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EKITI ELECTION 2018: Federal High Court Begins Hearing On The Eligibility Case Between Kayode Fayemi & Segun Oni.

Kayode Fayemi & Segun Oni.

An Ado Ekiti Federal High Court on Monday began sitting in the suit filed by a former governor, Segun Oni, challenging the eligibility of Governor Kayode Fayemi who contested and won the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primaries as a sitting minister.

The matter, which was transferred from a Federal High court in the FCT, to the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti, came up on Monday in Ado-Ekiti.

An aspirant in the primaries who is also a lawyer, Ajayi Olowo, approached the court to be joined in the suit as an interested party.

Mr. Olowo prayed the court to join him in the suit, so as to hasten hearing in the case, saying the applicant, Mr. Oni, has no case and that his application should be dismissed.

Earlier, counsel to the applicant, Anthony Adeniyi, filed a motion to amend the applicant’s response to the preliminary objection of the defendant, Mr Fayemi.

Mr Adeniyi also urged the court to give accelerated hearing and determination of the case, saying there was no time on the side of the court.

He said: “The expiration of the matter according to law which stipulated 180 days to hear the matter would expire on December 19.”

The lead counsel to the defendant, (Fayemi), Rafiu Balogun, prayed the court to grant them the privilege of addressing the court orally since they had not filed their own written amendment to counter the written application of the plaintiff in order to save the time of the court.

Judge Uche Agomoh adjourned ruling on whether Mr. Olowo could join the other defendants until Tuesday.

Mr Agomoh told the two parties to file and serve each other the written applications before noon on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Mr Oni’s counsel raised security concerns as he alleged that “some party supporters attempted to stop him from accessing the court area but for the quick intervention of police who ferried him to the court premises.”

But Mr Balogun allayed his fears, assuring that he would contact the defendant and applicant on security matter adding that Messrs Fayemi and Oni were members of the same APC family.

Meanwhile, Adunmo Sunday, Deputy Director with a campaign movement team known as the JKF Campaign Organisation, on Monday told the Ekiti Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Apo, Abuja, that the July 14 governorship election was free, fair and credible by all standards.

Testifying during the tribunal’s sitting, Mr. Sunday, said contrary to the allegations of general malpractices by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Olusola Kolapo, the election was devoid of rancour and violence.

Led in evidence by Lateef Fagbemi, counsel to Governor Fayemi, the witness informed the tribunal that the officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) were not biased against any parties.

“Someone will be day-dreaming if they think that the election was not free, fair, credible and acceptable.

“As one of the groups who monitored the election, I did not receive any reports of violence, vote buying and any malpractice.

“All the agents of political parties that participated in the election signed the result sheet,” he said.

He said: “It is not true that INEC favoured Fayemi in the election. The allegation of vote buying is also not true and in fact, the election is one of the best conducted by INEC,” the witness further said.

However, under cross-examination by Roland Otaru, counsel to the petitioners, the witness, admitted before the tribunal that his disposition on oath was based on reports obtained from other All Progressives Congress (APC) agents during the election.

The PDP and Mr Kolapo had filed the petition, praying the tribunal to declare them as winners of the election on the ground that they scored majority of the lawful votes.

They alleged that victory of Fayemi was as a result of vote-buying, widespread rigging, malpractices and that INEC officials favoured the governor during the election.

Judge Suleiman Belgore, adjourned sitting until Tuesday for continuation of hearing.

Meanwhile, Fayemi, who was present at proceeding told reporters that he was confident that the tribunal will do justice to all issues raised in the petition by petitioners.

Also, his counsel, Mr. Fagbemi expressed optimism that the tribunal will be able to complete hearing of the petition within the time allowed by law.

(News Agency of Nigeria, NAN)

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