Shina Odugbemi: Falana consistent in defending human rights, democracy

Shina Odugbemi: Falana consistent in defending human rights, democracy

Thursday, February 11, 2016 11:59 am

Femi Falana

Femi Falana

Shina Odugbemi

When the independent national electoral commission declared Mr. Peter Ayo Fayose as the elected governor of Ekiti State on June 21, 2014, the candidate of the APC, Governor Kayode Fayemi conceded defeat in the election. Observers who monitored the election unanimously concluded that the election won by Mr. Ayo Fayose was fair and free. Based on available evidence at the material time, Mr. Femi Falana SAN also confirmed that the election was won by Mr. Fayose. In saying publicly that Mr. Fayose won the election Mr. Falana offended the APC leaders who were convinced that the election was rigged in favour of the winner by the federal government. To demonstrate that he does not subscribe to Mr. Fayose’s primitive ideology of “stomach infrastructure,” Mr. Falana refused to join the legal team of the APC which challenged the validity of the election at the election petition tribunal up to the Supreme Court.

However, in recent times, earth shaking revelations have been credited to those who took part in the illegal use of armed soldiers to manipulate the election in favour of Mr. Fayose. When the revelations of Captain Sagir Koli who recorded the conversation of the electoral bandits including the altercation between General Aliyu Momoh and Mr. Fayose were published last year there were denials by the dramatis personae. Even though Mr. Fayose initially denied the recording and attempted to discredit it he later admitted his role in the sordid affair. Embarrassed by the incident, the authorities of the Nigerian Army instituted a panel of inquiry to probe the role of military personnel in the Ekiti and Osun states’ governorship elections. The panel carried out its assignment and recommended that 62 army officers and soldiers who were involved in the criminal enterprise be sanctioned. In the ongoing investigation into the criminal diversion of $8 billion earmarked for the purchase of arms and armament, the Economic and Financial Commission has traced N4.8 billion to a former defence minister for the funding of the coup de tat.

The secretary of the Ekiti state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. T. K . Aluko has since given a detailed account of the military coup that ensured the “victory” of Mr.Fayose in the disputed election. One Olalere Olayinka, a personal assistant to Mr. Fayose was unable to challenge the grave allegations made by Dr. Aluko. For want of credible defence in the circumstance the Ekiti state government is alleged to have obtained an ex parte order for the arrest of Dr. Aluko. But since the allegations are too serious to be swept under the carpet the State Security Service and the EFCC have intervened with a view to interrogating and prosecuting all the suspects who took part in the criminal activities committed during the election.

Governor Fayose

Governor Fayose

In the light of available fresh evidence on the fraudulent manipulation of the election Mr. Falana was compelled to review his position. It is on record that he is not the only one who has questioned the credibility of the election in view of the revelations credited to some of the civilian and military personnel who staged the coup. In other words, Mr Falana made his comment immediately after the election last year based on the information at his disposal.

Therefore, the allegation of inconsistency on the part of Mr. Falana is a figment of Mr. Fayose’s warped imagination. Having consistently demanded the prosecution of all the wicked criminals who shared in the looting of the fund for procurement of arms Mr. Falana has called for the arrest and trial of Mr. Fayose and his cohorts over the N4.8 billion deployed to perpetrate the grave electoral malfeasance that characterised the last Ekiti state governorship election. In particular, Mr. Falana stated that Mr. Fayose should be tried since he was a candidate and not a governor when the serious electoral offences were committed by him. For his contention that the governor’s immunity does not cover his impunity Mr. Falana cited several decisions of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal. With respect to fresh facts which have established that the election was marred by monumental fraud Mr. Falana has opined that the Supreme Court could be approached by the APC to review its judgment on the endorsement of the election of Mr. Fayose since it is trite law that any judgment obtained by fraud is liable to be set aside.

Instead of joining issues with Mr. Falana on his views, Mr. Fayose has resorted to a campaign of calumny. While not denying his involvement in politically motivated killings in Ekiti State, Mr Fayose has accused Mr. Falana of maintaining silence over killings which occurred when Dr. Kayode Fayemi was the governor. But since the allegation exists in the imagination of Mr. Fayose and his killer squad, they have deliberately suppressed Mr. Falana’s regular condemnation of violent attacks in Ekiti State under the Kayode Fayemi government. Notwithstanding that the allegation is spurious and uncalled for, it is pertinent to advise such characters to google the following publications:

(1)” Killings: Falana threatens FG, firms with law suit”

(2)” Falana seeks arrest, prosecution of culprits”

(3)”Falana condemns Iyin Ekiti violence”

The cheap blackmailers may also check the Senior Advocate’s positions over the unlawful killings at Ifaki, Ijan, Ikere, Ilawe, Aramoko, Omuo, Ado, Erijiyan which occurred from 2003-2013. Apart from ensuring that the suspects were charged to court, Mr. Falana made the state government to pay compensation in deserving cases. In other matters, he filed suits in courts on pro bono publico basis to compel the police to prosecute the powerful murder suspects including Mr. Fayose. In taking up such cases, Mr. Falana risked his own life and personal liberty.

The problem with Mr. Fayose is that his hands are stained with the blood of Tunde Omojola, Dr. Ayo Daramola, Engr Kehinde Fasuba and several others whose barbaric killings were traced to him by the Police. Sometime in 2005, an Akure based lawyer, Mr. Morakinyo Ogele cried out that Mr. Fayose had concluded plans to kill him. Following the publication of the allegation by The News magazine, Mr. Fayose sued both the magazine and Mr. Ogele for libel at the Ekiti State High Court, Ado Ekiti. As counsel to the defendants Mr. Falana pleaded and proved at the trial that the allegation was true in every material particular. The trial court confirmed Mr. Fayose’s involvement in politically motivated killings in Ekiti State. Having diverted N1.2 billion on a poultry scam, the trial court further held that he has no reputation worthy of protection. Dissatisfied with the epochal judgment, Mr. Fayose rushed to the Court of Appeal. In dismissing the vexatious appeal the Court of Appeal also indicted Mr. Fayose.

Unlike Mr. Fayose who has been indicted by the Police and the State Security Service as well as the High Court and the Court of Appeal, no other governor in Ekiti State has been found liable for the cold murder of any citizen. If Mr. Fayose has any evidence linking any other governor with politically motivated killings, we dare him to publish it or send it to the Police without any delay. He can be rest assured that Mr. Falana will not hesitate to insist that justice be done, even if the Heavens will fall. However, Mr. Falana is convinced beyond any shadow of doubt that the law will soon catch up with Mr. Fayose for the grave electoral malfeasance, criminal diversion of public funds and serial murder of unarmed people in Ekiti State committed by him with reckless impunity.

Shina Odugbemi is the Coordinator, Value and Integrity Group

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