Residents of Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, yesterday trooped to the streets to celebrate the Supreme Court’s affirmation of Mr. Ayodele Peter Fayose as the duly elected governor of the state.
The celebration was spearheaded by members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and associates of the governor, who danced round some major streets of Ado-Ekiti.
They expressed their joy over the Supreme Court judgment on the June 21, 2014 governorship election in the state.
The PDP supporters and Governor Fayose moved around in a motorcade from the popular Matthew Street to Old Garage Area leading to Okeyenmi and Okesa area, singing and dancing.
The opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, had approached the apex court to upturn the verdict of the Appellate Court, which had upheld the defeat of the then governor Kayode Fayemi by Fayose.
On the Supreme Court ruling, Fayose said: “I want to sincerely appreciate Ekiti people for their resilience and love for me. I am formally dedicating this victory to God and to them.
“Having voted for me 10 months ago, and confirming the victory by the subsequent elections in the last few weeks, they have shown that they are unequivocal about their choice and their determination to protect and defend that mandate.
“I cannot but appreciate the apex court for protecting democracy and also for living to the expectation of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Hon. Justice Mahmud Mohammed, who had assured that under his leadership, the judiciary would not subscribe to any plot to change the outcome of elections through the instrumentality of the court”
In a unanimous decision by the seven-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice John Fabiyi, the apex court upheld the earlier decisions of the Court of Appeal and the Ekiti State Governorship Election Tribunal, which had both ruled that the petition challenging Fayose’s victory lacked merit.
In the lead judgment delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, the apex court dismissed all the grounds of appeal filed by the APC and resolved all four issues arising from the appeal against the party.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had declared that Fayose of the PDP polled 203,090 votes to defeat Fayemi, who scored 120,433 votes in the election.
Not satisfied with the results, the APC had filed a petition before the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which sat in Abuja to nullify the election.
The petitioner anchored its case on the grounds of alleged irregularities, intimidation of its leaders by the military, ineligibility of Fayose to stand for the election and allegation that the PDP candidate forged his Higher National Diploma certificate he presented to INEC.
The Justice Siraju-Mohammed-led tribunal, in its verdict on December 19, 2014, dismissed the petition for lacking merit.
The Justice Abdul Aboki-led five-man panel had affirmed the decision of the tribunal.
But the APC appealed to the Supreme Court having being dissatisfied with the Court of Appeal’s decision.
The Supreme Court, in its judgment yesterday, held that none of the grounds of appeal was proved by the appellant.
It held that while impeachment was not a ground of disqualification from contesting as governor under section 182 of Nigeria’s Constitution, the panel which recommended Fayose for impeachment on October 16, 2006 was illegally and unconstitutionally constituted.
It also held that the allegation of certificate forgery had been caught by the principle of “issue estoppel” as it had been laid to rest since 2004 by the Court of Appeal’s judgment in the case of Alliance for Democracy.
According to the apex court, the Court of Appeal had, in the said judgment, held that the HND certificate was genuinely earned by and awarded to Fayose.
On the issue of militarisation and harassment of leaders of the APC, the Supreme Court held that the Chief of Defence Staff and the Inspector-General of Police, joined as 4th and 5th defendants in the case were not necessary parties.
The apex court held that the actions of the men and officers of the two defendants that allegedly harassed the APC leaders during the election and whose names were not mentioned could also not be answerable for by the INEC as stipulated by the Electoral Act.


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