Justice Uche Agomoh of a Federal High Court in Ado Ekiti Division on Monday dismissed the suit filed by a former Governor of Ekiti State, Chief Segun Oni, challenging the eligibility of Governor Kayode Fayemi to contest the July 14 governorship election in the state for lack of merit.
According to Daily Trust: An aspirant of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election, Oni, had filed the suit to challenge Fayemi’s eligibility on the grounds that the governor did not resign his appointment as a Minister of the Federal Republic 30 days before the party primaries and that he was indicted by the Justice Silas Oyewole-led commission of inquiry.
Former governor of the state, Ayodele Fayose, had set up the commission to probe the finances of the state government when Fayemi was governor of the state between 2010 and 2014.
The judge said in her judgement that the case is “completely lacking in merit.”
The court held that Fayemi was validly nominated by the APC and that he was not a public officer envisaged by the Electoral Act, 1999 Constitution and Party Guidelines to resign before contesting.
Chief Anthony Adeniyi, counsel to Oni, prayed the court to void the votes cast for Fayemi for refusing to resign and the indictment, withdraw the certificate of return issued to Fayemi, declaring Oni as duly nominated APC candidate and as well duly elected governor in the July 14 election.
But Fayemi, though his lawyer, Chief Rafiu Balogun, who urged the court to strike out Oni’s suit for lack of merit, saying he was not a civil servant nor an official of APC hence the resignation clause was not binding just as he said an Abuja court had quashed the decision of the commission of inquiry.
The case, which had earlier begun at an Abuja Division of Federal High Court was transferred to Ado Ekiti last week.
Justice Uche Agomoh, while ruling on the suit, dismissed the suit for lacking in merit, saying: “I am of the firm view that the originating summon is hereby dismissed.”
Justice Agomoh, who resolved the issues for determination in favour of Fayemi, said the governor could not be disqualified on the basis of the report of the Commission of Inquiry whereby an Abuja court had quashed the indictment.
The judge said: “Indictment does not satisfy the definition of conviction. He cannot be disqualified. The issue of 30 days resignation before election does not apply in this case,” adding that the applicant’s claim that Fayemi was an official of APC and a public servant could not be proved.
According to the judge, Fayemi, as a Minister of the federation was not a public servant but a political office holder and appointee of the President, hence the 30 days resignation stipulated did not apply.
Counsel to Oni in his response, said; “We are going to study this judgement to determine the next cause of action”.
In his response, lawyer to Fayemi described the judgement as wonderful, saying “the court agreed with the positions of the law in arriving at the verdict.”