Series of commendations are coming from Governors of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria after the Appeal Court gave a ruling expected to change the course of things in the forthcoming Ondo governorship election.
There have been controversy over the right person that will represent the PDP in the election after two factions in the state produced two different candidates – Eyitayo Jegede (Senator Ahmed Makarfi faction) and Jimoh Ibrahim (Senator Ali Modu Sheriff faction).
After the two candidates emerged at different primaries, the judiciary was approached with suits to determine the right candidate that should be added to the electoral body’s list for the election that will hold in three days’ time, as scheduled by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
A court had earlier ruled that Mr Ibrahim was the right candidate that should represent the party in the election. The ruling made the INEC documented his name as the PDP candidate in the election.
On Wednesday, however, an Appeal Court upturned the earlier ruling, making Mr Jegede the right candidate. The ruling has changed the situation of things, political analysts say.
Triumph Of Good
Showing their solidarity with Mr Jegede, some governors of the party have welcomed the decision of the appellate court.
Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa hailed the ruling which declared Mr Jegede the authentic governorship candidate of the PDP for the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State.
Governor Okowa described the decision of the Court of Appeal panel led by Justice Ibrahim Salauwa, as a triumph of good over political bitterness aided by selfish interests.
Reacting to the unanimous judgment of the appellate court that Jegede was duly nominated as the authentic candidate of the party, Okowa In a statement by his spokesman, Charles Aniagwu, Governor Okowa urged the Sheriff-led faction of the party and its candidate, Jimoh Ibrahim to stop distracting the party and support Jegede to deliver for the party in the Ondo election.
He said: “I commend the Court of Appeal in Abuja for their unanimous judgement which restored Eyitayo Jegede as the candidate of our party. This ruling is very significant because the will of the people, clearly expressed, cannot be thwarted by a clique being propelled by political bitterness and selfish interests they want to promote”.
Call For Postponement Of Election
On his part, the Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Ayodele Fayose, commended the verdict, but pointed out that the time was against its party to be able to make a headway in the poll.
Fayose , who craved for the postponement of the poll, as done by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Edo State governorship election, alleged that the INEC in cahoots with the All Progressives Congress (APC) had succeeded in undermining the strength of the party through this unwarranted judicial impediment.
Governor Fayose said: “The judgement shouldn’t have been otherwise, because you can’t cover the truth. I have said it ab initio that charlatans in the PDP are colluding with INEC and APC to undermine our party.
“INEC has no reason in the first instance to change Jegede’s name. So, this mistake was caused by INEC. It was an INEC making and the best way to for it is for the election to be postponed. This is not the best of time for us in the PDP and the good people of Ondo State. This is not the best time this judgement should have come.
“But we are still looking for Nigeria of our own, I mean Nigeria where there will be fairness and equity. It is regrettable that some charlatans can be colluding with INEC and APC to destroy our party.
“This is very regrettable and unfortunate. But they will still be defeated.
“The commission has no reason not to postpone this election, because what the INEC did was a deliberate action to weaken our party.
“This judgement coming at this time is a major setback for our party, which I believe can only be cured if this election is postponed,” Fayose concluded.
A final verdict has been given by the appeal court, declaring Mr Eyitayo Jegede, as the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP), political candidate for the Ondo governorship election holding on November 26, 2016.
In a lead judgement by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, he confirmed that the lower court erred when it replaced Eyitayo Jegede with Jimoh Ibrahim.
The justice nullified the proceedings of October 14, when Justice Abang ruled in favour of Ibrahim.
He has also nullified the primary election that produced Mr Jimoh Ibrahim, describing it as an “illegal contraption”.
Earlier on in November, the court of appeal in Abuja had reserved judgment in an appeal filed by Eyitayo Jegede, challenging the judgment of the lower court that recognised Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the upcoming election.
The recent development is coming 24 hours after the supreme court, gave the Justice Ibrahim Saulawa-led panel of the court of appeal, the go ahead to deliver its judgment on the tussle between Mr Ibrahim and Mr Jegede (SAN), for the Ondo state governorship candidate of the PDP.
The Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), recently dropped Jegede and published the name of Mr Ibrahim as the PDP candidate, forcing Jegede to head to the court of appeal to retrieve his ticket.
The PDP faction of the Edo State House of Assembly have said that they have appealed to the Supreme Court the Appeal Court judgement against them on Thursday to the effect that they go and answer to the contempt charges against them.
The lawmakers, while briefing newsmen at the PDP Secretariat, said that pending when the Appeal is decided they would continue their sitting at the Assembly Complex which has been under renovation.
The lawmakers decried the court ruling on Friday to the effect that renovation should continue, adding also that the continued blockade of the King Square was necessary for their protection.