Supreme Court Dismisses APC’s Appeal, Affirms Ayo Fayose Governor

Governor Ayo Fayose

The Supreme Court, on Tuesday, dismissed a suit seeking to annul the June 21, 2014 election of Ekiti State Governor which brought Ayo Fayose to power. Business Day reports.

The suit was brought by the All Progressives Congress (APC) – whose candidate, Kayode Fayemi, lost to Fayose –  against the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

The seven-man panel of the court presided by Justice John Fabiyi upheld the decisions of the Court of Appeal, Ekiti Division, and the Ekiti State Governorship Election Tribunal, which had earlier ruled that the suit lacked merit.

The apex court in the lead judgment delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, also dismissed all the grounds of appeal filed by the APC.

The court said: “All the issues in the main appeal, having been resolved against the appellants, the appeal is found to be devoid of merit and is hereby dismissed.

“The judgment by the court below which affirmed the decision of the Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal is hereby affirmed.’’

The court also dismissed PDP’s claim that Fayose was not qualified to stand election because he was impeached in October 2006 by the Ekiti State House of Assembly for official misconduct.

The apex court also upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision which had faulted Fayose’s impeachment on the ground that it contravened the provisions of Section 188 of the 1999 Nigerian constitution.

It said that the impeachment panel was illegal and so the outcome of the impeachment was a nullity, adding that the illegal Ekiti Acting Chief Judge who presided over the impeachment panel had been dismissed.

It held that merely impeaching a governor does not disqualify him from standing election for ten years as argued by the appellant’s counsel, because he ought to have been prosecuted and pronounced guilty by a court.

The court also affirmed the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of the appellant’s argument that Fayose was not qualified to contest the election because he filled his INEC application form with a forged HND Certificate from The Polytechnic, Ibadan.

According to the apex court, the appeal on that ground is tantamount to res judicata, that is, re-litigating on a case that has already been adjudicated upon.

“Forgery, as a criminal offence, once raised, must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. The appellant did not prove its allegation against the second respondent.

“No attempt was made by the appellant to produce another Ayo Fayose, bearing the same name and certificates as the second respondent as alleged,’’ the court said.

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