Governor Ayodele Fayose has said the Federal Government should not use the report of a military panel set up to investigate the June 21, 2014 Ekiti governorship election.
Fayose, who spoke through the Ekiti State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Owoweni Ajayi, on Wednesday, said the verdict of the Supreme Court on the governorship election was superior to that of any tribunal.
Specifically, Fayose said that the report could not be used to prosecute the members of the Ekiti Peoples Democratic Party alleged to have been culpable in the rigging of the election.
In an open letter written by the commissioner to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubakar Malami, Fayose said that plans were afoot by the Federal Government to prosecute Ekiti PDP members over the alleged rigging.
The state government said that the Supreme Court had put the contentious issues arising from the petition by the All Progressives Congress over the election to rest by delivering a judgment in favour of the governor and the PDP.
The letter said, “Although the AGF is vested with prosecutorial powers under Section 174 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), the powers are neither absolute nor unlimited and they must be exercised with due caution and regard for the rule of law.”
It said the propriety or otherwise of the election had been decided from the tribunal level up to the Supreme Court and that any other panel, whether military or otherwise, could not sit over judgment on any matter already decided by the apex court.
According to the governor, the sanctity of the judicial process and respect for the principles of federalism must be adhered to always.
He added, “Unless an alleged criminal act constitutes an offence under a federal enactment, the Attorney General of the Federation will definitely be acting ultra vires by any purported move to prosecute an alleged offender before any state or federal court in Nigeria without a fiat by the Attorney General of the respective state, vested with constitutional jurisdiction to prosecute criminal matters under the state law.
“Although the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) is a federal enactment, which creates several offences triable only in the magistrate or high court of a state in which the offence is committed, prosecution of such offences can only be undertaken by the Independent National Electoral Commission, upon a recommendation made to it by an Election Petition Tribunal for the prosecution of any person or individual disclosed in an election petition or upon findings, after a thorough investigation by the police.”
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