Again, Fayemi Floors Oni At Appeal Court
Again, Fayemi Floors Oni At Appeal Court
The Court of Appeal sitting in Ado Ekiti, the state capital on Tuesday struck out the suit filed by the former Ekiti state governor, Chief Segun Oni, challenging the eligibility of Governor Kayode Fayemi as the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the July 14, 2018 governorship poll.
2019: Buhari Floors Atiku, Others In UK PollThe Court held that Fayemi have not erred by not resigning his position as Minister of Mines and Steel Development to contest the May 12, 2018 governorship primary , where he emerged as candidate.
The three -man appeal panel presided over by Justice Adamu Juaro in its unanimous verdict said Oni’s position was not enough to disqualify the APC candidate.
Other Justices of the appeal panel are: Justices Emmanuel Agim and Abubakar Lamido
In the judgement delivered by Justice Agim, the Court held that Fayemi’s indictment by Justice Silas Oyewole led judicial panel of inquiry set up by former governor Ayodele Fayose to try the governor for alleged embezzlement was not suffice to bar him from participating in the election.
It said only a conviction by a competent court of law can bar any aspirant from participating in a primary or general election and not a mere panel indictment.
Justice Uche Agomoh of the federal high court, had in its judgement last year dismissed the case for lacking in merit, after which the former governor approached the appeal court.
Counsel to Oni, Chief Tony Adeniyi, had urged the court to determine whether the lower court didn’t commit infraction to have ruled that Fayemi, by virtue of being a Minister was not obligated to resign in line with Article 2 of the 2014 guidelines of the APC , which provided that every intending aspirant must resign 30 days to the primary.
While insisting that Fayemi failed to comply with the provision as a public servant, Oni also contended that the governor having been indicted by a judicial panel of inquiry was not eligible to participate in the party’s primary.
But Fayemi’s lawyer, Raheem Balogun, countered the position canvassed by Oni, saying Fayemi was not a public servant and was not obliged to comply with article 2 of the guideline.
Balogun added that the panel of inquiry that indicted Fayemi was not a court of competent jurisdiction and lacks the power to bar any aspirant from contesting an election.
Delivering its judgement, the court, however, agreed that a Minister is a public servant as claimed by the appellant, saying the position is an office in the public service of the federation.
The appeal court said, “We have considered the positions of all the parties regarding who is a public servant. Section 277 of the 1999 constitution explained who is a public servant and a Minister being an office in the service, is a public servant.
“But the 1st respondent(Fayemi) was not an employee since he was hired and confirmed by the Senate to perform a specific task in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development. It is not every public servant that is an employee in the civil service”.
On the issue of 2018 primary, the Court said : ” the 30 days recommended by law for any public servant to resign is not applicable in this case, because the 1st respondent is not an employee of government and he can be removed anytime by his principal”.
In the case of his indictment by a judicial panel, the court added, “Indictment is not a conviction. Only a competent court of law can bar anyone from participating in an election.
“The judicial panel that indicted him is not a court of competent jurisdiction. It is just a fact finding body.
“And the appellant did not show any sign of prosecution of the 1st respondent and his conviction for the offence alleged to have been committed to deserve being barred”, he said.
In the primary election, Fayemi polled a total of 941 votes to defeat Oni, who garnered 481
Fayemi’s lawyer, Balogun, commended the jurists for their industries and zeal, saying they had once again re-established the fact that Fayemi did not err in law by contesting the primary.
Oni’s lawyer, represented by Olusesan Akinola, said they would study the judgement and from there determine the next line of action .