Appeal Court Re-Instates Jegede AS PDP Candidate In Ondo

File: Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State and Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State congratulatibg Jegede after he won the governorship priary organised by the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the PDP
File: Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State and Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State congratulating Eyitayo Jegede after he won the governorship primary organised by the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the PDP

The court of appeal has ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to reinstate Eyitayo Jegede as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the Ondo State governorship election holding on Saturday, November, 26.

The three-man panel of appeal court judges led by Ibrahim Salauwa, struck out all the objections filed by the defendant Biyi Poroye and the Ali Modu-Sheriff faction of the PDP.

Delivering the judgement on Wednesday, Justice Salauwa explained that Poroye and the Modu-Sheriff-led PDP faction had tried to blackmail the panel to no avail.

The appeal court panel unanimously struck out all the objections against Jegede’s appeal, describing them as lacking in substance.

It also set aside the ruling of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which ordered INEC to substitute Jegede’s name with that of Ibrahim.

“Having resolved each of the seven issues in favor of Jegede, what else should the court do? So the appeal is most meritorious and it is thereby allowed.

“Justice Abang’s judgment is set aside and N50, 000 cost awarded for appellant and the other respondents,” Justice Salauwa ruled.

A lingering leadership tussle in the PDP between Modu-Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi had led to the former Borno State governor filing a suit before Justice Okon Abang of the federal high court, Abuja.

Delivering judgement on the case, Justice Abang held that Modu-Sheriff was the authentic chairman of the PDP, directing INEC to deal with Ibrahim as the authentic candidate of the PDP in the Ondo governorship election.

Before then, INEC had already recognized Jegede as the PDP candidate, having monitored the primary election from which he emerged the Party’s flag-bearer. But in obedience to the court ruling, Jegede’s name was removed and Ibrahim was added to the list of candidates that was eventually published by INEC.

Jegede, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, then approached Justice Abang seeking permission to appeal the judgement, but the application was rejected as the high court judge held that Jegede had no locus standi to appeal the judgement as he was not part of the primary from which Ibrahim emerged.

The Makarfi-led PDP faction, then headed for the appeal court to set aside the ruling of the federal high court, however, Biyi Poroye, chairman of the Modu-Sheriff PDP faction in Ondo state, accused the appeal court panel of bias, claiming that chairman of the appeal is an associate of the incumbent Ondo State governor, Olusegun Mimiko; the panel consequently withdrew from the case.

President of the court of Appeal, Zainab Bulkachuwa, then constituted a fresh three-man panel to hear the appeals, but again, Poroye protested the formation of the panel.



    When the panel led by Justice Salauwa insisted on hearing the panel, Poroye’s counsel, Ben Nwofor, filed an injunction at the Supreme Court against the appeal court Panel.

    This development led the Salauwa panel to adjourn judgement on the case indefinitely pending the determination of the injunction filed at the apex court.

    On Tuesday, the Supreme Court struck out Poroye’s injuction and awarded the sum of N250,000 to Jegede. The apex court also ordered Nwofor to pay the sum of N1 million each to the three members of the appeal court panel, for trying to bring the appellate court to disrepute.

    Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, who delivered the ruling also directed the appeal court to as a matter of urgency deliver judgement on the cases before it as the election date was close.

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