Oni loses bid to unseat Fayemi as Ekiti governor
The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed a suit filed by an All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart, Chief Segun Oni, to unseat Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.
The suit was challenging the eligibility of the former Minister of Solid Minerals Development as candidate of the party in the July 14, 2018 governorship election.
In a unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Amirul Sanusi, the apex court held that the application was statute-barred and a mere academic exercise.
It ruled that the case of the ex-governor was caught up with Section 285 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which required that all pre-election cases must be filed within 14 days of the cause of action.
Justice Sanusi stated that from the record before the court, the case was filed 42 days after, thereby making the suit legally incompetent to be adjudicated upon.
Oni, who participated in the party’s gubernatorial primary, had dragged Fayemi to court praying for an order disqualifying him on the ground that he allegedly did not resign as minister three months ahead of the exercise as required by law.
The APC faithful also predicated his prayer on the report of a Commission of Enquiry set up by the immediate past governor of the state, Ayodele Fayose, prohibiting the incumbent from holding public offices for a period of 10 years.
But a Federal Capital Territory (FCT), presided over by Justice Othman Musa in a ruling, quashed the report of on the premise that Fayemi was denied fair hearing during the proceedings.
Consequently, Justice Sanusi upheld the preliminary objection raised against the appeal.
Reacting to the judgment, Fayemi’s counsel, Rafiu Balogun, commended the apex court for the ability to do justice to the issue within the time frame allowed by law, adding that it was a no victor, vanquished situation.
However, the governor said Oni remained a respected member of the ruling party.
He spoke in Ado-Ekiti while swearing in the state’s Head of Service, Ayodeji Ajayi.
Fayemi stated: “Ekiti must move forward. Enough of these distractions. Enough of these recriminations over matters that ought not go to court.”