Chief Segun Oni, the Governor of Ekiti State who was removed by the Isa-Salami-led Election Appeal Tribunal last year to pave way for Dr. Kayode Fayemi, the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria to replace him, today filed an Appeal at the new Court of Appeal in Ado  Ekiti  seeking an order to set that judgement aside.

The filing of the case by the former Governor was turned to a carnival like procession as thousands of party supporters and loyalists of the former Governor thronged the court premises in his company and that of party leaders. The crowd, which intermittently hailed the former governor, asked for his return as the state’s chief executive.

The former Governor is praying the court to  use its inherent powers to direct a fresh panel of the Court of Appeal to determine the appeal afresh(de novo), and that the Speaker  of the Ekiti House of Assembly should take over the governance of Ekiti state pending the hearing and determination of the Appeal.

The Appeal, which was filed on Oni’s behalf by lawyers led by the widely-known constitutional lawyer, Professor BEN NWABUEZE SAN, listed 7 grounds of Appeal, including one which argues that the judgement of the Election Appeal was delivered without jurisdiction and in breach of fair hearing.
The other arguments include as follows:

•    That the judgement is a nullity having been predetermined and delivered through a panel which has close affinity with the 1st and 2nd Respondents;

•    hat the judgement was compromised and vitiated by reason of the said affinity especially the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Salami, who presided over the panel, in particular  Sen. Bola Tinubu, the alter ego and leader of AC N and that this affinity created bias in favour of Dr. Kayode Fayemi and the CAN;

•    That the justices of the panel were disqualified to  sit on the panel, entertain and deliver the judgement by reason of the issues raised in a sworn affidavit of a distinguished Senator Umaru Dahiru  regarding the relationship between Justice Salami who presided over the panel and Sen. Bola Tinubu;

The motion was supported by a 48-paragraph affidavit deposed to by the former Governor.  It is supported by claims that the ACN in their petition before the tribunal made contradictory positions claiming in one breath that there was no election yet also affirming that the election was manipulated.

The Applicant claimed that  Sen Bola Tinubu  at a book launch in honour of Olubadan OF Ibadan ,a week before the judgement informed the audience that he would be attending the swearing –in of his party candidate  ‘’ as Governor of  Ekiti in  another one  week’’ .  Oni also claimed also that a number of weeks before the judgement, an Akure-based radio station, Adaba Radio, had been broadcasting messages by Fayemi that he would soon be sworn in as Governor of Ekiti State.

Chief Oni also argued that one day to the delivery of the judgment, the A C N made elaborate preparations, including distribution of fabrics with congratulatory messages.  Chief Oni who attached copies of his petition to the NJC to the affidavit and the affidavit of Sen Umaru Dahiru and Mahmud Yahaya, stated that it was uncontroverted that Justice Isa Salami had been a friend of A C N leader and that Tinubu ‘has unfettered  access to influence  the President of the Court of Appeal who presided over the Ekiti Tribunal” thus denying him fair hearing.

He referred to the first judgement of the court of Appeal  which annulled  his election and ordered a rerun  on the basis that officials of INEC marked the voters register with shades of biro as against blue biro  and that he found the judgement “very queer and bizarre having regard to the fact that I was aware at that time that in the appeal filed against the election of  Governor Fashola of Lagos State by Jimi Agbaje, the Court of Appeal held the election manual which prescribe the use of blue biro was not obligatory but directory.’’

Security was heavy today at the court premises.  No date has been fixed for hearing of the Appeal.

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