Ekiti Guber: Tribunal admits panel report exonerating Fayose of impeachable offences

By Lere Olayinka

Another foundation on which the All Progressives Congress ( APC ) premised its petition against the victory of Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose in the June 21 governorship election may have crumbled as the Election Petitions Tribunal sitting in Abuja, yesterday admitted as exhibit the panel report exonerating the governor of all the allegations of impeachable offences made against him in 2006 by the House of Assembly.

Clerk of the State House of Assembly, Mr Tola Esan tendered a Certified True Copy of the report of the panel set up by the then Chief Judge, Justice Kayode Bamisile, which cleared Fayose of all allegations made against him.

The report was admitted as exhibit.
Also tendered and admitted as exhibit was the letter written to Justice Jide Aladejana by former Chief of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore, instructing him not to assume office as Acting Chief Judge of Ekiti State, upon the controversial suspension of Justice Bamisile by the House of Assembly.

A Permanent Secretary, Mr Gbenga Faseluka tendered the letter.

It should be recalled that after the panel set up by Justice Bamisile had cleared Fayose of all allegations made against him, the House of Assembly hurriedly suspended Justice Bamisile and appointed Justice Aladejana as the Acting Chief Judge.

The Chief Judge of Nigeria then, Justice Alfa Belgore had voided the appointment of Justice Aladejana by Ekiti State House of Assembly as "Acting Chief Judge:.

Belgore, in a letter addressed to Justice Aladejana dated October 13, 2006 declared that the procedure and circumstances under which he was appointed by the assembly were contrary to the provision of Section 271 of the 1999 Constitution.

"Any action taken by Aladejana in his capacity as 'Acting Chief Judge' would be unconstitutional," the Chief Justice warned then.

The letter with reference No. CJN/COR/SG/A.79/III/144 was titled: Re: "Petition against the conduct of Hon. Justice Jide Aladejana of Ekiti State High Court on illegal composition of purported impeachment panel in Ekiti State".

The letter, which was copied Ekiti Governor Fayose, read: "It has been brought to my notice that you (Aladejana) have been appointed by the House of Assembly of Ekiti State as the Acting Chief Judge, following the suspension of the State Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Kayode Bamisile, for exercising his constitutional power. Your faxed letter and other documents of 12th October, 2006 to me were also in the same vein.

"As you are aware, the procedure for appointment of an Acting Chief Judge for the state is clearly spelt out in Section 271 of the 1999 Constitution (of) the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

"I am to stress that the perceived imminent constitutional crises in the state mentioned in your letter notwithstanding, the procedure and circumstances under which you have been appointed are contrary to the aforesaid provision of the 1999 Constitution on appointment of an Acting Chief Judge.

"Hence, any action by you in your capacity as the Acting Chief Judge will be unconstitutional".

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which opened its defence yesterday, closed its defence while Governor Fayose is expected to open his own defence today.