Ondo PDP guber tussle: INEC recognizes Jimoh Ibrahim

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has named Jimoh Ibrahim as candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State.

Nick Dazang, INEC’s Head of Publicity, disclosed this, yesterday night.   Business mogul, Ibrahim is candidate of the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff’s faction of the party.

Meanwhile, conflicting judgments emanated from two coordinate courts, on the eligible candidate for the November governorship election in Ondo.

Justice Okon Abang of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, dismissed the application brought by Mr. Eyitayo Jegede seeking its leave to appeal a ruling which directed INEC to recognise Ibrahim as the PDP candidate in the election, for lack of jurisdiction.  Jegede is candidate of the Senator Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the PDP.

The ruling of the court was to reinforce a judgment delivered on June 29, 2016, which directed INEC to only accept the list of PDP governorship candidates for the elections in Edo and Ondo states from the Sheriff-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.

It was the PDP Chairman and Secretary in Ondo -Prince Biyi Poroye and Ademola A. Genty and their counterparts in Osun and Oyo states who took the application to court.

But, Jegede, who emerged from Makarfi’s faction of the party, appealed Justice Abang’s earlier ruling, “as an interested party.”

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Jegede held that his name had been forwarded to INEC by the party and that the electoral commission had already published his name as the candidate for November governorship election .

In his ruling, Justice Abang said the application lacked merit and consequently, struck it out. The judge held that Jegede was not mentioned in the substantive matter and as such, lacked the locus standi to seek leave to appeal the judgment.

“He also lacked the right to be joined in the main suit and as such, he cannot be joined thereafter or have the right to appeal the judgment. He is not entitled to appeal.

‘It is my view that under section 31 of the Electoral Act, where there is complaint that a candidate’s name was wrongfully submitted to INEC, it is only the political party that can challenge, and not the individual candidate, because, without a political party, a candidate cannot stand for election in Nigeria, since there is no provision in our laws for independent candidacy. Same day, an Akure  High Court restrained  INEC from substituting or replacing  Jegede’s name  on the electoral agency’s list of candidates for the election.

Yesterday’s  ruling was consequent on restraining  INEC from removing Jegede’s name followed a suit filed by  Ondo PDP Chairman,  Clement Faboyede. In his judgement on the case, delivered on Wednesday, October 26,  Justice W. R. Olamide restrained INEC from replacing Jegede’s name  from its list of candidates in the Ondo election and said it would be out of order for INEC to replace or substitute his name.

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