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.
CAN Kicks As Kaduna Gives Quit Notice To 110-Year-Old Church
The Kaduna State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has raised alarm over a purported quit notice handed to one of its churches in Zaria, Kaduna State.
The Kaduna State Urban Planning Development Agency allegedly served the 110-year-old St. George, Anglican Church, Sabon Gari, Zaria, a seven-day quit notice.
The notice also claimed that compensation had been duly paid to the church.
The quit notice, which was not dated, was addressed to House No. 27, Church House, Sabon Gari Market, Zaria which is St George’s Church.
It reads, “Reference to the directive given by the executive governor on the issue of market development which compensation has been duly paid.
“You are hereby directed to vacate your residence within seven days from now; failure to comply will leave the agency with no option than to evict you at your own expense (from 19h – 24 September).”
The signatory of the notice did not include his name, but it was signed by the “Zonal head” of KASUPDA on behalf of the “Zonal Manager.”
It was gathered that the agency planned to pull down the structure to pave the way for the expansion of the Sabon Gari Market.
The state CAN Chairman, Rev. Joseph Hayab, in a statement, yesterday, in Kaduna, faulted the quit notice.
Hayab noted that the quit notice smacks of foul play as according to him, such an order wouldn’t have emanated from the Governor of the state, Malam Nasir El-Rufai.
Though in 2016, the chairman claimed that the state had made such moves to relocate the church to pave ways for the expansion of the market but later realized that the church had all valid documents.
The chairman in the statement entitled, ‘Governor Nasir El-Rufai should call KASUPDA to order,” partly stated, “We are alarmed and apprehensive about this, if it is true, that it is a directive from the governor. But we doubt much if the governor issued the directive.
“This is because in February, 2016, the government made moves to relocate the church to pave way for the expansion of the market, but later realized that the church has all valid documents and that even some parts of the market are on the church land.
“Following the presentation of the necessary documents by the church, the matter was resolved amicably. We wish to state categorically that no compensation was paid to the church.
“Where did the KASUPDA officials get this false information that compensation had been paid?
“It should be noted that the church which was founded about 110 years ago, was liberal enough to allow the market in question to operate in some parts of its land. Is it now a crime to be liberal and accommodating?
“How could the governor revisit the issue which was resolved amicably in 2016, by issuing a 7-day quit?”
The CAN leader also called on the governor to immediately investigate the purported quit notice from KASUPDA and take prompt action.
“This will go a long way in allaying fears and apprehension among Christians in the state and the nation at large”, the body added.
We’re Proud Of You, Fayemi Tells Wike …Commissions Rumuwoji Int’l Market
The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi has said that the frequency with which Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike churns out quality projects justifies his world acclaimed name, ‘Mr Project’.
Commissioning the Rumuwoji International Market built by the Wike administration in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday, as part of activities marking the first 100 days of his second term in office, Fayemi commended Wike for his outstanding performance.
The Ekiti State governor said: “We are proud of Governor Wike. We are proud of the work he is doing in Rivers State. He is going to continue to commission projects till 27th September. That is almost 10 days from now.
“Even if it is one project per day, it will be almost 10 days. Now I understand why they refer to him as ‘Mr. Project'”, he added.
Fayemi said that governance was about improving the living standard of the people, noting that Wike has worked hard for Rivers people.
He said: “The promise that the governor made is what he is fulfilling today. That is what government is all about. Government is about affecting the lives of our people.
“Governance is about improving the quality and condition of our society. Governance is about ensuring that we fulfill promises that we make to the people”.
He said though he is not in the same political party with Wike, his duty as chairman of Nigeria Governors Forum is to support, protect and defend all governors irrespective of their party affiliations.
In his address, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike described his Ekiti State counterpart and NGF Chairman, Dr John Kayode Fayemi, as a highly focused leader who does not discriminate against members of the opposition party, but sees them as partners in progress.
Wike said Fayemi was given the honour of commissioning the market in recognition of his rare qualities as a leader who does not discriminate based on political party affiliation.
The Rivers State governor recalled how Fayemi’s intervention helped douse the tension that was brewing over the issue of mosque demolition in the state earlier in the month.?
Wike said that he pledged to rebuild the market, and that the commissioning of the Rumuwoji Market was a fulfillment of that promise.
“I made a promise to construct this market. We started this market from the foundation to its completion.
“When we make promises to the people, we are bound to fulfill the promises. Hold us accountable to our promises, because there is no need for excuses. We made a promise and we have fulfilled that promise”, he noted.
He explained that the Rivers State Government has finished paying for the project.
Wike established a management committee for the market, directing the committee to ensure that the market serves the people.
He announced that he would give allocation to Rumuwoji community, Rumuwoji women while other people would get their shops through open balloting.
“I will give Rumuwoji women shop allocations in this market. I advise that they should not sell their shops because we will release funds for the Rumuwoji women to ply their trade”, he said.
The governor stated that he would build a market for the Nkpolu community as a means of improving the economy of the area.
In his remarks, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Housing, Mr Joseph Amiofori said that the market has two banking halls, clinic, police post, fire station, fire hydrants, pumping station and fire alert system.
