Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has called on people of Ekiti State to celebrate with caution, the victory of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, candidate, Mr. Ayo Fayose, in last Saturday’s governorship election.
According to Falana, Fayose “cannot change”.
He, however, said since Ekiti people had made their choice, “I can only wish them well”.
Falana, who spoke Wednesday in Abuja, said the credibility of the election being used as a reference point in political circles depended on certain factors.
He said, “Ekiti people have voted and made their choice; I can only wish them well. We know what happened before, I am a student of history. I know that Fayose cannot change and so why do you think I should be celebrating? I can only wish Ekiti people well for their choice. Fayose regretted it the last time. So what has changed?
“Fayose said he had changed, which is a reflection of the fact that what happened the last time cannot be tolerated in a civilised society; let’s wait and see. He didn’t come with any programme and no manifesto in this election. If people opted for him, you can only wish them well”.
On the consensus that the election was free and fair, Falana said, “It depends on what you mean by a free and fair election”.
He added, “In terms of the accreditation, in terms of the actual voting and the collation of results, the Independent National Electoral Commission did very well this time and there was a noticeable improvement.
“But when you look at the totality of the election, militarisation of Ekiti State, harassment by security forces, disenfranchisement of some people by the military forces, and the fact that the place was invaded with 30,790 policemen, soldiers and members of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, you can’t say that was a free and fair election. You must have an election in a free and fair atmosphere”.
The Lagos lawyer commended the incumbent Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, for accepting defeat and congratulating Fayose.
He said, “Fayemi’s action is very commendable. The governor acted as a patriot and he hasn’t disappointed me. When you are defeated in an election, you must learn to congratulate the winner and he had said it earlier that ‘if the election was credible and I lose, I will congratulate the winner’ and that is what he has done.
“I think other Nigerian politicians should emulate that. But the duty is on INEC; if INEC conducts a good election, nobody will go to court. That is what Fayemi has shown. He is an enlightened guy and a patriot”.