by Ise-Oluwa Ige and Abiodun Nejo

In a unanimous deci­sion, a seven-member panel of the Supreme Court yesterday affirmed the electoral victory of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State in the June 21, 2014, gubernatorial poll in the state.Fayose

The court sealed Fay­ose’s victory after dismiss­ing the appeal by All Pro­gressives Congress, APC, challenging the governor’s emergence.

The Supreme Court held that the appeal was not only un-meritorious but also an­chored on wrong premises.

National Mirror reports that shortly after the gov­ernorship election, APC headed for the tribunal to challenge Fayose’s victory.

But the tribunal in its judgement upheld the elec­tion and dismissed the peti­tion.

Not satisfied, APC ap­proached the Court of Ap­peal to challenge the deci­sion of the tribunal.

The court also dismissed the appeal and upheld the decision of the lower court.

Still aggrieved, the party approached the apex court with 17 grounds of appeal, urging the court to annul the decision of the lower courts.

But the Supreme Court narrowed the 17 issues to only four.

The four issues were that Fayose was not qualified to contest in the election, having been impeached on grounds of embezzlement; that the governor submit­ted a forged HND certifi­cate from the Polytechnic Ibadan to the Independent National Electoral Com­mission, INEC; that the Tri­bunal erred for striking out the names of the Inspector General of Police, IGP, and Chief of Army Staff, COAS, as parties in the suit.

Delivering the lead judgement, Justice Sylves­ter Ngwuta held that the tribunal was right to have struck out the names of the IGP and COAS as parties in the suit.

He noted that a party to a suit is one which his inter­est is in dispute or which a suit cannot be decided without him.

The court said both the IGP and COAS had no in­terest in the election and going by the provision of the Electoral Act as to who constitutes a party to an election petition; the two did not fall into such cat­egory as they were not staff of INEC.

The court devoted a lot of time on two other grounds having to do with the allegation that Fayose forged his HND certificate and that he was not fit to contest the election by vir­tue of the provisions of sec­tion 182 (1) (e) of the 1999 constitution, having been impeached during his first tenure after the Code of Conduct Tribunal found him guilty of fraud.

Section 182 (1) (e) of the 1999 constitution as amend­ed bars fraud convicts from seeking elective office for a period of ten years from the date the conviction is pro­nounced by the law court.

But the Supreme Court held that the purported impeachment of Fayose during his first tenure was not only illegal since the “so called acting Chief Judge of the state” illegally convoked the committee that tried him, but that the resolution of the lawmak­ers that the governor was guilty of the offence of fraud did not amount to conviction by law court as provided for in section 182 (1) (e) of the constitution.

“A conviction and sen­tence are the major issues here. The Code of Conduct is not an impeachment pan­el. Jurisdiction cannot be shared between code of con­duct tribunal and impeach­ment panel. Even though, it was alleged that the gov­ernor was impeached for embezzlement, he was not arraigned before a court of competent jurisdiction,” the court held.

The court also said that the first impeachment pan­el gave Fayose a clean bill, adding that the second pan­el was illegal because the judge that constituted it did not have the power to do so.

The court also held that the state House of Assem­bly did not substantiate the petition and hence, one could not say that he com­mitted any crime.

Citing section 188 of the Constitution, the court held that the second panel was an unconstitutional panel and that its proceeding was an exercise in futility.

The court resolved the issue against the appellant.

On the issue of forgery, the court held that it is an offence that should be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

The court also resolved the issue against the appel­lant.

Meanwhile, there were jubilations in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, yesterday as the Supreme Court’s rul­ing filtered into town.

Members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in joyous mood, thronged the streets, in celebration of the victory.

The governor, whose long convoy of government officials and party support­ers snaked round the city in appreciation of the crowd that had lined the major streets, urged the opposi­tion to join hands with him in the task of develop­ing the state.

Fayose, who carried a placard bearing the in­scription, “God, I thank you, Ekiti people, I thank you for your steadfast­ness” led the carnival-like procession through Fajuyi-Okesa-Okeyinmi- Oba’s market, Old Garage, Ijigbo-Mugbagba and Aji­losun streets among oth­ers.

He expressed delight that all legal tussles weaved around his man­date as governor had died and laid to rest by the Su­preme Court.

Viewed 1885 times by 789 viewers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post Navigation