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Oni ready to face trial over N3b alleged bribe
Source: The Nation ekiti.com News Section:  Ekiti Date: Friday, May 14, 2010

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By Odunayo Ogunmola

Ekiti State Governor, Mr Segun Oni, has declared his readiness to waive his officail immunity to allow investigation into the alleged bribe-for-judgment saga trailing his victory last week at the Election Petitions Tribunal.

Apparently disturbed by the allegation of N3 billion, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government has called for a review of all election petition cases arising from the 2007 and 2009 polls in the state.

It recommended to the National Judicial Council (NJC), Chief Justice of Nigeria and the President of the Court of Appeal the constitution of a "panel of eminent jurists to review all cases at tribunal and appeal levels arising from the elections, to identify which party has been undeservedly favoured in any of the judgments. "

Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, Mr. Taiwo Olatunbosun, who addressed reporters yesterday in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital, on the alleged bribe said Oni was ready to waive his immunity to ensure unhindered investigation of the matter.

He added that the governor was ready to face prosecution if the Action Congress (AC) and its governorship candidate, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, could swear to an affidavit in support of the alleged bribery scam, which was first reported by an online news agency, saharareporters.com.

Olatunbosun alleged that Fayemi and his party were the brain behind the bribery allegation, expressing dismay that Oni and the PDP have been severely vilified in the media as "recipients of underserved favourable judgments."

The commissioner maintained that Oni is not a custodian of a stolen mandate as being alleged, adding that his election has been affirmed by the tribunal in a split decision of three to two.

He alleged that the criticisms of the judgment was intended to intimidate the Court of Appeal ahead of the impending appeal, emphasising that court judgments must be held sacrosanct.

He addressed the news conference alongside the Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Wale Ojo-Lanre, and the PDP Director of Communications and Strategy, Mr. Jackson Adebayo.

Olatunbosun said: "Engr. Segun Oni is alleged by the Action Congress (AC) to have bribed some judges to the tune of N3 billion. We hereby demand that Dr. Kayode Fayemi should swear to an affidavit to support the allegation.

"Oni has promised, on his honour, that on receipt and authentication of such affidavit, he would waive his immunity to allow unhindered and thorough investigation of the matter and subsequent prosecution, if need be."

But the AC, in a reaction, denied being the sponsor of the Saharareporters’ story, stressing that Fayemi is not the proprietor of the online news agency which broke the bribery allegation.

Accusing the PDP of hypocrisy, the AC described the party as a "shameless gang of artful dodgers", alleging that the ruling party had "written petitions against the Judiciary, which they intend to love."

In a statement by the Director of Communications, Kayode Fayemi Campaign Organisation, Mr. Yemi Adaramodu, the AC accused the PDP of rubbishing the Judiciary by claiming that Oni lost the governorship seat to "red biro" after he was sacked by the Ilorin Court of Appeal on February 17, last year.

The party argued that the AC had always sought refuge in the law courts each time it was robbed of victory by the PDP, saying this confirmed its unshakeable belief in the Judiciary.

AC said: "Let them (PDP) respond directly to Sahara Reporters since Dr. Fayemi is not its proprietor. Their disdain for the Judiciary is shown in the shutting down of Ekiti courts while they wine with the unpaid salaries of Judiciary workers."

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