Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
Attempt by immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, to stop the judicial panel set up to probe his administration failed yesterday as an Ado-Ekiti High Court has refused an application praying for an interim order to restrain the Judicial Panel of Inquiry pending the hearing of motion for injunction.
In his short ruling, Justice Lekan Ogunmoye, saidÂ Fayemiâ€™s request for an interim order cannot be granted because the defendants filed a notice of preliminary injunction challenging the competence of the court to hear the substantive suit.
However, the request for accelerated hearing byÂ Fayemi of the case was granted as the court ruled that the substantive sit would now be taken together with the defendantâ€™s preliminary objection on the next adjourned date, July 31.
Defendants in the suit are the state governor, Attorney General, Ekiti State
House of Assembly, Justice Silas Oyewole (panel chairman), Mr. Gbemiga Adaramola, Mrs. Bolawale Awe, Mr. Idowu Ayenimo, Mr. Omodara Vincent, Mr. Adesoba Oluremi and Mr. Sunday Bamise (panel members).
Justice Ogunmoye who said he had taken a judicial notice of all processes before him, held that it has been settled in law what the court considers before granting such application.
The judge held that there was a pending notice of preliminary objection by the defendants in which the competence of the court to hear the substantive matter was being challenged.
Â While citing many authorities to buttress his position, Justice Ogunmoye held that the issue of courtâ€™s jurisdiction over any matter was paramount and fundamental to any case at hand, hence it should beÂ determined for its adjudication not to be rendered an exercise in futility.
The judge ruled: â€œI have no power to grant the application for interim
injunction before me, but justice of the matter demands that it will be
given an accelerated hearing. The motion is hereby refused.â€
He adjourned the suit to July 31 for definite hearing.
Fayemiâ€™s counsel, Chief Rafiu Balogun, said the court was fair to both parties in granting defendantâ€™s prayer that the application for interim injunction be refused while at the same time granting his clientâ€™s prayer for accelerated hearing of the substantive case.
Defendantsâ€™ counsel, Mr. Daniel Alumun, said it was right for the court to consider the preliminary objection, saying the claimant canâ€™t stop a statute from running.