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Ondo Election: Courts Give Conflicting Judgements Over PDP Candidates
The drama that has characterized the leadership tussle in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, especially with regards to the Ondo State governorship election, continued on Thursday as two courts, one in Abuja, the other in Akure, gave conflicting judgements on the issue.
Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, in his ruling, refused the application brought by Eyitayo Jegede, the governorship candidate of the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the PDP, seeking permission to appeal the October 14 judgement of the court.
Abang had declared Jimoh Ibrahim, candidate of the Ali Modu-Sheriff faction of the PDP, as the authentic PDP candidate for the November, 26 election in Ondo state, restating that Sherrif remained the authentic National Chairman of the PDP.
However, in his ruling on Thursday, Abang held that Jegede lacked the locus standi to appeal the decision of the court because the Electoral Act only allows the party and not the candidate to contest the judgement.
He said: “The only case where the applicant would have been considered as having a locus standi to contest the October 14 judgement is if he had taken part in the August 29primaries conducted by Mr. Sheriff’s faction.”
Abang said that the record before him did not show that Jegede was a sponsored candidate of the PDP in Ondo State.
In a separate judgement; Justice Abang struck out an application by the Makarfi-led faction seeking a stay of execution of the October 14 judgement.
He also awarded a fine of N100, 000 in two tranches of N50, 000 against Adeola Adedipe, the lawyer who represented the Makarfi faction on Thursday.
Abang ordered that Adedipe to pay the sum of N50, 000 to each of the two counsels, who represented both the Sheriff and the Makarfi factions in the previous sitting.
He described the appearance of Adedipe as a gross abuse of judicial process, since the counsel was not a party during the court session where the said judgement was given.
Different Ruling In Akure
Meanwhile, an Akure High Court on Thursday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, not to substitute the name of Eyitayo Jegede as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party for the November 26 governorship election.
The Makarfi faction of the PDP had gone to court asking it to stop the moves by the Sheriff faction and its candidate Jimoh Ibrahim to get INEC to list Ibrahim as the authentic PDP flagbearer.
Justice William Olamide ruled that it would be out of order for INEC to replace or substitute Jegede’s name while the motion on notice was still pending. He said such would contravene the principles of “equity, justice and fairness.”
“It is hereby ordered as prayed. The defendant/respondent is hereby restrained either by itself, chairman, commissioners, agents and servants, officers or privies or through any person or persons, howsoever from changing, replacing, removing, substituting or in any manner tampering with the name, Eyitayo Jegede SAN as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the governorship election slated for November 26, 2016pending the determination of motion on notice,” the judge said.
The final list of candidates for the election is expected from INEC before the end of Thursday.