Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
A High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, has affirmed that the judicial panel set up by the state government has the constitutional power to probe the administration of former governor who is the present Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
It restated that the legality of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the state government to look into financial transactions of the state between 2010 and 2014 was not in doubt, saying the state Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has power to run the affairs of his state.
It added that the governor has exclusive rights to set up commission of inquiry without the prompting of the House of Assembly and that he properly so acted.
Accordingly, all other reliefs seeking to set aside and perpetually restrain the commission were dismissed.
Justice Lekan Ogunmoye, who delivered the judgment in the suit filed by Fayemi against the commission of inquiry set up to investigate allegations of fraud against his administration, said Fayose acted pursuant to Section 2 (1) of the Commission of Inquiry Law Cap C10 Laws of Ekiti State.
He said the governor does not need to consult the House of Assembly or anyone before setting up the commission of inquiry.
The court however agreed that the state House of Assembly had no rights to direct the governor to set up the inquiry.
Fayose had in May this year, constituted a judicial panel, led by a former acting Chief Judge of the state, Justice Silas
Oyewole, to probe Fayemi’s administration between October 2010 and October 2014 over alleged financial misappropriation.
Fayemi had filed a suit with No. HAD/57/2017, seeking an injunction to restrain the state government and the Judicial Commission of Enquiry set up by Fayose to probe his administration from going ahead with the exercise.
The Minister for Steel and Minerals Resources Development also alleged that all the members of the panel were the governor’s apologists, adding that there was no way the panel would be fair to him.
Reacting after the judgment, Fayemi’s counsel, Mr. Akingbade
Ogunmoyela, said the court has agreed that the state House of Assembly has no right to direct the governor to set up the inquiry, saying it was of the opinion of the court based on the state Commission of Inquiry law that the governor has right to set up the commission.
He said he wouldn’t know whether or not his client would appeal the judgment.
In his reaction, counsel to the state government, Mr. Sunday Ashana, said he was happy with the judgment because the court established that the governor has the right to set up the commission. He stressed that the state government acted in accordance with the law that set up the commission.