LAI MOHAMMED, BAKARE, OTHERS HAIL EKITI JUDGMENT
Mixed reactions yesterday trailed the pronouncement of the Appeal Court on the governorship election in Ekiti State that declared Kayode Fayemi of the Action Congress (AC) winner.
Eminent Nigerians said it was good for the justice system in the country.
Most of them regretted a situation where the wrong person would be in power for as long as three and half years before the courts would make its pronouncement is not ideal. The solution, they said, is to enact a law that will ensure that justice is dispensed within a specific period after election.
Lai Mohammed, AC spokesman
First of all, we give thanks to almighty Allah and we thank the judiciary for its courage and we thank members of the party for their endurance. This is the dawn of a new year in Nigerian politics.
We hope that this will be the last time that any candidate will suffer the kind of indignity and the type of hardship we have suffered. It has taken us almost 42 months to reclaim our mandate. We hope it will never happen again.
The constitution is very clear on the matter of tenure. Our candidate will spend four years. We don't expect election in Ekiti until 2014.
Ebenezer Babatope, PDP chieftain
I have not read the details of the judgment. But I want to say this to all Nigerians, the judgment apparently leaked and that was why the AC has been shouting for over a week now that something was to happen to that judgment which confirms that the judgment leaked. We should ask who leaked that judgment.
Secondly, I believe that the judiciary must have to explain to Nigerians how such a judgment could leak and therefore, they also have to assure Nigerians that that judiciary is able to defend democracy and democratic principles in Nigeria. I know that at the end of the day truth will prevail.
Yinka Odumakin, rights activist
It is a triumph for tenacity, perseverance and for running the whole process. But two critical issues that came up is that Segun Oni has been using the mandate for almost four years now and he will go home free without being made to account for the offence he has committed. The woman that conducted the election is still in the electoral commission in Ondo State.
Our system is very weak. Our laws condone criminalities and we don't bring criminals to book. We are encouraging others to continue on that path. We must take this seriously. You will see that people like that would continue to use whatever means to seek power knowing that once you take the power you are above the law, nothing can happen to you and you go home free.
Lam Adesina, ex-Oyo State governor
I see it as a victory not only for democracy but also for justice in Nigeria. It is unfortunate that in Nigeria, justice has to come after a long delay. Do we now say that Oni and his crew should cough out all the money they have taken from the kitty? But that is the right thing to do. They should return the money they have collected in form of salaries and allowances. Never again in this country should we allow things like that to drag on for a long time. I congratulate Kayode Fayemi and his deputy and the good people of Ekiti State for standing solidly behind their son, Fayemi in order to reclaim his mandate. Finally, I see that as the beginning of the end of the PDP in the South West of Nigeria.
Olorunfunmi Bashorun, AC chieftain
It shows that we still have hope in the judiciary. Those who said justice delayed is justice denied depend on the circumstance. This one was delayed but never denied. We have got it and we thank God for it.
We have the opportunity to put things right. But those in the National Assembly are not doing so. Somebody has been governor for almost four years and he is not the governor. If we can set a limit to when litigation should end, we would be better for it. But our colleagues in the legal profession are saying that would be shutting the door to justice. It has to be done if we are serious. There are still cases in court not yet decided. So, it is better if we find solution whereby somebody would not be governor indefinitely and then at the end of the day, we ask him to quit.
Pastor Tunde Bakare, cleric/activist
My congratulations o Kayode Fayemi and I hope he will use it to the benefit and the betterment of Ekiti people. We need to look into the long delay so that the judiciary would not become the bastion of denial of justice or a place where there is no more confidence for the ordinary people.
It is better to be late than never. Justice seems to have been done now and it is transparent, it's fair. We have learnt from it and I am sure that the lower court also will learn from what blunders they have made in not declaring a winner from the beginning. Madam Ayoka also can go now and find some other things to do with her own life.
Fayemi has a fresh term because he had never been sworn in. If the other court had declared him winner, then he would have continued from the first term he was sworn in. But now, this is a fresh mandate and he will take a fresh oath. The oath had never been administered on him before. He has a four-year term, which would end in 2014. There would be no election in Ekiti State until 2014.
You said ACN cried out that the judgment was about to be tampered with. The PDP has also denied it. So, there is hope for our country that justice would be done, no matter how long it takes.
It might not have been leaked to the ACN. It is possible that they suspected something was about to be done. If they suspect foul play and cried out, it is not out of place.
Ayo Opadokun, ACN chieftain
The traumatic experience that Kayode Fayemi had to go through, from the Court of Appeal verdict, the statement has been made effectively that no matter how enduring falsehood can thrive, justice would always prevail.
It is an aberration that is unwarranted. Thank God Justice Uwais electoral Reform Panel recommended some sufficient days after the election so that all judicial intervention would have been concluded. But, the National Assembly ignored that recommendation. We the Coalition for Electoral Reform insist that henceforth, no one should be sworn into office until all judicial intervention in the matter has been completed.