The Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Ado Ekiti has agreed to shift hearing of the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party over the July 14 governorship poll to another venue due to insecurity.
In the petition, the PDP’s candidate, Prof Kolapo Olusola, is challenging the declaration of Dr Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the election.
The change of venue came on the heels of an allegation by some PDP members of the Ekiti State House of Assembly that they were attacked by supporters of the APC at the court’s venue.
Members of the panel are Justices Suleiman Belgore, Aliyu Baba and Ebiyerin Omukoro.
According to the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Samuel Omotosho, some PDP lawmakers were allegedly attacked by a mob while they were making entry into the court premises. He said a member of the assembly, Dayo Akinleye, narrowly escaped the attack.
But reacting to the allegation, the new state chairman of APC, Paul Omotosho, said the allegation was unfounded.
“The allegation is unfounded and that is so unfortunate. The area where they claimed to have been attacked was occupied by those who were mere spectators who just came around to see what was happening at the court. So for anybody to now conclude that they were APC is unfair.
“So for PDP lawmakers to say that APC members attacked that is false and unfounded. Our members are very peaceful and peace-loving. We are very disciplined people. Besides, we know that the PDP will fail in this exercise so why should we attack them when we know they would fail.”
Addressing the tribunal on Monday, the PDP’s counsel, Adebayo Adelodun (SAN), raised concerns about a crowd wielding sticks and cudgels that had besieged the entrance of the court and harassing key individuals entering the venue. Among the crowd were people wearing vests of commercial driver unions, okada riders and artisans among others.
“The counsel to the PDP and its candidate would have been prevented from entering on our way to the court this morning. We were accosted by stick-wielding thugs, to say we were scared is an understatement and we were held for several minutes until a senior security man intervened. This happened in spite of security men in our vehicle,” Adelodun said.
Counsels to Fayemi, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN); APC, Akin Olujimi (SAN) and that of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Charles Edosomwam (SAN), did not oppose the application.
Olujimi said, “The insecurity has happened before. Some four years ago my partner and now governor of Ondo state, Akeredolu was hauled with stones and the case had to be moved to Abuja for the safety of all parties.
“I saw the unruly crowd holding sticks under the long bridge. I wholeheartedly support the application to have a neutral venue for the sitting and I also support that Abuja is an alternative venue for us it is all in the interest of all of us.
Fagbemi said, “This morning one of my junior colleagues called to advise that we should be careful while approaching the court as we were also molested on our way.
“As I was approaching the court this morning I saw evidence of those peoples wielding sticks and cudgels. The issue of security is not a matter to be trivialised. This is a situation where a change of venue has become inevitable to all of us. No matter how prepared you are, without rest of mind, there is little you can do, “he said. – Punch
– Sept. 17, 2018 @ 18:45 GMT |