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Sacked Ekiti SIEC Chairman, Members Reinstated

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SAN FRANCISCO, June 14, (THEWILL) – The chairman and members of the Ekiti State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) who were sacked on 22nd October 2010 by Governor Kayode Fayemi must be reinstated immediately, a High Court in Ado-Ekiti has ordered.

Presided over by Justice John Adeyeye, the court declared that Governor Fayemi acted ultra vires his powers by sacking members of the Commission in a radio announcement.

In Suit Number HAD/121/2010, the SIEC Chairman, Major General Kayode Oni (Rtd.) and four other members had approached the court to declare the action of the governor unlawful, unconstitutional, oppressive and ultra vires his powers. They prayed the court to set aside the purported dissolution of the Commission and order their reinstatement.

Counsel to the claimants, Obafemi Adewale, argued that the appointment of Gen. Oni and other members had constitutional and statutory backing, citing Sections 197, 198, 199 and 201 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, and other legal authorities to support his argument.

In his judgement on Thursday, Justice Adeyeye said the governor had no powers whatsoever to sack the members, whose tenure should last five years as stipulated by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The judge resolved all issues raised by the claimants in their favour and also granted their reliefs, including their return to office, irrespective of whether or not their positions had been occupied or whether they had taken appointments elsewhere.

Justice Adeyeye earlier dismissed the two preliminary objections raised by counsel to the defendants, Dayo Akinlaja, Ekiti State attorney-general and commissioner for justice, who is also a defendant in the suit.

Commenting on the judgment, one of the reinstated members, Mr. Sesan Akinola said the coast is now clear for the conduct of local government elections in the State, saying they would issue notice of elections very soon in accordance with Electoral Act very soon.