Amiofori said that the market has 421 lock-up shops, 34 open stalls and 441 concrete tables.
Also speaking, Mayor of Port Harcourt City Local Government Area, Hon Victor Ihunwo commended the Rivers State governor for delivering a market of international standard to the people of the city.
The Chairman of the Rumuwoji Market Association, Eze Nyeche thanked the Rivers State governor for keeping his promise to the traders.
Meanwhile, residents of Port Harcourt City have applauded the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, for the successful completion of the Rumuwoji ultramodern market in Port Harcourt.
Some of the residents, who spoke to our correspondent during the commissioning of the market, last Wednesday, said the feat would end the hardship being faced by traders since the unfortunate fire that gutted the former market.
One of the residents, Chief Wilford Egbule said, “I am happy to be alive to witness the commissioning of the new Rumuwoji market today.
“I thank the Rivers State governor for this feat. It touches the life of our people directly”.
Also commending the governor, another resident, Madam Cecelia Nwafor said, “I can still reflect back on that unforgettable day when traders cried and wept uncontrollably as fire burnt their goods.
“Comparing that heartbreaking day with the excitement of today, I must thank God for using Governor Wike to wipe out the horrible tears and replacing the tears with laughter.
“I must thank Governor Wike for keeping to his promise”.
Similarly, Ms Gloria Fineface, described the project as a historic one.
She said; “Honestly, I must tell you this is historic for those of us in this city when the former market was gutted by fire
“Yes, subsequent administrations in the state made one effort or the other, but I think this is the mother of them all.
“From make-shift arrangements for traders around Rumuwoji community hall, former Obi Wali Cultural Centre and others, the governor has finally provided a permanent market for us.
“I commend Governor Wike for this huge concern to the people especially the traders who were mostly affected”.
To Mr Jackson Bassey, it is not the new market Wike built that excites him most.
According to him, “I saw raw care and concern for the people when the governor said he was even going to build another market for those helpless street traders around.
“This goes to tell you that Wike, unlike most selfish political leaders we have in Nigeria, thinks of the common people.
“Let God bless Governor Wike for us and also turn the minds of self-centred politicians in the country to emulate Governor Wike”, he prayed.
Reps Minority Leader: PDP’s BoT Chair, Secretary Disagree Over Report
It was all drama as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoTs) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Walid Jubril and its Secretary, Senator Adolphus Wabara, disagreed over the submission of an investigative report on the minority leadership position in the House of Representatives, yesterday.
Briefing journalists shortly after a marathon meeting of the board at the party’s Abuja secretariat, yesterday, the two elderly chieftains contradicted each other on the status of a report of the committee that investigated the embarrassing sell-out.
At issue was a report of a five-man committee set up by the BoT on July 9, to investigate why PDP members in the House of Representatives elected Hon Ndudi Elumelu of Delta State in the Green Chambers as minority leader, against the party’s choice of Hon Kingsley Chinda of Rivers State.
Miffed by the action, the leadership of the party had suspended Elumelu for one month.
Besides Elumelu, others affected by the suspension order were Lynda Ikpeazu, Wole Oke, Anayo Edwin, Gideon Gwadi, Toby Okechukwu and Adekoya Abdul-Majid.
The BoT investigation committee, chaired by a former Senate President, Dr Iyiorchia Ayu also had two other former Senate Presidents, Chief David Mark and Chief Adolphus Wabara as members.
A former Deputy President of the Senate, Alhaji Ibahim Mantu was also a member while a former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Austin Opara served as secretary of the committee.
However, Opara resigned from the committee before it concluded its assignment.
During a question-and-answer session at the briefing, the BoT chairman said the board had received the Ayu committee report but had yet to submit same to the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.
Jubril said: “We have received the report from the Ayu committee but we have not submitted it to the NWC because we are still deliberating on it, and we have not taken a decision on it yet.”
But he was swiftly countered by BoT secretary, who said that the board had, indeed, submitted the report to the NWC.
Wabara said: “We have considered the report and we have submitted the report on Elumelu to the NWC”.
This was followed by muffled disagreement between the two elderly party chieftains with the BoT chair raising objection to the secretary’s statement even as the latter stood his ground.
Their verbal exchange was in hushed tones but was audible enough for journalists to hear their voices.
The disagreement dragged till the end of the media briefing, with the two board members frowning and mumbling at each other as they left the venue and walked through the drizzling rain into their waiting cars.
Curiously, however, while the BoT meeting was still ongoing, the leadership of the party had issued a statement regarding the disputed report.
The statement, signed by the spokesman for the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the NWC had not received the said report from the BoT.
The statement reads in full: “In the light of public enquiries and conflicting reports on the position of the leadership of our great party on issues related to the minority leadership of the House of Representatives, the National Working Committee (NWC) hereby clarifies that it has not yet received any report from the Board of Trustees (BoTs) concerning the outcome of the five-member committee it set up to intervene on the contentious matter.
“Consequently, the NWC maintains that it has not taken any decision to review its subsisting stance on the minority leadership of the House of Representatives.
“The NWC, therefore, urges critical stakeholders, party members and the general public to completely disregard any report to the contrary”.
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