….SAYS FAYEMI IS CONSTITUTIONALLY ELIGIBLE TO CONTEST FOR THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR EKITI STATE.
The FCT High Court sitting in Bwari has quashed the Report of the Commission of Enquiry set up by Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose. The Court also quashed the White Paper issued by Government of Ekiti accepting the Report.
In a landmark Judgment delivered on Tuesday, in the case filed by ACTION PEOPLES PARTY challenging the eligibility of DR KAYODE FAYEMI to contest for the office of Governor of Ekiti State on the grounds that he has been indicted by the Commission of Inquiry set up by Ekiti State Government which also barred him from holding public office for ten years, Justice O.A. Musa in his Judgment, dismissed the suit by the APP on the ground that it was without merit.
The plaintiff had argued among others, that Fayemi’s indictment by the commission of inquiry set up by the state government to probe his administration, and the white paper issued by the state based on the indictment, had disqualified Fayemi from holding public office by virtue of Section 182(1)(i) of the Constitution.
Justice Musa quashed Fayemi’s purported indictment by commission of inquiry and the white paper on the grounds that the process leading to the report and white paper was tainted with bias as Fayemi was not accorded fair hearing.
The judge noted that Section 182(1)(i) of the Constitution, on which the suit was based, was no longer in existence having been deleted by the National Assembly through the first alteration of the Constitution in 2011.
Justice Musa who answered the two questions posed by the plaintiff in the negative, refused all its prayers and declared the Fayemi was eligible to contest the next Governorship election and that the APC was at liberty, under the law to field him as its candidate.
He agreed with Dr. Kayode Fayemi and APC that the provisions of Section 182(1)(i) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) having been repealed by the First Alteration to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria left the plaintiff without a leg to stand on, since the basis of their case was the provision of section 182(1) (i) of the 1999 Constitution as amended which has ceased to exist.
The trial judge further held that assuming he was wrong on his findings that Section 182(1) Of the Constitution has not been repealed, he will still resolve the questions of the eligibility of Dr. Kayode Fayemi to contest against the plaintiff because the Supreme Court has settled the matter in the celebrated cases of Atiku v.AC and AMAECHI V.INEC where the Supreme Court held that an indictment by the Commission of Inquiry or Administrative panel cannot stop a citizen of Nigeria to contest any election without been tried and convicted by a Court of competent jurisdiction.
“On the strength of this, the court held that since there is no record of conviction of Dr Fayemi before the Court, he is qualified to contest for the office of the Governor Ekiti State.
The Court also found that by submitting its report without hearing Fayemi, the Judicial Commission of Inquiry negated the fundamental principle of fair hearing.
On this basis the Court nullified the Report of the Judical Panel of Inquiry and quashed the White Paper.
On the whole the Court dismissed the case of the plaintiff as lacking in merit, nullified the Report and White paper and declared that Dr. Fayemi is qualified to contest.
Fayemi’s counsel, Chief Rafiu Balogun in a chat with journalists after the ruling, described the judgement as a very sound judgement that met the justice of the case.
Balogun said “It is appalling that Ekiti State Government turned itself to a court of law and purportedly barred Dr Fayemi for ten years when he was only invited as a witness and never re-invited when his preliminary objection to challenge his appearance was dismissed.