Ado Ekiti Division of the Federal High Court has dismissed the suit filed former Governor of Ekiti State, Chief Segun Oni, to challenge the eligibility of Governor Kayode Fayemi to contest in the July 14 governorship election in the state.
Oni, who was an All Progressives Congress aspirant in the election, in the suit, challenged Fayemi’s eligibility on the grounds that the governor did not resign his appointment as a minister 30 days before the party primaries and as well that he was indicted the Justice Silas Oyewole-led commission of inquiry last year.
The commission of inquiry was set up the former Governor Ayodele Fayose to probe the finances of the state government when Fayemi was governor of the state between 2010 and 2014. Among others, Oni, through his counsel, Chief Anthony Adeniyi, prayed the court to void the votes cast for Fayemi in the primaries 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.
Fayemi’s lawyer, Chief Rafiu Balogun, who urged the court to strike out Oni’s suit for lack of merit, said Fayemi was not a public servant nor an official of the 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 month. Justice Uche Agomoh, while delivering her two-hour judgment on Monday, dismissed the suit for lacking in merit, saying, “I am of the firm view that the originating summons is heredismissed.”
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 wherean Abuja court had quashed the indictment. The judge said: “Indictment does not satisfy the definition of conviction. He cannot be disqualified”.
Agomoh also said: “The issue of 30 days resignation before election does not apply in this case,” saying the applicant’s claim that Fayemi was an official of the 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 an appointee of the President, hence the 30 days resignation stipulation did not apply.
Counsel to Oni in his response, said, “We are going to study this judgment to determine the next cause of action”.