EKITI State governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose, has alerted the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, of fresh plots by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to compromise a section of the judiciary and muzzle democracy in their desperation to remove him from office.
Fayose raised the alarm on Wednesday, at a press briefing he addressed at his Lagos residence, saying the essence of the plot was to silence him as the voice of opposition in the country, as he had bluntly rejected all overtures to defect to APC or stop talking.
The governor, however, warned against any plot to destabilise Ekiti State, wondering how long the Ekiti APC and its collaborators would pursue their clandestine agenda of reversing an election they lost over 30 months ago and validated by the tribunal, Appeal Court and the Supreme Court.
In a letter he addressed to Justice Onnoghen, Fayose alleged that certain APC chieftains, including former governors, Kayode Fayemi and Olusegun Oni, were again “making subterranean moves to manipulate and compromise a section of the Judiciary, particularly some judges, to get through the backdoor what they failed several times to achieve through the ballot box, as well as in open court, even in matters already decided by the Supreme Court.
“At a recent meeting held in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, at which several stalwarts and chieftains of the APC were in attendance, two former governors of the state and members of the APC, namely Oni and Fayemi, now a federal minister, boasted that there is no going back on the latest plans to subvert the will of the people of Ekiti which was freely given; wrest the governance of Ekiti from me at all costs before the expiration of my tenure in October 2018, through orchestrated, but dubious legal process; and thereby, render nugatory, the sacred mandate of the people given to me openly and unequivocally when I won in all the 16 local governments of the state, while the then incumbent governor, Fayemi, recorded zero.”
Pointing at the Presidency in the latest plot, with Oni and Fayemi as their local arrowheads, Governor Fayose alleged that a concocted fresh suit was being rehashed and to be filed against him on the same old allegation that had been trashed all the way from the tribunal to the Supreme Court.
The governor alleged that “this time, the plotters of this judicial coup-de-tat plan to procure the services of a compromised or malleable judge to get self-serving ‘jankara’ and kangaroo judgment with the intention of having the Supreme Court reverse itself on the June 2014 Ekiti State election.
“Oni and Fayemi boastfully claimed that they have enlisted the assurances of Justice Okon Abang and one or two other judges in the concocted fresh suit, hinged on the report of a useless, senseless and orchestrated military report not known to the electoral law,” Fayose said.
The governor, while urging the CJN to take judicial notice of pronouncements by courts of concurrent jurisdiction, as well as the scathing remarks of appellate courts on how Justice Abang had been used in the past by anti-democratic forces to endanger democracy and engage in deleterious miscarriage of justice, prayed that the judiciary would not succumb to devious plots to undermine its independence and integrity, and rubbish its good name and hard-earned reputation anymore.
“My lord, you have a duty to ensure that no judge under your watch is enlisted into this diabolical act by any rampaging anti-democratic elements.
“The embarrassing incidents currently playing out in our national judicial horizon, with several judicial officers, including serving justices of the Supreme Court, enmeshed in simulated and orchestrated corruption scandals and indictments by agencies of the Federal Government because they had refused, at one time or the other, to serve the base interests of the ruling APC government in matters pending before their lordships, have kept us wondering whether the Judiciary will succumb to these unwarranted harassments and intimidation meant to coerce and cower it into submission and make this very important and indispensable Third Estate of the Realm subservient to the arbitrary wishes, whims and caprices of the Executive and political desperados,’ he said.
Describing himself as a current leading opposition figure in the country, who had been very critical of the anti-people policies of the Federal Government and its anti-democratic actions, Fayose warned that “democracy without virile opposition will eventually turn into a dictatorship, which is currently being experienced.”
Speaking further, Fayose said he would continue to believe in the Judiciary going by the open declaration of the CJN to defend the independence of the Judiciary; maintain its integrity and deliver a virile and disciplined
Judiciary that will be impartial, independent, non-partisan and not subservient to the selfish interests of any individual, group or cabal, however, powerful or influential they might be.
He, therefore, expressed the confidence that Justice Onnoghen, in particular and the Judiciary in general, would not only refuse to fall for the APC’s cheap and pedestrian blackmail, but also resolutely and confidently defend the hallowed grounds of the Judiciary and secure them from desecration by anti-democratic forces running riot all over the country.