The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Ondo State has declared that Friday’s judgment by an Abuja Federal High Court which ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim as the gubernatorial candidate of the party for the November 26 governorship election in the state could not stand, insisting that Ibrahim is not a member of the PDP.
Thus, the party declared that its gubernatorial standard bearer in the forthcoming election remains the former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), having emerged the winner of the governorship primary election held under the supervision of INEC.
A Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Okon Abang had ruled that Ibrahim who was presented as the PDP gubernatorial candidate by the Ali -Modu Sheriff faction of the party should contest the November 26 governorship election..
But the state factional chairman of the party, Mr. Clement Faboyede, while addressing a press conference in Akure yesterday said the judgment was not binding on the party’s gubernatorial standard bearer Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), as he was not joined in the suit filed by Ibrahim, even as he maintained that Ibrahim is a member of the Accord Party (AP).
He stressed that there was no nexus between the suit filed by Ibrahim and the forthcoming governorship election in the state, adding that Jegede remains the sole gubernatorial standard bearer of the PDP in the state.
Commenting further on the ruling, Faboyede noted that the same counsel, Olagoke Fakunle (SAN) represented one of the defendants and the plaintiffs in the matter, a development which he said was shocking.
He said, “surprisingly and most shockingly, the same Olagoke Fakunle (SAN) who took out the summons appeared for the defendants. In other words, he took out the summons for the plaintiffs on one hand and appeared as counsel for one of the defendants on the other.
“At the time of trial, most shockingly, the defendant’s counsel O.O. Fakunle (SAN) who interestingly took out the writ against the defendants appeared in court and by his submission supported the position of the plaintiffs. In any case this is not surprising, given the fact that he took out the summons.”
“The case was concluded on 29th of June, 2016 and the reliefs that had to do with election referred to, and were tied to the 2019 general elections. There is no nexus between the suit and 2016 Ondo State Governorship election,” he added.
Faboyede noted that the judgment contradicted numerous decisions of the Supreme Court that “it is the National Executive of a political party that has the responsibility to submit names of candidates to INEC.”
The PDP Chairman noted that the court in its ruling did not make any pronouncement in respect of the status of Jegede as the candidate of PDP, adding that the judgment was also silent on the list of candidates published by INEC on the 29th of September, 2016.
“The PDP Governorship Candidate in the state, Mr. Jegede was not a party to any of the processes filed, no order was also made against him. Jimoh Ibrahim referred to in the latest decision was also not a party to the two cases. How then did Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim now become a beneficiary of the decision of his lordship?” he queried.
He maintained that “Jegede remains the lawful and authentic candidate of the PDP to the office of the Governor of Ondo State in the November 2016 Election.”
However, he added that “despite the inherent weakness and obvious ineffectiveness of this judgment against the candidature of Jegede, legal steps have been taken to affirm the validity of his candidature and expose the flaws in the decisions of the court that are targeted
at subverting the will of the PDP and the generality of the people of Ondo State
“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,” he emphasized.
He described the development as “a mere distraction” adding that “the good news is that there is no judgment against Jegede, who remains the governorship candidate of our party in Ondo State.”