Former Governor of Ekiti State and Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has challenged the competence of the Judicial commission of enquiry set up by Governor Ayodele Fayose to probe his administration, urging an Ado-Ekiti High Court for an injunction to restrain the state government and the Commission from going ahead with the probe.
The Minister, in the suit number HAD/57/2017, is asking the court to restrain the state governor, the state’s attorney-general and members of the judicial commission of enquiry from taking any step, following the pendency of two cases on the planned probe in courts of competent jurisdiction.
Also joined in the suit filed by the Counsel to the Minister, Chief Rafiu O. Balogun, are the Ekiti State House of Assembly and Speaker of the House of Assembly.
Fayemi is also seeking a declaration “that the motion and subsequent resolution of Ekiti State House of Assembly directing the governor (first defendant) to set up a judicial commission of enquiry to investigate or probe his administration are unlawful, illegal and ought to be declared null and void, in view of the fact the resolution was passed during the pendency of a case involving him and the Ekiti State House of Assembly and its speaker, which touched on the legality of the summons and powers of the Assembly to conduct any investigation or direct any other person or body to do so without strict compliance with the tenets of the 1999 constitution”.
He averred that the Ekiti State House of Assembly acted in flagrant contravention of the principle of separation of powers and had committed a fundamental breach of the Standing Order of the House of Assembly and doctrine of subjudice by revisiting the issue of investigation of his administration and passing a resolution for the setting up of a judicial commission of enquiries with terms and reference that would prejudice the outcome of the case between him and the House of Assembly and its speaker.
Fayemi is also seeking a declaration that the House of Assembly cannot exercise its power under Section 128 of the 1999 Constitution, to direct Ekiti State Governor to set up a judicial commission of enquiry to investigate his administration while the House had earlier conducted its investigation and submitted its report to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) urging the anti- graft body to further conduct discreet investigation and prosecute him and some officials of his administration.
Other declarations being sought by Dr Fayemi are: “That the setting up of the panel after the conclusion of its investigation by the House of Assembly to allegations of financial malpractices and the submission of same to the EFCC would amount to oppression, double jeopardy and a clear abuse of legislative power.
“A declaration that the House of Assembly cannot exercise its constitutional right to direct or cause the Governor of Ekiti State to constitute a judicial commission of enquiry to investigate the plaintiff when the conditions precedent for the exercise of such powers, as enshrined in the constitution, have not been fulfilled by the Assembly”.
The Minister is asking the court to declare that the Judicial commission of enquiry set up by Governor Fayose was not properly constituted as the chairman, secretary and other members of the commission cannot be apolitical, neutral or unbiased because of their affinity with the governor of Ekiti state, “which therefore put the independence and impartiality of the panel into serious distrust.”
Additionally, Dr Fayemi is seeking an order of the court nullifying the resolution of the Ekiti State House of Assembly of May 10th directing the governor to constitute the panel of enquiry.
He is also urging the court to grant an order dissolving the commission of enquiry constituted and inaugurated by the Governor, acting on the resolution of the state House of Assembly as well as an award of N500 million as general damages to be paid by the first, third and fourth respondents (i.e.the Governor, Ekiti State House of Assembly and the Speaker of the Assembly) for the embarrassment , odium and public ridicule the purported resolution of the House had caused him.
The former governor, in the supporting affidavit he personally deposed to, said he knew that the resolution of the House summoning him to appear before it and subsequent resolution of the House to issue a bench warrant of arrest against him were done in bad faith. “It was a calculated attempt to embarrass me and undermine the effect of my libel suit pending before the Federal Capital territory High Court in Abuja.”
Fayemi said that he was convinced that the chairman of the commission, the secretary and all other members of the commission are cronies and stooges of Governor Fayose and have been appointed to act a script already prepared by their appointing authority, as touted by Mr Lere Olayinka and Dr Samuel Omotosho before the constitution of the commission of enquiry.
“There is no way justice can be done with the crop of personalities in the Commission of Enquiry and the right to fair hearing cannot be guaranteed in the way and manner the commission was constituted”, he added.
“I have a reason to believe that the Chairman of the Commission, a retired judge has an axe to grind with me on account of not acceding to his ambition to be appointed as Chief Judge of Ekiti State during my tenure as governor. This is in addition to his clear partisanship and overt support for the Peoples Democratic Party ( PDP).
“I know that the secretary to the commission is the incumbent Director of Public Prosecution, Ekiti State. He was appointed and elevated to that position by Governor Fayose. The Counsel to the Commission, Mr S.B.J Bamise is also a state counsel, who no doubt, cannot be fair nor be trusted to be unbiased. He is under the control of Attorney General, Ekiti State.
“Mr Vincent Omodara, a former Director of Finance and Administration (DFA) was appointed as Executive Secretary by the Governor, an office that is unknown to the civil service, because of personal relationship and to make him readily available for such hatchet jobs like this purported commission of enquiry.
“I know that Chief Magistrate Idowu Ayenimo is not different from the Chairman of the commission. Most of the criminal cases involving APC members that were fabricated and conjured are being filed in his court and has denied APC members bail even in instances where he ought to exercise his discretion in favour of the accused persons when they were arraigned on trump up charges.
“Blessing Oladele defected from APC to PDP, so he is willing to be used to achieve their political vendetta, to settle scores with me and taint my good record and impeccable character for no just reason.
“I strongly believe that the sanctity of the judiciary as the last hope of the common man ought to be guarded jealously and this will be achieved only if the purported commission of enquiry, constituted when there are pending cases related to the matters, is dissolved by the order of this honourable court in the interest of rule of law and strict adherence to the age long principle of separation of powers.”, Fayemi added.