October 17, 2016

Jegede, Ibrahim bicker over Abuja ruling

Jegede, Ibrahim bicker over Abuja ruling

Eyitayo Jegede and Jimoh Ibrahim

By by Dayo Johnson
THE nullification of the candidature of Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, by Justice Okon Abang, was received weekend, in Ondo State, with mixed feelings. Meanwhile, Jegede is expected to flag off his campaign, tomorrow,  not minding the court verdict.

While many expressed concern over the development,  others said it was of no effect since the party could still appeal.

Jimoh Ibrahim’s Director Media/Publicity, Yemi Akintomide, in a statement, congratulated the “good people of our Sunshine State for witnessing a victory for democracy. We congratulate our ever vibrant and goal getting candidate, Jimoh Ibrahim, for remaining steadfast and strong willed in defending the people’s mandate freely given to him by over 700 delegates of our party at the primary held September 29, 2016.

Eyitayo Jegede and Jimoh Ibrahim

Eyitayo Jegede and Jimoh Ibrahim

“We salute our Judiciary, the last hope of common man, for enhancing our democracy, and rekindling our hope for better Nigeria through the instrumentality of law by correcting the wrong done by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), where Mr. Eyitayo Jegede was erroneously listed as PDP candidate in place of the rightful person, Jimoh Ibrahim.”

Nothing has changed-PDP

However, the PDP in Ondo State has declared that the Abuja High Court ruling, last Friday, which fueled rumor of a change has nothing to do with Mr Jegede, being the party’s candidate in the coming election.

The state’s Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Banji Okunomo, while faulting the absurdity in the suit, said a counsel, Mr. Olagoke Fakunle, SAN, who took the summon for the plaintiffs also later appeared for the defendants, meaning that he had sued himself.

According to him, this absurdity also played out in the second process of the suit, when two lawyers from the same law firm, TRPLaw, came out, one appearing for the plaintiffs and the other, for the defendants.

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and the leadership of the PDP are defendants in the suit.

Deflating speculation that Lagos businessman, Mr. Ibrahim, had been given the party’s governorship ticket courtesy of the court ruling in Abuja, Okunomo, said the rumour was fuelled by lack of necessary legal interpretation of the ruling that was granted by Justice O.E Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Explaining that neither Jegede nor Jimoh Ibrahim, was party to the suit that has so far yielded two rulings from the same court.

The party’s spokesperson said, nine claimants in the suit filed on June 7, 2016 were seeking some reliefs, which in a nutshell sought to determine the tenure and membership of the state executive committee of the PDP in the South-West Zone and in addition, directions in respect of the party primaries for the 2019 general elections.

Nomination of  candidates

Besides, he said the claimants also sought, inter-alia, a declaration that they were the people entitled to deal with nomination of candidates for the 2019 general elections.

“It should be noted that the Ondo State governorship election scheduled for November 26, was not part of the plaintiffs’ claim and no reference was made to it in the claim”, he said.

He noted that the widespread noise generated by the suit to the effect that his Jegede’s ticket had been given to Ibrahim was grossly misplaced.

According to him, the ruling only derived from a contempt proceeding against the INEC, “wherein the presiding judge directed INEC to receive the nomination papers of Jimoh Ibrahim from the applicants as State Executive of the PDP.”

He said this action by the lower court was at variance with numerous decisions of the Supreme Court that it is only the National Executive of a political party that has the responsibility to submit names of candidates to the INEC.

He noted that the ruling made no pronouncement in respect of the status of Jegede as the candidate of PDP, neither did he make reference to the list of candidates published by INEC, subject of the governorship election.

He added that legal steps have been taken to demonstrate the validity of Jegede’s candidature and as well expose the flaws in the ruling, adding that that the attempt to re-write the judgment by changing the date of 2019 general elections as contained in the earlier judgment of 29th June, 2016 and linking it with the governorship election of 2016, which was never the subject of the earlier suit would certainly be a subject of investigation by the appropriate statutory authorities.”

The PDP chieftain urged the party’s   teeming supporters not to be dismayed at the outcome of the court verdict as it had nothing to do directly with its candidate even as he submitted that Jegede’s his campaigns across communities in the state would continue as scheduled.