The Supreme Court puts an end to legal hurdles dogging the election of Kayode Fayemi as it pronounces him the winner of Ekiti State governorship election
THE Supreme Court, on Wednesday, April 17, affirmed Governor Kayode Fayemi as the authentic winner of the governorship election held in Ekiti State on July 14, 2018. The court affirmed that Fayemi’s victory in a suit filed by Segun Oni, a chieftain of the All progressives Congress, APC, who contested against the governor during the party’s primaries.
The Supreme Court, in a unanimous judgment by a five-man panel of justices, dismissed the suit lodged by Oni, who lost the gubernatorial ticket of the APC to Fayemi.
The former governor who came second in the primary election had among other things, contended that Fayemi was not legally qualified to take part in the contest having failed to firstly resign his position in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet. Fayemi won the party’s primary poll on May 12, 2018, at a time he was still serving as the minister of Mines and Steel Development. He officially resigned the position on May 30, 2018, about 18 days after he had won the APC governorship ticket with a total of 941 votes as against 481 votes polled by Oni, his closest rival.
However, in the suit he filed shortly after the primary election, Oni, argued that constitutionally, Fayemi, ought to have resigned his ministerial appointment at least 30 days to the primary poll. Consequently, he urged the court to among other things, determine whether or not Fayemi’s action was not in gross violation of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as APC Guidelines.
In addition, he argued that Fayemi, having been previously indicted by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry constituted by the state government under former Governor Ayodele Fayose, he was not eligible to run for the office. This is because the Judicial Commission’s White Paper, which indicted Fayemi had also banned him from holding public office for 10 years. He, therefore, urged the court to nullify his election and declare him as the authentic state governor.
But, both the Federal High Court in Ekiti State and the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, had similarly dismissed Oni’s case. Unsatisfied with their decisions, he took his case before the Supreme Court where he also lost on Wednesday. In the judgement that was delivered by Justice Amiru Sanusi, the Supreme Court held that the suit had become status barred. The court equally held that Oni’s suit was invalidated by section 285 of the 1999 Constitution, which made it mandatory that all pre-election cases must be filed within 14 days after the issue in dispute occurred. Justice Sanusi noted that from records before the Supreme Court, the appellant lodged his case 42 days after the cause of action arose, thereby making it legally incompetent to be adjudicated upon. Therefore, the court dismissed the suit.
Earlier, Fayemi had also won the case filed by Olusola Eleka, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the July 14, 2018 governorship election. The three-man appellate court led by Justice Stephen Adah, who gave a unanimous judgment, dismissed the appeal filed by Eleka, Fayemi’s main rival in the election.
Eleka and his party had appealed the judgement of the election petition tribunal set up to handle the governorship exercise in the state. Fayemi had also, on Friday, March 29, declared that he never regarded the defeated governorship candidate of the PDP as an enemy. Rather, he said the major opposition party was free to challenge his victory at any stage of the court, and make useful suggestions for smooth running of his government.
– Apr. 17, 2019 @ 14:03 GMT |