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Tuesday , 11 December 2018

Oni may replace Fayemi as Ekiti governor on Monday..7 Key factors

December 10 is the d-day in Ekiti ..and there are indications that Oni may just be favoured by the constitution.

Lawyer to former Governor of Ekiti State, Segun Oni, in the suit filed to challenge the state Governor, Kayode Fayemi’s eligibility to participate in the May 26 All Progressives Congress(APC) governorship primary in state,Oni who came second in APC’s governorship primary election in Ekiti state, is contending that Fayemi was not legally qualified to take part in the contest having failed to firstly resign his position in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet.

It will be recalled that Fayemi won the party’s primary poll on May 12, at a time he still held sway as the Minister of Mines and Steel Development. Fayemi officially resigned the position on May 30, about 18 days after he clinched the APC governorship ticket.Oni argued that Fayemi ought to have relinquished his Ministerial position, at least 30 days to the primary poll.

(1)Tony Adeniyi, counsel to Oni has cried out that some people were allegedly threatening to prevent him from continuing with the case.

Oni’s counsel raised security concern as he alleged that “some party supporters attempted to stop him from accessing the court area but for the quick intervention of police officers who ferries him to the court premises.”

But Fayemi’s lawyer, Rafiu Balogun, allayed his fears, assuring him that he would contact the defendant and applicant on security matter.

(2) Oni is challenging the eligibility of Fayemi contesting in the primary as a sitting minister.Oni polled a total of 481 votes to emerge the runner up in the primary that was won by Fayemi, who scored 940 votes in the tension-soaked primary.Adeniyi urged the court to favour Oni by granting his plea and direct the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to issue a certificate of return to his client and declare Fayemi as ineligible.

3)The suit was first filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, but was referred to Ekiti State division last week by the presiding judge in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justice Babatunde Quadri..the judge said he would prefer to transfer the suit to the court’s division in Ekiti for determination.The judge said he would not be able to hear and write judgment on the matter within the stipulated time..He assured parties that he would facilitate the transfer of the case file by the court’s Registry to Ekiti State because of its urgency.

(4) Believed by many to be working for Gov Fayemi..Shortly after the case was transferred to Ekiti State, a governorship aspirant in the primary, Ajayi Olowo, approached the court seeking to be joined in the suit as an interested party.

Olowo, also a lawyer, urged the court to join him with the defendant counsel, Rafiu Balogun, to hasten the works of the other counsel, saying the applicant, Oni, has no case and that his application should be dismissed.

(5) The expiration of the matter, according to law which stipulated 180 days to hear the matter, would expire on December 19.Intrestingly,counsel to the applicant, Adeniyi, filed a motion to amend the applicant’s response to the preliminary objection of the defendant, Fayemi.

But at the last proceedings, Adeniyi  urged the court to give accelerated hearing and determination of the case, saying there was no time on the side of the court.

Balogun, the lead counsel to the defendant, (Fayemi), asked the court to grant them the privilege of addressing the court orally since they had not filed their own written amendment to counter the written application of the plaintiff in order to save the time of the court.

(6)Counsel to Fayemi, Mr Rafiu Balogun, however, argued that the election was conducted in accordance with the constitution of the party. Balogun submitted that once the candidate of a party was cleared, the court could not determine who was elected as candidate saying it was the sole decision of the party. He said Fayemi did not need to resign because he was an appointee of the president and not a civil servant. He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss and strike out the matter.

(7)Now many have been making appealed to Oni to play the role of an elderstatesman and allow the matter not to degenerate to legal tussle that can deprive the party of victory..They are commending him for being statesmanly and patriotic by working for Fayemi’s victory in the July 14 election , saying allowing the litigation to drag on may hang a toga of someone who was acting like a fifth columnist on the former governor.

Some were of the opinion that Oni was out to take a pound of flesh against Fayemi with this opportunity, because the governor-elect ousted him on October 15 , 2010 through judicial process.

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