An Ado-Ekiti High Court on Tuesday refused an application filed by former Ekiti state governor and current Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi to halt the work of the judicial panel set up to probe his administration.
Fayemi had prayed the court to restrain the state government from probing his four-year tenure pending the hearing of a preliminary objection on the court’s jurisdiction. In his ruling, Justice Lekan Ogunmoye, refused Fayemi’s request for an interim order since the defendants had filed a notice of preliminary objection challenging the competence of the court to hear the substantive suit.
The judge, however, granted Fayemi’s other prayer for an accelerated hearing of the suit before it. He ruled that the substantive suit will now be taken together with the defendant’s preliminary objection on July 31. Defendants in the suit are the governor, Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, state Assembly and chairman and members of the investigation panel. Justice Ogunmoye, who said he had taken judicial notice of all processes before him, said the decision of the court was rooted in law.
The judge held that there was a pending notice of preliminary objection by the defendants in which the competence of the court to hear the substantive matter was being challenged. While citing many authorities to buttress his position, Ogunmoye held that the issue of court’s jurisdiction over any matter was paramount and fundamental to any suit before the court, hence it should be determined so that its adjudication would not be rendered futile.
“I have no power to grant the application for interim injunction before me but justice of the matter demands that it will be given an accelerated hearing. The motion is hereby refused,” he said. He, therefore, adjourned the suit to July 31, for definite hearing. In his reaction, Fayemi’s counsel, Chief Rafiu Balogun, said the court was fair to both parties by refusing the interim injunction and granting his client’s prayer for accelerated hearing of the substantive suit. Also reacting, the defendants’ counsel, Mr Daniel Alumun, said it was right for the court to consider the preliminary objection, saying the claimant cannot stop a statute from running. Vanguard