Efforts to stop former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, from contesting the governorship election on Saturday suffered a setback yesterday as an Ado-Ekiti High Court on Monday adjourned the case till June 30, a week after the election would have been held.
A socio-political group, known as E-11, which has the likes of Governor Kayode Fayemi predecessor, Chief Segun Oni and Senator Babafemi Ojudu as its members, along with the Citizen Party, had sued Fayose over his alleged ineligibility to contest the election.
Among others, the claimants are asking the court to determine whether Fayose was qualified to contest by virtue of his impeachment in 2006 and whether he was right to have allegedly given certain false information to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about his state of integrity. Both the INEC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were joined in the suit.
The claimants’ lead counsel, Mr Norrison Quakers (SAN) had pleaded for accelerated hearing of the case, because the election in which the eligibility of the defendant was in question, would be held this Saturday.
According to him, the court was empowered under the Electoral Act to proceed with the case so that his clients would be deemed to have gotten justice. Norrison submitted that the case was ripe for accelerated hearing because the defendants had been served notice since Monday, after the court ruled that Fayose be served through substituted means. The counsel to the respondent, Ahmed Raji (SAN) in a counter argument, said the case before the court was not ripe enough for hearing since there was no written application filed to him. He asked the court to give him seven days to respond to the filed affidavit which would be given him by the claimant. Raji said the claimant cannot argue the case orally because there was no written application to that effect. He consequently urged the court to neither treat the matter as an urgent one nor rush the proceeding as demanded by the claimant. He said the case could still continue even if his client eventually wins the Saturday election that was in contention. Justice Olusegun Ogunyemi in his ruling, said the rule of law must be obeyed in the case, concerning the issue of oral or written affidavit, citing section 39 of the Constitution. He agreed that there must be a written affidavit filed by the claimant and given to the respondent. The Judge \ adjourned the case till June 30 for hearing