The Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed Ayodele Fayose as the duly
elected governor of Ekiti State in the June 21, 2014 election.
‎In a unanimous decision by the seven-man panel led by Justice John
Fabiyi, the apex court upheld the earlier decisions of the Court of
Appeal and the Ekiti State Governorship Election Tribunal, which had
both earlier ruled that the petition challenging Fayose’s victory
lacked merit.
In the lead judgment delivered by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, the apex
court dismissed all the grounds of appeal filed by the petitioner –
the All Progressives Congress (APC)  – and resolved all four issues
arising from the appeal against the party.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared that
Fayose of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled 203,090 votes to
defeat the then incumbent governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, of the All
Progressives Congress who polled 120,433 votes‎ in the election.
Dissatisfied by the results declared by the INEC, the APC had filed a
petition, urging the Ekiti State Governorship Election Petition
Tribunal which sat in Abuja to nullify the election.
The petitioner had anchored its case on the grounds of alleged
irregularities, intimidation of its leaders by the military,
ineligibility of Fayose to stand for the election and allegation that
the PDP candidate forged his Higher National Diploma certificate
presented to INEC.
The Justice Siraju-Mohammed-led tribunal had, in its verdict delivered
on December 19, 2014, ‎dismissed the petition for lacking merit.
The Justice Abdul Aboki-led five-man panel on April 15, 2015 affirmed
the decision of the tribunal.
But the APC further appealed to the Supreme having been dissatisfied
with the Court of Appeal’s decision.
The Supreme Court, in its judgment on Tuesday, held that none of the
grounds of appeal was proved by the appellant‎.
It held that while impeachment was not a ground of disqualification
‎from contesting as governor under section 182 of Nigeria’s
constitution, the panel which recommended Fayose for impeachment on
October 16, 2006, was illegally and unconstitutionally constituted.
It also held that the allegation of certificate forgery had been
caught by the principle of “issue estoppel” as it had been laid to
rest since 2004 by the Court of Appeal’s judgment‎ in the case of
Alliance for Democracy.
According to the apex court, the Court of Appeal had, in the said
judgment, held that the HND certificate was genuinely earned by and
awarded to Fayose.
On the issue of militarisation and harassment of leaders of the APC,
the Supreme Court held that the Chief of Defence Staff and the
Inspector-General of Police, joined as 4th and 5th defendants in the
case were not necessary parties.
The apex court held that ‎the actions of the men and officers of the
two defendants that allegedly harassed the APC leaders during the
election and whose names were not mentioned could also not be
answerable for by the INEC as stipulated by the Electoral Act.