Mr Eyitayo Jegede has been declared as the rightful candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Ondo State governorship election for Saturday.
Justice Saulawa of the Appeal Court on Wednesday nullified the proceedings of October 14 in which Justice Okon Abang ruled in favour of Jimoh Ibrahim.
A Federal High Court presided over by Justice Abang, had on June 29 affirmed Sheriff as chairman of the PDP. On the basis of that judgement, Abang declared Ibrahim PDP’s governorship candidate of Ondo State and ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to drop Jegede, the Ahmed Makarfi-led PDP candidate’s name and replace it with Ibrahim.
Senator Ahmed Makarfi and Senator Ben Obi, his faction’s secretary therefore sought leave to appeal the ruling.
After the Court of Appeal on different occasions and reasons decline hearing into the motions, the Supreme Court on Tuesday gave a go ahead order for the Appeal Court to deliver judgement on the matter.
When the Appeal Court sat on the matter Wednesday, Justice Saulawa Said Jegede’s appeal is “most grossly meritorious.”
According to him, replacing Jegede with Ibrahim without hearing Jegede was a breach of fair hearing, adding, that natural justice requires parties are heard before judgment and said that “court below made a grievous error when it replaced Jegede with Ibrahim”.
Justice Saulawa, who resolved the issue in favour of Jegede, therefore nullified the primary that produced ibrahim as an “illegal contraption”.
The jurist also satted that Justice Abang order was “violent attitudinal disposition to rule of law”.
Earlier, a panel member, Justice Mbaba, had said that “proceedings before justice Abang was a ‘charade and fraud'”, and descended heavily on Justice Abang.
According to Mbaba, Justice Abang’s order appears “arranged” and that he “was a willing tool to achieve an ignoble goal.”
Meanwhile, Independent National Electoral Commission says it will obey the judgement of the Court Appeal, and replace Ibrahim’s name with that of Jegede for the Saturday election.
The electoral body however said for this to happen, it has to receive the order of the court before Friday.
Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of the commission, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, reacting to the ruling, stated that INEC would now jettison the earlier Federal High Court judgment by Justice Okon, asking it to use the name of Ibrahim as the PDP candidate.
He however foreclosed any possibility of the commission postponing the exercise.
In his own reaction, to the judgment, former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, who only just left EFCC custody, said on his tweeter handle “Congrats to Eyitayo Jegede, Gov. Mimiko and the PDP in our victory at the Court of Appeal today.Shame on Ali Modu Sheriff and Jimoh Ibrahim.
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