Ekiti State Judge Withdraws Ayo Fayose's case Challenging His Eligibility

Ekiti State Governor-elect, Ayo Fayose
A judge of the Ekiti State High Court, Justice
Olusegun Ogunyemi, has withdrawn from the
suit challenging the eligibility of the Governor,
Mr. Ayodele Fayose, to contest in the June 21
election, which he won.
It was learnt that the record of proceedings in
the case had been transmitted to the Court of
Appeal, Ado-Ekiti, for hearing of an appeal filed
by Fayose against the judge assumption of
jurisdiction to hear the case.
The PUNCH gathered on Sunday that Justice
Ogunyemi withdrew from the case filed by
members of the Ekiti-11, Mr. Adeniyi Ajakaiye
and Olufemi Ajayi, citing threat to his life.
It was also learnt that the case billed for hearing
today (Monday) would no longer take place as
lawyers handling the case had been informed by
court officials not to come.
The judge's action followed a motion on notice
filed by the defence team of the governor asking
him to disqualify himself from the case. The
motion was served on the plaintiffs counsel on
Thursday.
Our correspondent learnt that the case file had
been returned to the Chief Judge, Justice Ayodeji
Daramola.
When contacted, the plaintiffs' lawyer, Mr. Rafiu
Balogun, told our correspondent that the case
would no longer come up for hearing today.
He said, "Court officials have told us not to come
again on Monday because the case will not come
up for hearing. He said a fresh hearing notice
would be served on parties at the appropriate
time."
Balogun said he was not aware if Justice
Ogunyemi had withdrawn from the case.
He, however, confirmed that the motion on
notice seeking the disqualification of the judge
from the case had been served on the plaintiffs.
When contacted, Fayose's Special Assistant on
Legal, Mr. Owoseni Ajayi, declined comments.
One of the lawyers to the governor, however,
confirmed that the case would no longer come
up for hearing today.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress in Ekiti
State has advised Justice Daramola not to accede
to the request by the PDP to reassign the case to
another judge.
The state Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun,
said the Chief Judge would have to be firm.
"He should not allow desperate politicians to
hijack the judiciary because the arm is expected
to dispense justice without fear or favour and a
situation whereby one of the parties is allowed to
dictate who to handle the case will erode the
respect for this arm of government.
"We are not against the CJ reassigning the case
based on his own discretionary power, but doing
so because the PDP is making unsubstantiated
allegations would make the judiciary look as if it
is not independent.
"What we want from the CJ is to be firm, resolute
and be ready to defend the constitution not
minding whose ox is gored. He should just do
what he thinks is fair to all the parties and not to
the PDP," he added.
The PDP in a petition signed by the state
Chairman, Chief Idowu Faleye, and sent to
Justice Daramola, had raised the likelihood of bias
against Justice Ogunyemi.
It asked the CJ to reassign the case another
judge.
Faleye claimed in the petition that authoritative
sources informed his party that Ogunyemi was
being compelled by the plaintiffs, the opposition
party in the state (the APC) and their foreign
sponsors to deliver as earlier promised in an
agreement.
He added that the only way out of the problem
was to allow another judge to assume jurisdiction
over the case, so that all parties to the case
could have confidence in the judicious and
judicial determination of the case.
The PDP state chairman maintained that his
party and the governor had lost confidence in
Justice Ogunyemi's continued handling of the
case.
Justice Olusegun Ogunyemi, had on September
22 assumed jurisdiction and refused an
application to set aside an order abridging the
time for Fayose to file his defence in the case.
Dissatisfied, Fayose in a Notice of Appeal filed at
the State High Court, Ado-Ekiti, through his team
of lawyers led by Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN), had
accused the trial judge of denying him fair
hearing.
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.

www.punchng.com/news/judge-alleges-threat-to-life-hands-off-fayoses-suit/

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