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Ondo 2016 Election: Jegede is Now PDP Candidate, Says INEC

In a judgment lasting three tension-soaked hours, the Appeal Court, Abuja, resolved the controversy surrounding the governorship ticket of the Ondo Peoples Democratic Party in favour of Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, sending the PDP supporters in the 40-year-old state into wild jubilation.
The judgment delivered on Wednesday by the Justice Ibrahim Saulawa-led three-member panel lifted the pall of uncertainty hanging over the governorship ticket that had pitted business mogul, Jimoh Ibrahim, against a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Eyitayo Jegede.
In the landmark judgment, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court in Abuja by which the Independent National Electoral Commission had declared Ibrahim the PDP’s governorship candidate for the November 26 election in Ondo State. The three-man panel of the appeal court in a unanimous judgment, upheld the appeal by Jegede, who was earlier dropped by INEC and replaced with Ibrahim, as the governorship candidate of the party.
In a separate judgment delivered by the panel, the appeal court also upheld the appeal by a factional chairman of the party, Ahmed Makarfi, and the secretary of the faction, Ben Obi, against the judgment of the Federal High Court, recognising Biyi Poroye and eight others as state executive members of the party in their various states.
All the three Justices on the panel, Justice Saulawa, Justice George Mbaba and Ignatius Agube, agreed on the decisions reached on the two judgments.
Poroye and others who are backing Ibrahim as the governorship candidate of the party belong to the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the PDP. Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had on June 29, 2016, delivered a judgment recognising Poroye and others as the authentic state executive members of the PDP in their various states.
Subsequently, the judge, in a post-judgment ruling delivered on October 14, 2016, ordered INEC to drop Jegede and substitute him with Ibrahim as the governorship candidate of the PDP in the election slated for Saturday.
Justice Saulawa, in setting aside the two decisions on Wednesday, described them as “highly misplaced and most fraudulent”.
He resolved all the seven issues formulated for determination in favour of Jegede, describing the failure of the judge to grant fair hearing to Jegede, who was not a party to the suit before the Federal High Court, as “violent attitudinal disposition to rule of law.”
He said the judge committed a “grave error by violating the principles of natural justice” which he said required all parties that could be affected by an order of court to be heard before judgment was delivered.
Another member of the panel, Justice George Mbaba, who read the lead judgment on Makarfi’s appeal, also described Justice Abang’s judgment, as a “charade and fraud”.
Justice Mbaba ruled, “The entire proceedings leading to the judgment delivered on June 29, 2016, were, in my view, a fraud and it was intended to defraud the appellants. It appeared to be arranged by the same people who paraded as the plaintiffs and the defendants.
“The first to ninth respondents (Poroye and others) did not have a proper course of action.”
He noted that Justice Abang was “a willing party to achieve an ignoble goal”.
The appeal court held that Justice Abang acted without jurisdiction when he made orders against those that were not parties before him.
The panel also faulted the order granted in favour of Ibrahim on the grounds that the governorship candidate of the Sheriff faction was never a party to the suit and the prayer asking that he be recognised as the governorship candidate was not sought by the plaintiffs.

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