The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Thursday named Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State.
The commission also named Alabi Ebenezer Omotayo as his running mate, the action which sent the camp of the factional National Chairman of the party, Senator Modu Sheriff, into wild jubilation.
With this announcement, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), the choice of another faction of the party under the leadership of Senator Ahmed Makarfi has ceased from being the official candidate of the PDP.
Until the commission released the final list of all the candidates that would contest the election, on Thursday evening, the name of Jegede was put on its website as the candidate of the PDP.
In a letter conveying the list signed by the Secretary to the Commission, Augusta Ogakwu, sent to the Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Segun Agbaje, the commission described the list as final.
The emergence of Ibrahim came on the heels of a ruling by a Federal High Court in Abuja, which rejected a move by Jegede to appeal against the recognition of Ibrahim as the candidate of the PDP.
Specifically, Justice Okon Abang, on Thursday, dismissed the application by Jegede on the grounds that he lacked the locus standi to file it.
Jegede had by his application sought the leave of the court to appeal against the judgment directing INEC to recognise Ibrahim as the party’s candidate.
The October 14, 2016, judgment of the court which Jegede sought to appeal was for the enforcement of an earlier verdict of the same court delivered on June 29, 2016, and which directed INEC to only accept the list of PDP candidate submitted by the Biyi Poroye-led executive in the state.
But in his ruling on Thursday Justice Abang held that the application lacked merit, stressing that Jegede was not mentioned in the substantive matter and, as such, he lacked the locus standi to seek leave to appeal the judgment.
The judge ruled, “He (Jegede) 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.
“There is nothing from the records of the court leading to the judgment of June 29, showing that the applicant has interest in the matter.”
But a High Court sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, earlier in the day restrained INEC from removing the name of Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) as the candidate of the PDP for the November 26, 2016, governorship election.
Justice William Olamide gave the ruling on Thursday based on an ex-parte motion brought before the court by the Clement Faboyede-led PDP faction in the state.
An Abuja High Court had on October 15 ordered the electoral commission to remove Jegede’s name for the name of Ibrahim.
In his ruling, Justice Olamide said that it would be out of order for INEC to replace Jegede’s name, pending the determination of the motion on notice, saying doing such would contravene the principles of equity, justice and fairness.
Meanwhile, the Ahmed Makarfi’s faction has condemned INEC’s declaration of Ibrahim as the candidate of the party.
The Publicity Secretary of the faction, Banji Okunomo, said the commission was biased in the pronouncement despite the court order restraining it from declaring Ibrahim as the candidate.
He said, “That is INEC ‘s candidate and not PDP’s candidate and it is unfortunate that the INEC that is supposed to be an unbiased electoral umpire has allowed itself to be used by those whose intention is to truncate the nascent democracy we have in this country.”
Immediately after the name of Ibrahim was announced by INEC, Sheriff and his camp described the action of the commission as a victory for the rule of law.
Sheriff said that he would expect Jegede to work with Ibrahim to win the election, adding that both of them belonged to the same political party.
News coming from Ondo this morning has it that riots have broken out in Akure as a result of this Political impasse, what would you prescribe as a solution to this madness?