Fayose to challenge eligibility suit at Appeal Court

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The Ekiti State Governor-elect, Ayodele Fayose, has approached the Court of Appeal, Ado-Ekiti, to challenge the powers of the Ekiti State High Court to hear a case challenging his eligibility to contest the June 21 governorship election.

Justice Olusegun Ogunyemi, had on Monday assumed jurisdiction and refused an application to set aside an order abridging the time for Fayose to file his defence in the case filed by members of Ekiti-11, Adeniyi Ajakaiye and Olufemi Ajayi.

In the Notice of Appeal filed on Tuesday at the High Court of Justice, Ado-Ekiti, Fayose through his team of lawyers led by Ahmed Raji (SAN) accused the trial judge of denying him fair hearing.

The respondents are, Ajakaiye, Ajayi, Peoples Democratic Party and the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Fayose also asked the judge to stay further proceedings in the suit pending determination of the interlocutory appeal.

The motion on notice was brought pursuant to Order 39 Rules 1, Order 54 Rule 1 of Ekiti State (Civil Procedure) Rules 2011 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.

Meanwhile, a coalition of Ekiti Youth, okada riders and women groups on Wednesday stormed the court to protest against the ongoing case.

Their spokesperson, Joel Ogunmodede, said the case filed by members of E-11 was a subtle attempt to scuttle the mandate of the Ekiti people given to Fayose and plunge the state into crisis for possible declaration of the state of emergency .

Ogunmodede said, “This protest is going to be a continuous one. We are not going to rest until we see that justice will be done in this case. There was an election and Fayose won in all the 16 local government areas. So, what we are expecting now is Fayose’s being sworn-in as the governor of Ekiti State.”

Fayose stated that the judge erred in law to have assumed that he had become “functus officio” and thus could not set aside a ruling granted ex-parte.

He argued that he had 14 days within which to file and serve a counter-affidavit to the originating summons instead of the three days granted by the lower court against him.

He, therefore, asked the appellate court to set aside the order of the lower court delivered on the June 6, abridging the time within which he was to file and serve a counter-affidavit to the originating summons.

Fayose also contended that Justice Ogunyemi erred in law when he overruled the Preliminary Objection and assumed jurisidiction to hear the case.

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