…As Jimoh Ibrahim returns to Igbotako empty-handed
The Supreme Court has validated the candidacy of Mr. Eyitayo Jegede as the flag bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the Ondo State governorship election holding on Saturday, November 26.
The court’s ruling has thus put paid to Jimoh Ibrahim’s hope of representing the party in the exercise.
This was sequel to the striking out of all the pending interlocutory appeals filed by the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the party.
The acting chief justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, leading four other justices of the court, held that Wednesday’s judgment of the Court of Appeal on the main appeals rendered the interlocutory ones academic.
Onnoghen held that it was against the rules of the court to determine interlocutory appeals and motions when a lower court had decided on the substantive issues.
“To this end, all interlocutory appeals relating to the Ondo State PDP governorship crisis and the leadership tussle of the party at the national level are hereby struck out.
“The contending parties are ordered to go back to the lower court and do the needful.
“That would mean filing notice of appeal on the judgment of the Court of appeal,” he stated.
He informed parties to the appeals on Thursday that the apex court was not ready to hear the cases piecemeal.
The appellants led by Mr. Biyi Poroye, are the state executives of the Sheriff faction of the party in the various states in the South-West zone, are backing Igbotako-born Ibrahim, who was only removed and replaced with Jegede as the party’s governorship candidate in Ondo State by the judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal, Abuja on Wednesday.
The appellants’ lawyer, Mr. Beluolisa Nwofor (SAN), told the apex court on Thursday that he had not been able to file an appeal against the Wednesday’s judgment of the Court of Appeal because copies of the judgment had not been ready.
The Court of Appeal on Wednesday removed Jimoh Ibrahim as candidate of the PDP in Saturday’s election.
Jegede, the candidate of the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the party, was relisted to contest against other leading candidates such as Rotimi Akeredolu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Olusola Oke of the Alliance for Democracy (AD).
Justice Ibrahim Saulaawa, who led two other justices in a unanimous decision, held that the Federal High Court, Abuja, erred in its October 14 ruling which substituted Jegede’s name with that of Ibrahim.
He also held that the court equally erred when it ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove the name of the appellant from its nomination register.
Justice George Mbaba, who delivered the lead judgment on the party’s leadership crisis, described the process that led to the June 29 judgment as a “fraud”.
Mbaba said the trial court breached Section 36(1) of the constitution by denying the Makarfi-led caretaker committee right to fair hearing.