S’Court Rules On Ekiti Guber Poll, Zamfara APC Dispute, May 24 …Ekiti APC, PDP’s Rift Deepens

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Supreme Court

The Supreme Court yesterday heard and fixed May 24 for judgement on the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party and its governorship candidate in Ekiti State, Kolapo Olusola-Eleka challenging the election of Governor Kayode Fayemi.
A five-man panel of the apex court which heard the appeal was led by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad.
The appeal sought to overturn the concurrent judgments of the Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal and the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal which had both upheld Fayemi’s election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Fayemi and APC polled a total of 197,459 votes to defeated Olusola-Eleka and the PDP who placed second with 178,121 votes in the July 14, 2018 election.
Also, the Supreme Court yesterday fixed May 24 for judgment in the appeals relating to the dispute over the validity of the All Progressives Congress’ primary elections which produced the candidates fielded by the party in the last general elections.
The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad led the five-man panel which heard the appeal yesterday.
There had been two conflicting judgments of the Federal High Court in Abuja and the High Court of Zamfara State on whether or not the party conducted valid primaries in the state.
The Abuja and Sokoto divisions of the Court of Appeal had also delivered conflicting judgments on the matter.
While the Governor Abdulaziz Yari faction which, with the backing of the national leadership of the party, produced the candidates fielded for the elections in the state, had maintained that the party conducted valid primaries in the state, the Senator Kabir Marafa faction claimed otherwise.
Meanwhile,the bourgeoning rift between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) took a worsening dimension, yesterday, as the Ekiti State Government has reverted appointments of over 2,000 workers by immediate governor, Peter Ayodele Fayose after the July, 2018, gubernatorial election.
The decision followed deliberations by the State Executive Council (SEC) on the report of the committee headed by the deputy governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, that reviewed irregular appointments made between 2014 and 2018.
The government said the recruitment exercise violated due process.
It was gathered that the affected 2, 000 workers comprises 600 teachers recruited into the Teaching Service Commission, 400 personnel employed into the State Universal Basic Education Board and 1,000 injected into the system through the Office of Establishment and Training, among others.
Briefing the journalists on the development in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, yesterday, the Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Values Orientation, Mr. Muyiwa Olumilua declared that the appointments were null and void because they were done hurriedly with ulterior motives and in bad faith.
The commissioner disclosed that the governor had directed the Head of Service, Mr Ayodeji Ajayi, to collate all available vacancies in the civil service, with a view to recruiting suitable and qualified Ekiti citizens into the public service, irrespective of religious and political affinities.
Olumilua, however, urged the affected workers to participate in the next recruitment exercise to be announced in due course.
“All appointments made after the Gubernatorial Election of July, 2018, violated due process, are hereby cancelled and declared null and void.
“And all affected workers are advised to participate in the next recruitment exercise to be announced in due course”, Olumilua said.
He added: “The officers reinstated into the Local Government Service Commission between October 16, 2014 and October 15, 2018 are to be reabsorbed by the relevant Personnel Board, and migrated to biometric payroll.
“All 272 officers employed by the Governor Fayose Administration, who are still on manual payroll, shall be considered for absorption into the civil service but on case-by-case basis. Absorption will be conditional on availability of vacancies.
“The 169 officers recruited in 2014 but had their appointments terminated by the Governor Fayose Administration, shall be considered for re-absorption by the Ekiti State House of Assembly Service Commission, But on a case-by-case basis. Re-absorption will be conditional on availability of vacancies in their previous offices of appointment.
“Officers dismissed between October 16, 2014 and October 15, 2018 in the Ministries of Justice, Works and Transport, Environment, SUBEB, Teaching Service Commission, Hospital Management Board should go to the Office of Establishment to ascertain their current status”, he said.
But in a swift reaction, Fayose’s Media Aide, Lere Olayinka described the development as “act of wickedness and extreme degree of political vendetta”.
Olayinka, in a statement, last Wednesday, explained: “Fayemi has only succeeded in writing his name in the history books of Ekiti as one who inflict pains and sorrow on the people.”
He added that; “Fayemi has only demonstrated the wickedness in his heart by sacking Ekiti sons and daughters who were duly employed by the state government.
“It will be on record that the PDP government of Ayodele Fayose gave jobs to over 2,000 unemployed youths in Ekiti while the APC government of Dr Kayode Fayemi sacked them.
“Also, whoever that applauds this show of wickedness will be reminded in future when actions of Fayemi will also be reviewed.
“As for those sons and daughters of Ekiti who have now become victims of Fayemi’s wickedness and political vendetta, they should place their hope in God and enforce their rights to seek redress in the court of law”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Sola Adigun, appealed to government not to use the error and mistake of the past government to mete out punishment on innocent workers.
“This is not a fight, but a plea to the government to allow them to remain in the system. We are going to see Governor Fayemi and Head of Service Ayodeji Ajayi to please stop this recurrent issue of government sacking those employed by their predecessors,” he said.
But in a swift reaction, the Ekiti State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party National New Media Group (PDP-NNMG) has condemned in strong terms, the retrenchment of about 2,000 workers employed into teaching and civil services of the state during the immediate past Peter Ayodele Fayose’s administration.
