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ONI FILES APPEAL AGAINST REMOVAL, SEEKS RETRIAL OF EKITI ELECTION CASE

By NBF News
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The former governor of Ekiti State on Monday filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal in Ado Ekiti seeking an order to set aside the judgement of the Isa Salami-led election appeal tribunal, which installed the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi as governor.

The former governor in his appeal was asking the court to use its powers to direct a fresh panel of the Court of Appeal to determine the appeal afresh (de novo) and that the speaker of the Ekiti House should take over the governance of Ekiti State pending the hearing and determination of the appeal.

The filing of the case by the former governor was turned to a carnival-like procession as thousands of party supporters and his loyalists thronged the court premises in company with Chief Oni and party leaders.

The crowd, which intermittently hailed the former governor and the PDP, asked for the return of Oni as governor of Ekiti.

The appeal, which was filed on his behalf by a team of lawyers, led by Prof. Ben Nwabueze (SAN), listed seven grounds of appeal, which include that the judgement of the election appeal was delivered without jurisdiction and in breach of right to fair hearing.

•Other grounds were that the judgement was a nullity having been predetermined and delivered through a panel which had close affinity with 1st and 2nd respondents.

•That the judgement was compromised and vitiated by reason of the said affinity especially the president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Isa Salami who presided over the panel and that this affinity created bias in favour of Dr. Kyode Fayemi and the ACN

•That the justices of the panel were disqualified to sit on the panel, entertain and deliver the judgement by reason of the issues raised in a sworn affidavit of a distinguished Senator Umaru Dahiru regarding the relationship between Justice Salami, who presided over the panel, and Senator Bola Tinubu.

•That the judgement was a nullity for the reasons stated in the grounds of Appeal.

The motion was supported by a-48 paragraph affidavit deposed to by the former governor, in support of the motion which included claims that the ACN in its petition before the tribunal made contradictory positions claiming in one breath, that there was no election, yet affirming that the election was manipulated.

The applicant claimed that Senator Bola Tinubu at a book launch in honour of Olubadan of Ibadan, a week before the judgement informed the audience that he would be attending the swearing in of his party's candidate 'as governor of Ekiti in another one week.''

He claimed also that an Akure-based radio station Adaba Radio weeks before the judgement had been broadcasting messages by Fayemi that he would soon be sworn in as governor of Ekiti State.

He said a day to the delivery of the judgment, the A CN made elaborate preparations including distribution of fabric with congratulatory messages.

Chief Segun Oni who attached copies of his petition to the NJC to the affidavit and the affidavit of Senator Umaru Dahiru and Mahmud Yahaya stated that it was uncontroverted that Justice Isa Salami had been a friend of the ACN leader and that Tinubu 'has unfettered access to influence the president of the Court of Appeal who presided over the Ekiti tribunal.'

He referred to the first judgement of the Court of Appeal, which annulled his election and ordered a rerun on the basis that officials of INEC marked the voters' register with shades of biro as against blue biro and that he found the judgement 'very queer and bizarre having regard to the fact that I was aware at that time that in the appeal filed against the election of Governor Fashola of Lagos State by Jimi Agbaje, the Court of Appeal held the election manual which prescribed the use of blue biro was not obligatory but

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