Buhari approves JKF's leave ... As group petitions his eligibility

Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a leave request from the minister of mines and steel development

Kayode Fayemi's leave was approved to enable him particpate in the forthcoming Ekiti gubernatorial election

The minister's special assistant said Fayemi's leave will commence on Monday, April 30

A leave application made by the minister of mines and steel development, Kayode Fayemi, has been approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Daily Independent reports that Fayemi's leave request was granted to enable him participate actively in the governorship election in Ekiti state scheduled to hold in July.

The special assistant to Fayemi on media, Yinka Oyebode on Sunday, April 22, said the minister's leave will commence on Monday, April 30.

Oyebode said the information became imperative in order to educate certain individuals calling for Fayemi’s disqualification over non-resignation from his present position as a minister before joining the Ekiti gubernatorial race.

He said: “They are ignorant of the workings of the party and the laws of the land. You can’t sit down in your house and determine who is going to be disqualified. The party has a machinery to look at every case on its merit and that is why you have the screening committee.

“There is due process in nomination and screening before you even get to the primary. There is no law in the land that says that a serving minister should vacate his seat before the primary. What the law says is 30 days before the election. As a matter of fact, the honourable minister has been granted leave. He applied for leave and it will commence upper Monday.

“Talking about the white paper, everybody knows that you can’t build something on nothing. The minister had earlier challenged the composition of that panel. The case is in court and that is why he did not appear before the panel. The white paper will not stand. It is only a court of competent jurisdiction that can recommend disqualification of Fayemi.

“It is only when the court says that that the party and INEC take a cue from it. An individual or a sitting governor cannot disqualify anybody. That is why the law has put it that white paper alone can’t disqualify anybody. It is only a court of competent jurisdiction that can do that. The group is poorly educated about the working of the party and the constitution," he concluded.

The minister said his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) will ensure that the out-going governor is locked up over alleged corrupt practices.

Fayemi also said he joined the gubernatorial race in the state because he had some unfinished businesses to take care of in Ekiti state.

Meanwhile, Barely two weeks to the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship primary slated for May 5, a group known as, Concerned APC Members, has called on the party top hierarchy to disqualify former Governor Kayode Fayemi, over alleged indictment by the state government and refusal to resign as a minister.

The group maintained that the party stands the risk of implosion if allegation that the minister has bought Chief John Odigie-Oyegun –led National Working Committee over to spare him despite not resigning and being indicted for alleged financial profligacy by a judicial panel.

Fayemi and 29 others have procured nomination forms to contest the May 5 gubernatorial primary of the APC in Ekiti State.

The group warned the governor of Ondo State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, against meddling in the internal affairs of APC in Ekiti, saying the party is ready to resist all his alleged plot to impose Fayemi via subterfuge in the primary.

Meanwhile, Fayemi had while declaring in Ado Ekiti recently, said his detractors were only chasing shadows by relying on ‘frivolous’ indictment by the outcome of the Justice Silas Oyewole judicial panel set up by Governor Ayodele Fayose.

Boasting that he was neither rattled nor wavered by the indictment and recommendation that he should not hold political positions for 10 years, Fayemi described the panel’s white paper as not worth more than a “tissue paper”.

He said the Supreme court had adjudicated over several matters that only the court of law can bar anyone from contesting election, saying: “They said Governor Fayose has indicted me in his white paper. This is just a mere tissue paper. But I have a red card for him in July 14 election”, he stated.

Speaking in Ado Ekiti yesterday, the group’s Coordinator, Mr. Ife Olu-Olubusuyi, said: “We are concerned and advise that the APC headquarters must adhere strictly to its own rules and disqualifies whoever has not met the minimum conditions for governorship as indicated by the constitution and guidelines.

“It is by doing this that we can have a credible candidate and proceeds to win the general election. Prior to his formal declaration on April 14, the minister had been boasting and spreading news that presidency and NWC had picked him and will impose him as the candidate of the APC.

“Even after our National Chairman, Chief Oyegun visited Ekiti and denied any such plan of imposition and promised a free, fair and credible primary, the minister and his men continued to inform and spread news of his impending imposition by the presidency and powers that be, spearheaded by Ondo State governor.

“We are also aware of the guidelines of the APC for qualification as an aspirant for governorship and there was a specific question as to whether someone has been indicted at home or abroad by a judicial panel or awaiting any criminal court charges.

“We are also conscious of the specification regarding 30 days minimum condition for resignation from office before any election, which Fayemi has not met.

“The governor argues that there were legal arguments that allow him to contest irrespective of infractions. If that is done, then the party would have inadvertently confirmed the assertion that they really have anointed candidate imposed by presidency on Ekiti State”, he said.

The group said it will challenge Fayemi’s candidacy in court, if he eventually emerged as the flagbearer in spite of these open alleged constitutional breaches.

Fayemi, who descended heavily on his detractors, said: “I am already in court challenging this charade they called indictment and there are so many court judgement I can recall to support my being in government up to now with resigning”.

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