ABUJA—THE Supreme Court, yesterday, declined to sack Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State from office on the premise that he was not eligible to contest the July 14, 2018, governorship election that he eventually won. The apex court, in a unanimous judgment by a five-man panel of Justices, dismissed the suit that was lodged by
ABUJA—THE Supreme Court, yesterday, declined to sack Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State from office on the premise that he was not eligible to contest the July 14, 2018, governorship election that he eventually won.
The apex court, in a unanimous judgment by a five-man panel of Justices, dismissed the suit that was lodged by a former governor of the state, Mr. Segun Oni, who lost the governorship primary of the All Progressive Congress, APC, to Fayemi.
Oni who came second in the primary election, had among other things, contended that Fayemi was not legally qualified to take part in the contest having failed to firstly resign his position in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet.
Fayemi won the party’s primary poll on May 12, 2018 at a time he was the Minister of Mines and Steel Development.
He officially resigned the position on May 30, 2018, about 18 days after he had secured the APC governorship ticket with a total of 941 votes as against 481 votes that was polled by his closest rival, Oni.
However, in the suit filed shortly after the primary election, Oni argued that constitutionally, Fayemi, ought to have relinquished his ministerial position, at least 30 days to the primary poll.
He urged the court to, among other things; determine whether or not Fayemi’s action was not in gross violation of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as APC Guidelines.
Besides, he argued that Fayemi was previously indicted by a Judicial Commission of Inquiry that was constituted by the former Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.
The Panel’s White Paper which indicted Fayemi and banned him from holding public office for 10 years, was subsequently quashed by a Federal Capital Territory High Court at Bwari.
Aside Fayemi and APC, INEC was cited as Respondents in Oni’s suit.
Meanwhile, both the Federal High Court in Ekiti State and the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal dismissed Oni’s case.
Dissatisfied with decisions of the lower courts, the former governor took his case before the Supreme Court where he also lost yesterday.
In the judgement delivered by Justice Amiru Sanusi, the apex court held that the suit had become statute barred.
The court equally held that Oni’s suit was caught up by section 285 of the 1999 Constitution, which made it mandatory that all pre-election cases must be filed within 14 days after the issue in dispute occurred.