- A high court has okayed hearing on a suit challenging the eligibility of Kayode Fayemi to contest in the Ekiti governorship poll
- The suit was instituted by the African People’s Party, which also named the APC and Ekiti state government as defendants
- However, the competence of the suit has been challenged by the APC, which has urged the court to dismiss it
Hearing on a suit challenging the eligibility of the minister of mines and solid minerals, Kayode Fayemi, to participate in the forthcoming Ekiti governorship election scheduled to hold on July 14, has been okayed by a high court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting at Bwari.
According to Vanguard, in order to enable them to appear in court on June 7 for hearing of the case, the presiding judge, Othman Musa, has ordered service of hearing notices on both Fayemi and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
NAIJ.com gathers that the suit, marked FCT/HC/BW/CV/57/2018, was instituted by the African People’s Party (APP), which also named the Ekiti state government as the third defendant.
The APP, via its lawyer, 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?"
The prayer continued: “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?”
The plaintiff is seeking the following reliefs, against the background of the answer(s) that may be given by the court, to the questions of law:
“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, the competence of the suite has been challenged by the APC, which has urged the court to dismiss it as having no merit.
A joint preliminary objection against the suit has been filed by the APC and Fayemi, through their lawyer, Rafiu Balogun.
In the 28-paragraphed counter-affidavit that was deposed to, by one Oluwaseun Odewale, the APC told the court that it was “flabbergasted” by the Report of the Ekiti State Commission of Inquiry, which indicted Fayemi.
It continued: “The most worrisome aspect of the report is the purported barring of Dr Kayode Fayemi from holding public office for 10 years when 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.
He said: “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 a Commission of Inquiry to look into the 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 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 is a retired acting chief judge who has an axe to grind with the 1st defendant and was waiting for an opportunity to have his pound of flesh.”
Upon realising that he would not get fair-hearing, Fayemi said he instituted an action to query the legality of the Commission of Inquiry.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that the minister of mines and steel development, Kayode Fayemi, was expected to tender his resignation letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, following his victory at the APC primaries in Ekiti state.
Fayemi had earlier being granted one-month leave by the president to enable him participate in the Ekiti APC primary elections.
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