Court dismisses Oni’s suit against Fayemi on eligibility, says governor validly nominated
The Federal High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti yesterday dismissed the suit filed by former Governor Segun Oni challenging the eligibility of the incumbent governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the July 14 governorship election.
Oni, also an APC aspirant in the election, was challenging Fayemi’s eligibility on the ground that the governor did not resign his appointment as minister 30 days before the party primaries and that he was indicted by Justice Silas Oyewole-led commission of inquiry.
His counsel, Chief Anthony Adeniyi, 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 and declare Oni as duly nominated APC candidate.
On the other hand, Fayemi’s counsel, Chief Rafiu Balogun, urged the court to strike out Oni’s suit for lack of merit, saying that he (Oni) was not a civil servant or an official of APC hence the resignation clause was not binding and that an Abuja court had quashed the decision of the commission of inquiry.
However, Justice Uche Agomoh, in her judgment, held that the case was “completely lacking in merit.”
The court, which also held that Fayemi was validly nominated by APC and that he was not a public officer envisaged by the Electoral Act, 1999 Constitution and party guidelines to resign before contesting, said the purported indictment by the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by former Governor Ayodele Fayose could not stand having been set aside by a court of co-ordinate jurisdiction.
“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. The applicant’s claim that Fayemi was an official of APC and a public servant could not be proved.
“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 stipulation did not apply.”
Meanwhile, Fayemi has appealed to his supporters and entire members of the APC in the state to see the eligibility suit and the court ruling as part of the beauty of democracy.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, said Oni did the right thing by going to court to challenge the process and not resorting to self-help.