|Monday, September 3, 2018|
Washington, DC, USA
"The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
hief Segun Oni contested the APC Governorship primary election in Ekiti State on May 12, 2018 with other 32 aspirants. He came second to Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, the then Minister of Mines and Steel Development. He worked for the success of the party and its candidate at the July 14 governorship election in the state. He refused all entreaties to decamp to another party to contest the July 14 election. Segun Oni is not a desperate and disloyal politician; he is integrity personified.
Then suddenly, after the primary election, there were rumors and suspicions that Dr. Kayode Fayemi, did not resign his appointment as the Federal Minister of Mines and Steel Development thirty days preceding the May 12, 2018 Ekiti APC primary election. This was contrary to the stipulations of the "2014 APC Guidelines for Nominating Candidates for Public Elections" for the members of the party.
The above were fueled by the Channelstv.com, which reported on May 13, 2018: "APC Primary: Buhari Congratulates Fayemi, Seeks Stronger Ekiti APC." It was fully reported that: "President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on his victory in the governorship primary election of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Ekiti (Emphasis mine). This clearly shown that at the time of the primary election and Dr. Fayemi's victory on May 12, 2018, he was still the Minister of Mines and Steel Development and member of the Federal Executive Council.
No resignation of appointment before contesting any election, as required by party guidelines, may lead to abuse of power and office. And this is the main reason why all prospective aspirants are required to resign their appointments as a Public Officer. It is to ensure that there is a plain and level ground for all aspirants without anyone having undue advantage of using his power or government (Federal or State) might or any other instrumentality or paraphernalia of office over other fellow aspirants or the delegates or voters.
Shortly after this publication, Dr. Fayemi himself granted a live interview on the Channel Television, where he told the listeners that he does not have to resign before the primary election but promised to resign two weeks later. This and many other media reports, confirmed that he probably didn't resign his appointment from the Federal Public Service, as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at least 30 days before contesting the Primary election, as earlier rumored or speculated.
By mere diligent observation of events and news reports, Dr. Kayode Fayemi was alleged to have gone back to work after winning the Primary election of his party and even attended meetings of the Federal Executive Council. He eventually resigned his appointment on May 30, 2018 in a well-publicized valedictory Federal Executive meeting. This was about 45 days after which, he should have resigned!
The APC 2014 Guidelines for the Nomination of Candidates for Public Office, derives its existence and power from the Constitution of the Party, the Electoral Act and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. These provide holistic legitimacy for all the democratic and constitutional processes of party nominations for elections. And the party is therefore legally empowered to make guidelines, rules and regulations for the conduct of its own affairs, backed by the force of law. Therefore, this is why after the party nomination of candidates, the Nigerian Constitution, the electoral Act and INEC take over from the party.
The 2014 APC Guidelines set the Minimum Requirements for qualifications for all aspirants from the party to be elected as candidates for general elections. The Guideline "prescribes that any aspirant seeking public office on the platform of the party shall not have;" among other things:
Then, finally provision B under Qualifications on page 3 of the same APC Guideline, unequivocally and unambiguously states:
The above are what convinced the leaders of Segun Oni Team to approach the court, to seek to know if Dr. John Kayode Fayemi complied with or in "violations of any of these Guidelines," which should have attracted "automatic qualification" as prescribed by the Party Guidelines." This, also should have been implemented by the National Working Committee of the APC then. Then, if the above are true, the billion Naira question will be, why the APC failed to comply with or obey its own Guidelines. Could this be an act of commission or omission?
What Chief Segun Oni wants and why they went to court is to have legal interpretation and therefore understanding of the APC 2014 Guidelines. There exists now, a clear dispute in the understanding of the extant laws, rules and regulations that guided the APC Primary election of May 12, 2018. The only arm of Government legally, constitutionally and universally recognized to adjudicate and settle such disputes under the Rule of Law and expand the growth and development of Democracy is the Judiciary. The judiciary is the free umpire for this great task and its decisions will always provide added values to the Nigerian jurisprudence.
To those asking, "What does Chief Segun Oni wants again?" The answer is now simple enough. Rather than living or dwelling on rumors, suspicions and innuendoes, he and his Team, want to know if it is true that Dr. John Kayode Fayemi did not resign his appointment as the Minister of Mines and Steel Development before contesting the May 12, 2018 APC Primary elections in Ekiti State, of which Segun Oni was a participant. This, if it's true, may be contrary to the provisions of the APC Guidelines for the conduct of the last APC primary election. This will not be a good augury but an antithesis to our party's internal democracy.
