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Head Lines

  • Oni fails to unseat Fayemi through judgment review

  • The Court of Appeal panel in Ado-Ekiti on Monday dismissed the application of former Ekiti State Governor Segun Oni, asking it to reverse its verdict of October 15, 2010 which removed him from office.

    The court had sacked Oni as governor in 2010, declaring Dr. Kayode Fayemi as the governor. The Chairman of the five-man panel, Justice Tijani Abdulahi, while delivering his ruling said Oni’s case before the panel lacked merit. He said the court could entertain the review of verdict only if it discovered that it had been misled to accept certain fact or when a judgment was given in absence of jurisdiction to hear the case in the first instance. Abdulahi said, “This application lacks merit and it is hereby dismissed. The allegation should have been raised before the judgment was given (by Justice Ayo Salami-led panel).”

    Mr. Ladi Williams, who led the counsel representing Oni and the Peoples Demoratic Party, said his client would appeal the ruling. He faulted the panel’s ruling, saying Oni could not have raised an objection before the judgment was given because he was not aware of the alledged affinity between former Lagos State Govenor Bola Tinubu and Justice Ayo Salami. He said his client did not accuse Salami of corruption or accusing Tinubu of bribing the justices of the Salami-led panel but that they wanted to establish that there was likelihood of bias in the case.

    Fayemi hailed the ruling in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, praising members of the panel for discharging their duties creditably. He said, “The inference that has been drawn is that there is a likelihood of bias between Justice Salami and alter ego of the ACN. The relashionship, the friendship-because Ceaser’s wife must be above suspicion.” earlier, the ACN had said through its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that the judgment review was capable of discrediting the judiciary and destabilising the polity.

    In a statement in Lagos on Monday the party lamented that this was happening because some honest and courageous judges ruled against the ruling Peoples Democratic Party. It recalled that on the basis of a petition by the sacked governor of Ekiti, Mr. Segun Oni, the National Judicial Council had set up a panel of enquiry that absolved the then President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, of any wrongdoing.

    The ACN said, “The questions then are: What do those who instigated the set up of the review panel on the Ekiti judgment want to achieve? Is there a precedent in this regard? Does it mean that once a litigant is dissatisfied with any judgment, even at the Supreme Court, he can get such a ruling to be reviewed once he has the ‘right’ connections? “At the time the judgment was given, was the Court of Appeal not the final court in the governorship election petition? And what will the new panel say that the NJC has not said?”