Ondo Poll: Appeals by Jimoh Ibrahim’s faction before us have expired, useless–S’Court

welcome-to-the-new-supreme-court-2By a unanimous verdict, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court on Thursday threw out all interlocutory appeals filed by a faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Ali Modu Sheriff to scuttle the political ambition of Mr Eyitayo Jegede to fly the flag of PDP in the Saturday gubernatorial poll in Ondo State.

The Supreme Court panel headed by the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen held that the appeals had expired, hence dead and lifeless.

Explaining, Justice Onnoghen held that all the interlocutory appeals by Jimoh and Ali Modu Sheriff faction had become academic exercise after the main appeal in the case had been decided by the Court of Appeal on Wednesday.

The apex court however advised the Ali Modu Sheriff to package any grievance they might have in an appeal to challenge the decision of the Court of Appeal in the matter if at all they would want to appeal.

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That was after it struck out all the interlocutory appeals.

By implication, the Supreme Court has further validated the candidacy of Mr. Eyitayo Jegede as the PDP flag bearer in Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State by clearing all hurdles on his way including Jimoh Ibrahim.

Jimoh Ibrahim had vaunted on Wednesday that the end of the political game was yet to be seen.

He was evidently referring to their pending interlocutory applications at the Supreme Court which in his calculation could still be used to throw spanner into the process.

But the apex court rested the matter on Thursday.

According to Justice Onnoghen, he said it was against the rules of the court to determine interlocutory appeals and motions when a lower court had decided on the substantive issues.

“To this end, all interlocutory appeals relating to the Ondo State PDP governorship crisis and the leadership tussle of the party at the national level are hereby struck out.

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“The contending parties are ordered to go back to the lower court and do the needful.

“That would mean filing notice of appeal on the judgment of the Court of appeal,” he stated.

Bar and Bench Watch reports that the Court of Appeal had on Wednesday, vide a judgment, removed Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the PDP in the Saturday’s election and reinstated Eyitayo Jegede as the authentic flag bearer of the party.

Jegede, the candidate of the Makarfi faction of the party, was relisted to contest against other leading candidates such as Rotimi Akeredolu of APC and Olusola Oke of the Alliance for Democracy.

Justice Ibrahim Saulaawa, who led two other justices in a unanimous decision, held that the Federal High Court, Abuja, erred in its October 14 ruling which substituted Jegede’s name with that of Ibrahim.

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He also held that the court equally erred when it ordered INEC to remove the name of the appellant from its nomination register.

Justice George Mbaba, who delivered the lead judgment on the party’s leadership crisis, described the process that led to the June 29 judgment as a “fraud”.

Mbaba said the trial court breached Section 36(1) of the constitution by denying the Ahmed Makarfi Caretaker Committee right to fair hearing.