Dr. Kayode Fayemi
By Toba Suleiman in Ado-Ekiti
Justice John Adeyeye of Ado-Ekiti High Court Thursday ordered the immediate reinstatement of the chairman and members of the state Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) sacked on October 22, 2010 by the state Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi .
According to the judge, the governor acted ultra-vires by sacking the commission members via radio announcements.
In the suit, the SIEC Chairman, Major-Gen Kayode Oni (rtd) and four other members had approached the court to declare the action of the governor unlawful, unconstitutional, oppressive and ultra-vires.
They also asked the court to set aside the purported dissolution of the commission and order their reinstatement.
The plaintiff counsel had averred that appointment of Oni and other members was constitutional and enjoyed statutory flavour. He cited sections 197, 198, 199 and 201 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, and a plethora of legal authorities to support his argument. Delivering his judgment, Justice Adeyeye said the governor had no powers whatsoever to sack the commission members, whose tenure was pegged at five years by the constitution.
The judge resolved all the issues raised by the claimants in their favour and also granted their reliefs, including their return to office, not withstanding whether the positions had been filled or not.
whether claimants had taken other appointments elsewhere.
Adeyeye had earlier in his judgment dismissed the two preliminary objections earlier raised by counsel to the defendants, Dayo Akinlaja , the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, who is also a defendant in the suit.
He maintained that the claimants had reasonable cause of action and that the amendment to Section 254 of the Constitution, which ousted the jurisdiction of the State High Court and gave it to National Industrial Court was not in force when the matter arose in 2010.
However, while reacting to the judgment, the state commissioner for Information, Mr Funminiyi Afuye said the state government was dissatisfied with the judgment.