THE Supreme Court will today resume hearing in the case between the former All Progressives Congress (APC) Deputy Chairman (Southwest), Chief Segun Oni and Ekiti State Governor Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
The panel hearing the case comprises Justices Musa Dattijo (presiding), Aba Aaji, Amina Adamu-Augie, Kumai Akaahs and John Okoro.
The apex court is expected to resolve the issue of who is a public officer in the suit in which Oni is challenging Fayemi’s eligibility to contest the Ekiti governorship election on July 14, last year, on APC’s platform.
Justice U.N. Agomo of the Federal High Court in Ado-Ekiti held that Fayemi was eligible to contest the election because as a minister (as he then was) he could not be described as a public officer as contemplated under Section 318 of the 1999 Constitution
Last February 12, the Court of Appeal sitting in Ado-Ekiti upheld the verdict, saying: “It is clear from the foregoing the first respondent (Fayemi) as Minister of Mines and Steel, even though in the Public Service of the Federation, was not an employee in the Public Service. Therefore, Article 2 of the guidelines does not apply to him.”
In his appeal before the Supreme Court, Oni is contending that the appeal court erred in its verdict.
He noted that “the main task in this appeal is the application of mischief rule of interpretation in resolving the proprietary of a public officer like a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or any other public officer contesting a party primary or general election while still retaining his public office and thereby using all the advantages of that office to advance a political course to the disadvantage of every other co-contestant, who is not a public officer”.
The brief added: “The appellant, who was the claimant at the trial court and the appellant in this appeal at the lower court contested alongside 31 others, including the first respondent (Fayemi), the governorship primary election of the second respondent’s party (APC). The said primary election to nominate the candidate of the second respondent was held on May 12, 2018, for the Ekiti State gubernatorial election, which was subsequently held on the July 14, 2018.
“The said primary election was conducted in compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended and was expected to be conducted strictly in line and in accordance with the second respondent’s Constitution.”