated from our public life. How? Due to the overwhelming influence of the multi various units resident in the defunct Ondo State of course, protracted military rule is the bane of Nigeria’s development in all its ramifications.
Although insinuations might fly all over the place that afterall, there was underlying political feud and rivalry nursed by deputy governor Akin Omoboriowo (from Ijero Ekiti) to supplant the leadership of his boss, Governor Michael Adekunle Ajasin (of Owo).
This subsequently flared up into huge political conflagration in the old Ondo State. Its cumulative effect led to the sudden termination of the ill fated Second Republic politics in December 31, 1983.
Not withstanding the reactionary powerful forces that gathered in glee behind Akin Omoboriowo to get rid of his master politically, it was a political milestone to record that late Governor Ajasin who hailed from minority sub group, was able to muster appreciable electoral votes across Ekiti the presumably stronghold of Chief Omoboriowo and non-Ekiti alike which led to overwhelming victory for Ajasin and his Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) at the polls.
For posterity, the result of UPN 1983 governorship primary as announced by the chairman of the nomination committee was as follows:
Michael Adekunle Ajasin polled 707 votes, Chief Akin Omoboriowo, 531 votes, Senator Banji Akintoye 94 votes.
It is significant to note that the outcome of primary election was eventually translated into total victory for UPN governorship candidate, Ajasin and UPN in the general election. Unfortunately, for the Federal might of the ruling National Party of Nigeria (NPN) rabidly loyal to their new found candidate, Akin Omoboriowo who suddenly replaced the original candidate of NPN, one Chief Familoni, a relation of Omoboriowo.
The election results were barefacedly short changed and massively rigged in favour of the odious and unpopular NPN and flagbearer. This precipitated spontaneous reactions from the public. Electoral mayhem, civil strife and turmoil became the order of the day.
At the end of it all, it ended in the tribunal and court of law. Justice was served in favour of Ajasin and his ever winning party, UPN.
The current happenings in Ekiti House of Assembly controlled and dominated by membership of the ruling APC is totally uncalled for, unprecedented and utterly reprehensible to say the least. While some described the silly and odious event as a violent dance of death for the homogenous Assembly and so called progressive party. All of a sudden, they seemed to desire perpetuating their reign under the huge pretext of democracy.
Another school of thought is of the opinion that the self inflicted and ugly political scenario in the state is sheer game of musical chairs by a myopic visionless and barbaric group crafted in tom foolery.
This in the ultimate may lead to anarchy. Ironically Ekiti state parades in sanctimonious hypocrisy the sobriquet and motto “Land of Honour and Knowledge” which must be empirically demonstrated indeed and in action to amply reflect the ethos of liberal democracy.
In this connection, legal action must be taken to remedy the ten unparliamentary measures cowardly enacted in the House which are patently inimical to democracy to deter future untoward occurrences.
In the alternative, the House must revert to the status quo ante to ensure that frayed nerves are assuaged; to deepen democracy based on spirit de corps, camaraderie, sportsmanship, justice and fair-play, not tainted in political sophistry, subterfuge and chicanery.
Ekiti state as a major player in the fast approaching 2023 presidential elections come February 25, 2023, cannot afford to be a battle field and an agent of destabilization in the South West.
Ekiti also as a leading APC controlled state must of necessity present a united and formidable platform to win convincingly and overwhelmingly the all important presidential polls on the side of the authentic progressives at the first ballot!
So may it be God willing!!