Ekiti Poll: APC kicks as court okays hearing on suit seeking to disqualify Fayemi
ABUJA – A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Bwari, has okayed hearing on a suit challenging eligibility of the Minister of Mines and Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, to participate in the forthcoming governorship election scheduled to hold in Ekiti State on July 14.
Winner of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Ekiti State Governorship primary, Dr Kayode Fayemi, in a warm embrace with one of the co-contestants, Senator Gbenga Aluko; with them is Captain Adebomi, also an aspirant, shortly after Fayemi was declared winner in Ado-Ekiti…on Sunday.
Justice Othman Musa ordered service of hearing notices on both Fayemi and the All Progressives Congress, APC, to enable them to appear in court on June 7 for hearing of the case.
The government of Ekiti State was equally cited as the 3rd Defendant in the suit marked FCT/HC/BW/CV/57/2018, which was lodged before the court by African People’s Party, APP.
Specifically, APP, through its lawyer, Mr. Johnmary Jideobi, is praying the court to determine “Whether or not upon a calm reading of Section 182 (1) (i) of the 1999 Constitution as Amended and having regard to the indictment of the 1st Defendant by the Ekiti State Judicial Commission of Inquiry, the 1st Defendant is not Constitutionally disqualified to hold public office especially office of the Governor of Ekiti State of Nigeria?
“Whether or not upon a sober reading of Section 182(1) (i) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, a political party [such as the 2nd Defendant herein] can validly sponsor a candidate [such as the 1st Defendant herein] constitutionally disqualified from vying for the office of a Governor of a State?”
Against the background of the answer(s) that may be given to the questions of law, the plaintiff, claims the following reliefs from the court, against the Defendants:
“A declaration that upon a calm reading of Section 182 (1) (i) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as Amended and having regard to the indictment of the 1st Defendant by the Ekiti State Judicial Commission of Inquiry, the 1st Defendant is Constitutionally disqualified to hold public office especially office of the Governor of Ekiti State of Nigeria.
“A solemn declaration that upon a sober reading of Section 182(1) (i) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, a political party [such as the 2nd Defendant herein] cannot validly sponsor a candidate [such as the 1st Defendant herein] constitutionally disqualified from vying for the office of a Governor of a State.
“An order of this Honourable Court restraining the 2nd Defendant from either considering, screening, accepting and or sponsoring the 1st Defendant or holding him out as its governorship candidate in the forthcoming governorship election scheduled to be held in Ekiti State of Nigeria on the 14th day of July, 2018”.
However, APC has challenged the competence of the suit, even as it urged the court to dismiss it for want of merit.
APC and Fayemi, through their lawyer, Mr. Rafiu Balogun, filed a joint preliminary objection against the suit.
In a 28-paragraphed counter-affidavit that was deposed to by one Oluwaseun Odewale, APC told the court that it was “flabbergasted” by Report of the Ekiti State Commission of Inquiry that indicted Fayemi.
According to APC, “The most worrisome aspect of the Report is the purported barring of Dr. Kayode Fayemi from holding public office for 10 years when the Ekiti State is not a court of law”.
On his part, Fayemi maintained that he was not accorded fair-hearing by the Justice Silas Bamidele Oyewole-led eight-man panel of Inquiry that indicted him over alleged embezzlement and contract fraud.
“I know as a fact that the incumbent Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Peter Ayodele Fayose, acting pursuant to the resolution of the Ekiti State House of Assembly, constituted Commission of Inquiry to look into finances of Ekiti State between 2010 to 2014.
“I know as a fact that Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the 1st defendant, challenged the legality and the constitutionality of the Commission of Inquiry on diverse grounds and he specifically raised the issue of the composition of the Commission further Inquiry which was deliberately constituted in such a way that Justice and fairness cannot be guaranteed to all the parties.
“I know as a fact that some of the members of the Commission are civil servants and the Chairman of the Commission a retired Acting Chief Judge has an axe to grind with the 1st defendant and was waiting for an opportunity to have his pound of flesh”.
Fayemi told the court that he had upon realising that he would not get fair-hearing, instituted an action to query the legality of the Commission of Inquiry.
“I know as a fact that it was the Tender Board of Ekiti State that awarded contract and specifically the building contracts were handled by the Bureau of Infrastructure and Public Utilities which had been managed by the Ministry of Works and Transport.
“I know as a fact that there was no evidence that the contract sum for the Utra-Modern Market was ever disbursed to any company or diverted by anybody.
“I know as a fact that the Commission of Inquiry merely invited Dr. Kayode Fayemi as a Witness to appear before them to give evidence on specific issues related to 852m UBE/SUBEB Loan claimed to be embezzled by Dr. Kayode Fayemi and now found to be withdrawn by the Bank itself When Governor Fayose threatened not to pay the Loan”, the deponent added.