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Supreme Court Reserves Judgment on Ekiti Governorship Dispute

05 Mar 2013

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Segun Oni, Former Ekiti State Governor

Tobi Soniyi

The Supreme Court will on May 31 deliver judgment in the appeal filed by a former governor of Ekiti State, Segun Oni, asking the apex court to set aside an Appeal Court judgment which removed him from office and declared Dr. Kayode Fayemi  as the elected governor.

A full panel of the court, with  Justice Tanko Mohammed presiding, fixed the date after parties in the suit adopted their briefs.

In his submission, counsel to Oni, Chief Joe-Kyari Gadzama (SAN) urged the court to set aside the October 15, 2010 judgment of the lower court which sacked the former governor from office on the ground of alleged likelihood of bias.

He argued that the suspended President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, who constituted and presided over the panel and also  wrote the judgment of the Appeal Court that sacked Oni from office had close affinity with the leadership of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the party that produced Fayemi.

He said: “Bias or likelihood of it makes a decision a nullity and is therefore a sufficient ground for the lower court to set aside its own judgment.”

However, in a preliminary objection, Fayemi represented by his counsel, Olusola Baiyashea (SAN) said the Supreme Court did not have the jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

He submitted that going by the reports of the National Judicial Council (NJC) which investigated the allegation, Salami and other judges of the appellate court which sat over the matter had been exonerated and hence the allegation had become irrelevant to the instant case.

He also argued that the reliefs sought by the appellant emanated from the governorship election tribunal and that as at the time the Court of Appeal delivered its judgment, it remained the last court that had the jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

He submitted that the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal, being an appeal emanating from election tribunal because  by virtue of Section 246 (3) of the 1999 Constitution, Appeal Court was the final court then.

Tags: Politics, Nigeria, Featured, Supreme Court, Judgment, Ekiti Governorship Dispute

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