Segun Oni and his team further believe that going to court will further expand and enrich rule of law, internal democracy of the APC and other political parties in Nigeria. They want to reinforce the integrity of the electoral system from the primary elections to the general elections. Segun Oni wants to encourage the APC and other political parties not just to make guidelines, rules and regulations but to ensure compliance with their own extant laws that would make their elections free, fair and acceptable to all, and especially the losers and observers.
WHY BEGGING SEGUN ONI NOW?
There have been reports of many including Ekiti State APC Elders' Forum, individuals and fake Diaspora organizations begging, threating or blackmailing Chief Segun Oni to withdraw his case from the Federal High Court, Abuja. I have however not read or heard any one overwhelmingly convincing reason for supporting any of these line of actions or what Segun Oni Team has legally or politically done any wrong for going to court. Can anyone aver that Chief Segun Oni cannot sue or be sued or whether he doesn't have a right to fair hearing in court?
I am not surprised to see a well-coordinated multiple news media (about 10) coverage of the communique of the Ekiti State APC Elders' Forum begging Chief Segun Oni to withdraw his case from the court. Why this sudden conclusion and why the avalanche of media coverage. I am not unaware of where some members of this Forum pitched their political tents. As our respected elders, am not sure that is what our tradition expects from them. I say this with all due respect. Impeccable information at my disposal reveals that the Forum contacted Segun Oni to withdraw the case. Segun Oni however told them that he could not unilaterally do that, especially when going to court was collectively decided by his followers in all the 177 wards of Ekiti Ekiti. He however suggested the Forum should speak with the leaders of his group, which they agreed to do.
Subsequently, Segun Oni Team Leaders met with the Elders at their Igbaraodo headquarters where they were informed of the nitty-gritty of the case and especially why they went to court. The Elders expressed understanding and promised to contact Dr. Kayode Fayemi and later get back to the Segun Oni Team for a possible tripartite group meeting. This was exactly July 31, 2018. But before going to the Press, our Elders, never gave Segun Oni and his group any feedback again.
From the communique released to the press by the APC Ekiti Elders' Forum certain very germane questions beg for answers with due respect. Did the Forum get a response from the memo you sent to Dr. Kayode Fayemi? Or get back to Segun Oni Team as promised when they met the Forum? I can also say that since July 31, 2018 when the Segun Oni Team met at Igbaraodo, neither the Forum nor Dr. Fayemi Team, ever met or talked to Segun Oni and his Team. What is the purpose of going to the press when mediation is only halfway and when the Forum only heard only the side of Segun Oni Team? Did the mediation paradigm broke down or changed after hearing Segun Oni Team leading to a one-sided conclusion? Then, what is the incentive for withdrawing the case from the court and the "inclusion in the scheme of things in the forthcoming administration in Ekiti State?" Is it to call a dog a bad name to hang it? It is our elders that say: "OJU TO BA TI RO NI RORE NSO." Only a soft face is invaded by the pimple. Yes, Chief Segun Oni is an unashamed Omoluabi and a gentleman par excellence.
In developed politics and nations, one of the ways and means of expanding Democracy are the decided cases of the courts and especially the highest court in the land, like the Supreme Court in Nigeria and the United States of America. The court is so powerful that if it says a man is a woman, we will have no choice than to see and call him a woman until the court reversed itself. This is why the Judiciary must be free and fair; must be respected and feared in the land. This is why the smallest and the biggest, the poorest and richest, the powerless and most powerful in our land are, and must be seen to be equal before the blind eyes law.
I learned growing up long ago that clear conscience fears no accusation. This, should still remain the norms and mores guiding our beings and even our humanity. We should be nursed and nurtured to accept the decisions of the judiciary, good or bad for us. This, when in place and well seated in our hearts, will guide us against doing wrong but always doing right as rewards might come soonest than we can ever imagine or expect.
It is no longer true that people don't come back from the court and become friends again. Nelson Mandela and F. W. de Klerk of South Africa in 1990, Chief Segun Oni and Dr. John Kayode Fayemi here in Ekiti in 2014 have broken that bad belle calabash.