Ondo election: Supreme Court throws out Sheriff’s suit

• Says Appeal Panel stands

The Supreme Court has dismissed applications filed by the Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State. The application sought to stay all proceedings at the Appeal Court concerning the governorship candidate of the party in the state, pending determination by the apex court.

Dismissing the appeal for stay of proceedings yesterday, the Supreme Court urged the Appeal Court panel to continue hearing on the matter.

Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, who presided over the proceedings, dismissed the motion and awarded various costs against the applicants, to be personally made by counsel to the applicant, Beluolisa Nwofor.

In his ruling, after listening to parties in the appeal, Onnoghen began by dismissing the motion seeking to disqualify the recently constituted three-man panel of the Appeal Court.

The Justice held that the dismissal of the motion on stay of proceedings at the lower court had rendered prayers one to three an academic exercise liable to be discountenanced.

Prayers one to three in this circumstance include a request for an order of the court to stay all further proceedings and hearing in the matter pending outcome of the Supreme Court appeal; disqualify the Appeal Court panel from hearing on the matter; and for the court to look into the issue of jurisdiction of the court below to hear the appeal considering there was no valid notice of appeal filed therein.

The Justice also ruled that the applicants had joined the Justices in their personal capacity and described the attempt as an effort to rubbish the Justices.

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“They were not joined as parties at the trial court. The joining of the Justices was an attempt, not only to scandalise the Justices but also to intimidate them, and this should be discouraged.”

He added: “As judicial officers, they are not liable to be subjected to that kind of intimidation. If applicants are allowed to continue like this, there would be no end to it and it will not augur well for the judiciary.”

The Sheriff-led faction of the PDP had approached the Supreme Court seeking an order to stay all proceedings emanating from the Appeal Court panel pending the outcome of its appeal at the Supreme Court.

The appellants in the notice of appeal filed at the Supreme Court on November 11, through their counsel, Nwofor, challenged the decision of the panel that sustained the application filed by Eyitayo Jegede.

They also challenged the decision of the panel in which it refused to disband itself.Jegede, the governorship candidate of the Senator Ahmed Makafi-led faction of the party, had challenged the judgment of the Federal High Court that ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remove his name and replace it with that of Jimoh Ibrahim.

The appellants in the latest notice of appeal prayed an order of the court to stay all further proceedings and further hearing in appeal No. CA/A/551C/2016 between Jegede and Prince Biyi Poroye and 10 others at the Appeal Court.

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