Justice Hobon Adamu of the Federal High Court, Ado Ekiti, on Thursday turned down the request of former Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, for deferment of his case against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to a date in July, after the governorship election in Ekiti State might have been concluded.
Fayose, who was recently elected the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, appeared in court at the resumed hearing of the alleged fraud of over N736m in the Integrated Poultry Project he initiated when he served as governor.
Counsel to the former governor, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN) had prayed the court to adjourn the case to July but counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, raised an objection.
Raji had told the court that his client needed time to campaign for the June 21 governorship election but the EFCC counsel said that Fayose’s case needed accelerated hearing so that he could go into the election with a clean bill of health if the charges against him were dismissed.
Fayose’s counsel said that an attempt to stampede his client in the ongoing case when he should be on the field campaigning would be pre-judicial.
Raji said, “ All we are pleading for is to enable him have time for his campaign. My client has taken a new status. And as we all know, campaign is not an easy thing and it is time consuming. There will be a lot of pre-election activities, including screening officially and unofficially and by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
“My Lord, we shall be pleading that we come back on the first week in July so that the accused person will give the maximum attention to the call by the people of Ekiti state.”
But Jacob said, “ It is in the interest of the accused, My Lord, to know his fate before the election. It is in his interest that the matter be heard so that his character can be cleared before he faces the electorate.
“We want the court to take its jurisdiction on the case; immediately after the election and if elected, the court will not have jurisdiction again on the case. My Lord, don’t allow my learned friend’s plea by adjourning till July.”
However, both lawyers eventually agreed on May 6 as the next adjourned date for the continuation of the case.
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