Supreme Court throws out ex-Ekiti Governor, Segun Oni’s appeal

The Supreme Court said Mr. Oni was only looking for a ploy to return to office.

The Supreme Court, on Friday dismissed an appeal instituted by a former Ekiti State Governor, Segun Oni, seeking to upturn the decision of the Court of Appeal which removed him from office.

Mr. Oni of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, had appealed to the Supreme Court to revisit the judgement, saying that the Court of Appeal was biased in the judgement.

The former governor had capitalized on the crisis in the judiciary which resulted from the suspension of its President, Ayo Salami, by the National Judicial Council, NJC, to file the suit. Mr. Salami was accused of bias in the judgement which gave victory to Kayode Fayemi of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN.

Mr. Oni relied on Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (amended) which guarantees right to fair hearing.

However, Mr. Fayemi opposed the appeal, insisting that the Court of Appeal was the final court of jurisdiction on governorship elections matters at the time the election was conducted in 2007.

Relying on Section 246 (3) of the Constitution, the governor urged the court to reject the invitation to meddle in an appeal that had been successfully concluded.

In a unanimous decision, the five-man panel of the Supreme Court concurred with Mr. Fayemi. It said the plan by Mr. Oni to lure it to exercise its authority by meddling in an appeal already decided by the Court of Appeal, which was the final court on governorship elections, was aimed at returning to Ekiti State Government.

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, who read the judgement, said the matter had been adequately determined by the Court of Appeal and dismissed the suit filed by the former governor, saying that the appeal had nothing to do with Section 36 of the Constitution.

“This Supreme Court has no power or jurisdiction to entertain this appeal. We have consistently declined invitations to set aside decisions like this where the principle of separation of powers of our courts,” it said.

The Supreme Court also noted that the National Judicial Council, NJC, had thoroughly investigated Mr. Salami and other jurists and found nothing against them.

It also held that the issue before it was not whether the Court of Appeal violated section 36(1) in its decision sacking the former government but whether, in view of 246(3), it could exercise authority to interfere with the matter.

The court thereafter dismissed Mr. Oni’s appeal but made no order as to cost.

Reacting to judgement, Mr. Fayemi canvassed the setting up of Election Offences Commission, adding that if Mr. Oni had been prosecuted for committing electoral fraud in the state, he would not have approached the Supreme Court with frivolous appeal, which he said was aimed at the distracting the state government.

“Oni engaged in judicial frivolity and unfortunately, in Nigeria, there is no punishment for electoral frivolity,” Mr. Fayemi said.

“This decision reinforces the need for the establishment of Election Offences Commission to handle people like Oni for committing electoral fraud and wasting the time of people elected to serve Ekiti State.”

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