Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Supreme Court has affirmed the election of Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State after dismissing the appeal filed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its governorship candidate in Ekiti State, Kolapo Olusola-Eleka.
In a unanimous judgement, a five-man panel of the Supreme Court led by the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, held that the appeal challenging the outcome of the poll lacked merit.
Consequently, Justice John Okoro, who read the lead judgment, affirmed the judgments of both the Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal and the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, which had both dismissed the petition challenging the outcome of the July 2018 poll.
Justice Okoro held: “I am satisfied to hold that there is no merit in this appeal. It has to be noted that the two courts had dismissed the appeal.
“This court is, therefore, hesitant to intervene with the concurrent findings of the lower court and the tribunal. The court can only intervene in concurrent judgments if there is clear case of miscarriage of justice. In the instant appeal, there is no such evidence that the findings occasioned a miscarriage of justice,” Justice Okoro held.
The Independent National Electoral Commission had that declared Fayemi and the All Progressives Congress polled a total of 197,459 votes to defeated Olusola-Eleka and the PDP who placed second with 178,121 votes in the July 14, 2018 election.
Dissatisfied with the outcome, PDP and Olusola-Eleka had filed their petition before the Ekiti State Election Petition Tribunal which sat and delivered its judgment in Abuja.
The petitioners alleged among others in their petition that the election was marred by a lot of wrongs including non-compliance with the Electoral Act.
But the tribunal on January 28, 2019, dismissed their petition and affirmed the results declared by INEC.
The petitioners further appealed to the Court of Appeal, raising seven issues against the judgment of the tribunal.
But delivering judgment, Justice Stephen Adah who led the three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, resolved all the seven issues raised against the appellants and in favour of the respondents – Fayemi, INEC and APC.
Justice Adah dismissed the case for lacking in merit, a decision the two other members of the panel – Justices Tinuade Akomolafe-Wilson and Emmanuel Agim, consented to.
In their further appeal to the Supreme Court, the PDP and Olusola-Eleka, urged the apex court through their lawyer, Yusuf Ali, to upturn the lower court’s judgment.