The group described Governor John Kayode Fayemi’s action as one filled with vile, hate, wickedness and vendetta, adding that the governor must be reminded about the ephemeral nature of power and authority.
It said that it was only a matter of time before the governor’s alleged heinous actions are brought under review since nothing lasts forever.
The group said Ekiti State has never been so divided since its creation, stressing that the seed of discord being allegedly sowed among indigenes of the singular most homogeneous state in Nigeria by the governor be stopped forthwith.
It would be recalled that the Ayo Fayose administration recruited about 2,000 junior and senior workers to fill vacancies in the state government workforce in an exercise advertised long before the July 21 governorship election.
Fayemi, however, in a statement signed, yesterday, by his Chief Press Secretary, Laolu Oyebode, declared the exercise null and void, claiming that the recruitment was done to throw his government off balance.
In a statement released and made available to newsmen, yesterday, Ekiti State Coordinator of the PDP-NNMG, Bola Agboola said the retrenchment was one devilish act too many.
He said, “Governor Fayemi has for the umpteenth time proved his viciousness by pronouncing 2,000 breadwinners hapless and helpless!
“Fayemi is known for attempting to undermine and dwarf his predecessors’ achievements, you would recall this was the same way he scrapped University of Science and Technology, Ifaki which was the hallmark of Engr. Segun Oni’s administration.
“Fayemi would have demolished Fayose’s 1.3km flyover if he had had his way. Today, the Oja Oba that was about 95% completed before Fayose left office in 2018 has been abandoned. In 2010, Fayemi sent packing duly elected local government executive members and counsellors across the 16 LGA of the state, he repeated same in 2018 after rigging his way to the government house a second time.
“It is a known fact that Fayemi was behind the case instituted against Ekiti State Government under former governor Ayo Fayose by landowners in communities where an airport would have been constructed for the state, Fayemi through his aides castigated the construction of the proposed airport but today he’s setting machinery in motion to build one, that’s Fayemi’s kind of person.
“One would have thought that an electoral robber who does not enjoy the support of majority of the citizenry would thread softly with caution, same is not the case for our kinsman whose innate tendency for crass ungodliness, profanity and profligacy will not allow to lead a chorus where he is not wanted”.
Agboola further stated that “there is no gainsaying Dr. Kayode Fayemi represents the very worst of Ekiti people. He is full of hatred for the Ekiti people, very vindictive, callous and deadly. Or what offence did those 2,000 workers he sacked yesterday commit? Must he wait till they have spent 8 months wasting their money and precious time working without salary for the government before telling them to stop?
“Why didn’t he sack them before the presidential and National Assembly elections? Why didn’t he sack them before the state assembly election? Because he knew the hue and cry won’t allow his rigging the elections sail through without challenge? Fayemi is heartless!”
“Ekiti State chapter of the PDP-NNMG hereby call on the 2,000 workers not to despair but to be strong and of good courage as the Pharaoh they see today, they will see no more. We urge you to charge this rogue government of the day to court; the lawyers know what to do.
“Your sack is temporary, keep your letters of appointment in a very safe place, a responsible government is coming and your case shall be revisited, I assure you your employment will be revalidated as this is never the end of your world”, Agboola affirmed.
Also, the Supreme Court, yesterday, fixed May 24 to deliver judgment in two election appeals seeking to ascertain authentic candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Zamfara in the last general elections. Court Oyetola’s victory:
The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, led other justices to fix the date after counsel to parties adopted their written addresses. Mahammad held that the short date became imperative as it was mandatory to resolve the issues before May 29 in order not to create constitutional crisis in the state.
The APC and Malam Sanusi Dan-Alhaji had instituted the case on the primary election conducted by the party for the nomination of candidates to participate in the last general election. Chief Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, Counsel to Dan-Alhaji, while adopting his address, prayed the apex court to restore the February13 judgment of the Zamfara High Court which allowed APC to field candidates in the general election.
Fagbemi submitted that the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Sokoto Division, which disqualified APC from nominating candidate for the election on the grounds that the party did not conduct lawful primary should be set aside.
He further argued that the lower court erred in law, adding that the decision was a miscarriage of justice.
Fagbemi said the APC had shown proof that the party conducted a free and fair primary to elect the candidates that contested the governorship election, the National Assembly and the House of Assembly elections respectively.
However, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, Counsel to Sen. Kabiru Marafa and 142 others, urged the appellate court to dismiss the appeal and affirm the judgment of the Appeal Court. Ozekhome submitted that the judgment was a copious description of how the APC in Zamfara failed to conduct primary election in accordance with the Electoral Act, party guideline and the 1999 Constitution.
He said the process failed both legal and integrity tests, adding that the exercise was not conducted to produce candidates for the last general election as his clients were fenced out. Mr. Tanimu Inuwa, SAN, Counsel to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) aligned himself with the argument canvassed by Ozekhome.
He further explained that the electoral body did not supervised any primary conducted by the party as mandated by law. Inuwa argued that the Court of Appeal in Sokoto was right to have stopped the APC from fielding candidates in the 2019 general election in Zamfara. Inuwa therefore, urged the appellate court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.