BY CHRIS OCHAYI
Erstwhile Governor Segun Oni of Ekiti State has petitioned the Chief Justice of the Federation, CJN, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, asking him to set up a panel with a view to review the judgment of the Appeal Court, which sacked his administration from office last year.
Chief Oni who disclosed this during an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja, said the verdict of the five-man panel of the appellate court led by the President of Appeal Court, Justice Ayo salami, in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, lacked integrity, equity and fairness, hence the judgement must be given a second opinion.
The ex-Governor while apparently reacting to some vexed issues raised by the Appeal Tribunal Chairman, Justice Ayo Salami, regretted that, “on two occasions I got irresponsible judgment and miscarriage of justice from the Appeal Court.
It would be recalled that the Appeal Court led by Justice Ayo Salami, had October 15, 2010 sacked the former Ekiti Governor, Segun Oni, following a long drawn battle between Oni, who is of the People Democratic Party, PDP, and his Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, adversary, Kayode Fayemi.
The appellate court consequently affirmed Kayode Fayemi as the duly elected Governor of Ekiti State after the lower tribunal in a split verdict of three to two, affirmed Fayemi as the duly-elected governor as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, of the 2009 rerun poll.
Oni, however, challenged Justice Ayo Salami to yield to the clarion calls and rise in defend of his integrity to also allow the judgment be given second opinion.
He said, “therefore, what I would like the man (Justice Salami) to have done himself, because if I were a judge and I want my integrity to be intact, I would even be the one to write to the Chief Justice of the Federation, CJN, to say these people are troubling me, they want to rubbish my name, they want to rubbish the reputation I have made over the year, please get other opinions to look at what I have done.
“If I was in error then they should vindicate it and if it is a near error, or a grievous error then the whole nation will know. This is what we think he should be talking about. That even him himself should have called for it because these are abnormal times.
He noted that the reports credited to Justice Salami talking about bribery or being on pay roll does not arise, adding, “He doesn’t need to talk about bribery now. Let us assume that the aspect of it is not the most important. Even as his Oath of office, he will talk about fairness, has he done it well, has he done it right, is he competence and is it of integrity?
“This is what we should be talking about. And the evidence before us and before Nigerians is the judgement he gave. He should limit himself to it. He should talk about the content of that judgement. And he should explain to people why he believes that second will not be necessary for him to clear his name.
“And I will want to advise him to if he may care about his name, he should know this matter will not go away until there is second opinion. I am ready to go to jail if needs be. This matter will not go away until we have second opinion. And I have said this, twice I have been at the Court of Appeal, twice I was given irresponsible judgement. So I am one of the receivers of their cocktail of injustice.
“Some of the lawyers, who are talking, let them also put themselves in my position. The law courts are made for all of us to receive, not for some to be served with injustice and some to be served with more than justice. So what I am saying now is to help them, is to help the system, they are the stakeholders, the primary stakeholders, we are secondary.
“We believe that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done, and we have not seen it and I have not seen it to be done, and that is why I am saying what I am saying. If I am convinced by some people whose integrity I regard more than his own, I will go and apologise for him. I am saying again, publicly as much as possible to him for also misinterpreting what the law said. I am not a lawyer but I have received injustice and I wont be quiet.
“I am not the only one that is asking for a review, I hope you know that. If you look at the page 17 of Guardian on Monday 24, 2011, a group of young people quoted Justice Kayode Eso and Chief Afe Babalola, asking for a review of the same judgement. And they quoted a few others asking for a review, it means there has being a doubt in the minds of eminent Nigerians. It will tell any body that these are not normal time.”