The 2014 Governorship Elections in Ekiti State may have come and gone, but Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, wants President Goodluck Jonathan to tell Nigerians who authorised the military to prevent some governors of the All Progressives Congress, APC, from attending the final governorship election campaign in Ekiti State.
Soyinka made this statement while briefing newsmen on Saturday, 21 June, 2014 in Lagos, urging the affected governors to seek redress in court.
He also described the actions of security operatives in Ekiti as a dangerous precedent that should not be swept under the carpet.
Soyinka also called on the National Assembly to set up a commission of enquiry to unravel those behind the act, even as he regretted that the military dishonoured itself for accepting to be used to influence a democratic process.
It could be recalled that Governors Rotimi Amaechi of RiversState, Aliyu Wammako of Sokoto and Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State were among the APC governors stopped on Thursday by security forces from attending the rally of Governor Kayode Fayemi, their party’s candidate in yesterday’s election in Ekiti State.
According to Soyinka: “To prevent governors from entering Ekiti is unconstitutional. The matter should be charged to court.
“Supposing the governors were thugs, we will say that what the army did was constitutional. When the army starts acting like thugs, I see no difference between their action and waylaying the governors. So I am asking the military; when did you take up the job of electoral thugs? The governors should sue whoever is responsible.”
* Professor Wole Soyinka
The Nobel Laureate explained that the action against the governors was the kind a former Police Commissioner in Rivers State, Mr Matthew Mbu, considered a proper conduct.
He said: “I want us to think about this. When did Police Commissioner Mbu join the military? When we spoke in this hall people said what business does Wole Soyinka have with Rivers, what does Femi Falana have in Rivers State? What we were saying that day was that if we allowed this kind of conduct to be accepted, there will be escalation. It will happen in dangerous dimensions in any other place in Nigeria.’
”We have a responsibility in any part of Nigeria where the rights of the citizens are violated. It does not matter whether the person is a motor mechanic, governor or legislator. We have a responsibility to cry out and to tell Nigerians, ‘if you don’t speak now, it will come to you. And it is going to come with fatal consequences’. It is about time we put a stop to that.”
Soyinka added that, “Who gave orders like that? Is it the Chief of the Army Staff? Is it a General somewhere? Is it the Korofo as they call them? Enough is enough. Fayemi has a name, Amaechi has a name, Oshiomhole has a name. Why is it that those who prevented them from exercising their citizens’ rights do not have names? It is always ‘order from the top’.
“Sometimes we don’t even know where the top is. It happened in Rivers State. And now there is ‘order from the top’ to stop the governors. That type of language should stop. The military is being paid from the public purse. They are now taking sides in a political election. What do we do about this situation? The legislative houses must live up to their duties. They must wake up to their duties.
“There has to be a commission of enquiry about what actually happened. We want a specific investigation. We want to know who is responsible. Who gave the order? We want these people to be called to give evidence. All the governors should sue for the violation of their human rights. They should make a case out of it.
“Let us make an example once and for all. We can not continue with this kind of misconduct which makes us a laughing stock all over the world. Can you imagine what happened in the States just yesterday afternoon. Can you imagine the language that is being used to describe Nigerians. People were asking about what was happening in the wonderland of ours. Some said they heard that some governors were stopped, while one was tear-gassed.”
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electorla Commission, INEC, on Sunday, 22 June, 2014 declared Ayo Fayose of People Democratic Party, PDP, as the winner of the Governorship Elections in Ekiti.
Incumbent Governor, Kayode Fayemi was declared second ahead of Bamidele Opeyemi of Labour Party.
Few hours after INEC’s announcement of the results, Governor Fayemi had accepted the results and congratulated Fayose on his victory.