The Court of Appeal Ado Ekiti Division, on Monday dismissed the appeal filed by former governor of Ekiti, Chief Segun Oni, challenging eligibility of Gov. Kayode Fayemi to contest the May 12, 2018 Governorship Primaries of All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in a unanimous judgement, the three appellate court justices – Adamu Juaro, Abubakar Lamido and Emmanuel Agim – dismissed Oni’s appeal for lack of merit.
In the judgement delivered by Justice Agim, the Appeal Court held that Fayemi was validly nominated having complied with requirements of the constitution of Nigeria.
Oni, who was an APC aspirant in the primary challenged Fayemi’s eligibility on the grounds that he did not resign his appointment as a minister 30 days before the exercise.
Oni also challenged that Fayemi was indicted by the Justice Silas Oyewole-led Commission of Inquiry set up by former Gov. Ayodele Fayose.
While resolving the grounds of appeal in favour of Fayemi, the court said “We have considered the positions of all the parties regarding who is a public servant.
“Section 277 of the 1999 Constitution explains who is a public servant and a minister being an office in the service, is a public servant.
“But the 1st respondent (Fayemi) was not an employee since he was hired and confirmed by the senate to perform a specific task in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development.
“It is not every public servant that is an employee in the civil service”.
On the issue of primary, the court said “The 30 days recommended by law for any public servant to resign is not applicable in this case.
“Because the 1st respondent is not an employee of government, and he can be removed anytime by his principal”.
In the case of his indictment by a judicial panel, the justice, said “Fayemi was never indicted by any competent court.
“A panel of enquiry is not a court of competent jurisdiction. It was just a fact-finding body and cannot convict anybody.
“Indictment is not conviction. Thus, it is resolved in favour of the first respondent (Fayemi)”.
Fayemi’s lawyer, Rafiu Balogun, praised the justices for their “industries and zeal,” saying they had once again re-established the fact that Fayemi did not err in law by contesting the primaries.
Oni’s lawyer, Chief Anthony Adeniyi, represented by Olusesan Akinola, said they would study the judgement and from there determine the next line of action after consultation with their client.
NAN recalls that Justice Uche Agomoh of the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti Division, had in a two-hour judgment in Dec. 10, 2018 dismissed the suit by Chief Oni against Fayemi, prompting the appeal.