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How courts paved the way for Jimoh Ibrahim’s emergence as INEC-recognised Ondo PDP governorship candidate

By News Express on 28/10/2016

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The decision by the Independent National Electoral Commission to adopt Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 26 November election in Ondo State, is bound to trigger a protracted legal battle between the two factions of the party and their candidates.

Ibrahim is the candidate of the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the party, while Eyitayo Jegede, a protege of the incumbent Governor Olusegun Mimiko, was picked by the Makarfi led-faction.

INEC, quoting the rule of law published Jimoh’s name among the 28 candidates in its final list today.

Ibrahim on 14 October got a court order from Justice Okon Abang that endorsed his nomination as the authentic one, having been picked by the faction led by the disputed chairman of the party. Abang had in other judgements recognised Sheriff as the party leader.

The parties were locked in two-pronged legal tussles today, in Abuja and Akure, to resolve matters.

But rather than resolving issues, the courts further muddled them as they gave conflicting decisions.

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 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.

“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 29 primaries 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.

He also struck out an application by the Makarfi-led faction seeking a stay of execution of the October 14 judgement. He further punished the faction’s lawyer, Adeola Adedipe, with a fine of N100,000.

Abang ordered Adedipe to pay N50, 000 each to 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.

In Akure, the High Court 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. ‎

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, 2016 pending the determination of motion on notice,” the judge said.

However, when INEC today published the list of candidates for the election, Jegede’s name was conspicuously missing, opening the room for another round of post-election legal battles within the Peoples Democratic Party.

•Text courtesy of NAN. Photo shows Jimoh Ibrahim.

Source News Express

Posted 28/10/2016 05:39:35 AM


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