Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has reacted to the White Paper issued by Governor Ayodele Fayose barring a former governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, from holding public officesin the state.
The White Paper barred the former governor from holding any public office for ten years.
Recall that Fayemi had reacted to the development, describing it as the“joke of the century,” which will not stand.
But reacting, Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in a statement in Lagos said Fayemi will squash the 10-year-ban if he takes the case to court, citing Atiku Abubakar and Nasir El-Rufai as a case study.
He recalled how a ban on Atiku from holding pubic office was disqualified by the Supreme court.
“In the case of Atiku Abubakar v Attorney-General of the Federation, the Supreme Court held that only a court of law has the power to disqualify and ban a Nigerian citizen from holding public office in Nigeria.
“So, the apex court set aside his disqualification from holding public office via a White Paper, which was endorsed by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“A similar ban placed on Malam Nasiru El-Rufai by the House of Representatives was also quashed by the court.
“To that extent, the decision of the Ekiti state government to ban Dr Kayode Fayemi from politics cannot stand the test of constitutional validity. If Dr Fayemi challenges the ban in court, he is likely to have it quashed and set aside.
“However, as a serving minister in an administration that is fighting corruption, Dr Fayemi has a duty to respond to his indictment by the judicial commission of enquiry, which probed the finances of Ekiti state under his watch.
“Alternatively, he may pray the court to annul the report. But he cannot afford to ignore the findings of the panel.
“Since Dr Fayemi chose not to appear before the judicial panel, he has to explain his own side of the story to Ekiti people.
“This is in line with the principle of public accountability enshrined in the Freedom of Information Law and Fiscal Responsibility Law enacted by the Fayemi administration,” the statement read.