Everyone is aware of the ongoing case between former governor Segun Oni and Governor Kayode Fayemi. Segun Oni is challenging Fayemi’s eligibility to contest the APC primary election of May 2018 on the grounds that Fayemi did not resign his position as a minister before the primary contrary to the guidelines of the party as contained in the 2014 Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for Public Office.
The Federal High Court sitting in Ekiti ruled against Oni on the basis that Dr. Fayemi, as a minister appointed by and serving at the pleasure of the president, was not a public officer/servant and was therefore not covered by the provision of the guidelines. The matter has gone to the Appeal Court and it is due for mention soon.
From the general public, there have been various speculations on which way the case would go. There seem to be a consensus that the case will surely get to the Supreme Court. Given that there is another case brought before the elections petitions tribunal by the PDP against Dr. Fayemi and APC, many worry about the extent to which the intra-APC case could affect the PDP vs Fayemi/APC tribunal review of the election. The tribunal has now finished its hearing and has reserved judgement for a day in the future. All that is deemed necessary to the tribunal case has been canvassed, advanced, argued and tendered by all the parties. From what is available, it is clear that the two cases would not likely have any bearing on each other. So, the fear that a victory for Segun Oni might be taken advantage of by PDP is now over.
There is another fear being expressed: the fear of the unknown: of wild speculation. What, if any, could be the likely impact of the outcome of the Oni vs Fayemi case on the forthcoming elections in February and March? Some have expressed the fear that victory by the president and other APC candidates in Ekiti could be threatened if Oni wins the case. The sentiment therefore, albeit narrow, is that APC would be better off in those elections if the status quo is maintained. This may not necessarily be the case. In any event, in this era of fierce anti-corruption crusade, the judiciary is not expected to be swayed or influenced by any such fictional and unfounded sentiment. It, therefore, smacks of cheap propaganda to link the February/March elections to the case that is purely about process integrity. President Muhammadu Buhari has also been very clear and steadfast in his strong faith in the judiciary and its capacity to do what is right and just.
Whichever way the case is determined, the elections look promising for APC. After all, the case was already on before the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti. All parties in APC rallied together to ensure victory for the party. The same occurrence is guaranteed in the forthcoming elections. Internal disagreements within the family fold will not be allowed to impact the collective resolve to prevent the ravenous termites from coming back to destroy the edifice that APC under President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo are skillfully constructing. Continuity of APC in government to consolidate on the anti-corruption effort and the development of real infrastructure is very critical to our national survival.
Nigerians can now give testimony to the improvement in electricity supply far more than was witnessed in the past. At the pace we are going, railway transportation will soon become common place. The heavy-duty, mostly dilapidated and rickety trucks on our highways that are more or less tools for murder will begin to disappear if we diligently continue the ongoing work on railway transportation. Our roads will also be more durable. It took the military and PDP combined total of 30 years to destroy our refineries and the well-articulated, well designed, well-constructed and well-run infrastructure for petroleum products distribution via pipelines and storage depots across Nigeria. They ensured that the trucks came in and bridging became the fad. We have all seen the consequences of this.
It is very obvious that those who are trading in subtle linkage between the Ekiti case and the potential for adverse consequences for APC victory in the forthcoming elections are not in tune with the realities of the people of Ekiti State. It is lazy speculation and an insult to the integrity of the judiciary. The people of Ekiti have lived through a PDP administration in the recent past and they know which of the two parties will provide them the needed succor especially given the personalities involved. Time will tell, and very soon too!
Tunji Odewale wrote in from Lagos