Ondo Poll: Apeal Court Afirms Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), Orders Removal of Jimoh Ibrahim's Name as PDP Candidate - EazyFeeds

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Thursday 24 November 2016

Ondo Poll: Apeal Court Afirms Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), Orders Removal of Jimoh Ibrahim's Name as PDP Candidate

Reprieve came for the Peo­ples’ Democratic Party (PDP) as the Court of Ap­peal (Abuja Division) on Wednes­day affirmed Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) as the authentic candidate of the party for the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State.
The verdict has sealed the bold ambition of businessman, Mr. Ji­moh Ibrahim, of becoming the governor of the state on the tick­et of the PDP.
Jegede had challenged the judgement of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove his name and replace it with that of Jimoh Ibra­him as an interested party.

He got the PDP ticket from the faction of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi, while Jimoh Ibrahim emerged from the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff’s group.
The Makarfi faction was the first to submit the name of its can­didate to INEC, after which the Sheriff group approached Justice Abang to challenge the submission of Jegede’s name.
Delivering its judgment on Jegede’s appeal on Wednesday, the Justice Ibrahim Saulawa-led three-man panel held that it found mer­it in the appeal, and set aside Jus­tice Abang’s ruling of October 14, 2016.
The Appellate Court also rec­ognised the Markafi-led Caretaker Committee as the National Execu­tive of the PDP, having set aside the October 29, 2016 judgment of Jus­tice Abang which declined to rec­ognise them as national officers of the party.
Saulawa also vacated Justice Abang’s judgment which direct­ed the INEC to recognise Jimoh Ibrahim as PDP’s governorship candidate for the election.
Justice Abang had in his judg­ment warned INEC against ac­cepting any candidate nominat­ed by Markafi.
Acting on the strength of the order, INEC removed Jegede’s name from the list of candidates for the governorship election and replaced it with Jimoh Ibrahim.
The Appeal Court panel held that Justice Abang’s refusal to grant fair hearing to Jegede, “rendered the entire proceedings before his court a nullity.”
Justice Saulawu said: “Indeed, it is obvious from the records that the appellant’s name had been duly published as the governorship candidate of the 11th respondent (PDP) for the November 26 Ondo governorship election.
“The lower court was in griev­ous error when it ordered the pub­lication of the name of Jimoh Ibra­him. The decision of the lower court was in total breach of the provision of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, which forbade any court from denying fair hearing to a party likely to be affected by a final decision of the court”, Jus­tice Salauwa held, adding that the action of the lower court violated the legal doctrine of audi altarem partem (hear from the other side).
“The tenets of natural Jus­tice entail that a party ought to be heard prior to determination of a case against them,” he said.
The Appellate Court also noted that Justice Abang ordered INEC to “immediately” recognise Jimoh Ibrahim who was never a party in the suit that culminated to both the June 29 and October 14 judgments.
“The Court below had no ju­risdictional competence to make such order. I have no restriction in the circumstance in resolving the second issue equally in favour of the appellant.”
The court held that Justice Abang “unilaterally” raised is­sues that were not included by the plaintiffs, an action it said amount­ed to “a violent attitudinal disposi­tion to the rule of law.”
Besides, the court held that the primary election that was con­ducted by the state chapter of the PDP loyal to Modu Sheriff, which produced Ibrahim, was a nullity, stressing that the law was very clear on which organ of a party should conduct governorship pri­mary elections.
Prior to delivery of the judge­ment, Justice Saulawa said the panel was at a time, “subjected to a very intimidating treatment by counsel to the 1st to 9th respond­ents.
“Most regrettably, the re­spondents have deemed it expe­dient to shoot themselves in the foot. Instead of adhering to the wise counsel of the court to file brief within the time limit, even the extra day that was granted to them, they refused to do so.
“The consequences of the re­spondents’ failure to file their brief by virtue of Order 18 of the Court of Appeal Rules is very obvious and we have made it clear in our judgment”, he said, noting that instead of filing their brief of ar­gument, the respondents insisted that the appellate court had lost its jurisdiction to entertain Jegede’s suit by virtue of the appeal they lodged at the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Governor Oluse­gun Mimiko of Ondo State has called on INEC to shift the Satur­day poll in order to improve the electoral fortunes of the PDP in the election.
Reacting to the judgement of the appellate court, Mimiko laud­ed the judiciary for its noble role in the tussle.
Former Minister of Aviation and a PDP chieftain, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode said that “it was a shame on Sheriff, Jimoh Ibrahim and their Justice Abang”.
Fani-Kayode in a statement he issued in Abuja described Ibra­him, Sheriff and their faction as “spoilers.”

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