Ondo PDP crisis: Appeal Court reserves ruling as lawyers clash

Makarfi faction rejects Ibrahim as candidate

LEGAL fireworks ensued at the Court of Appeal on Friday as the court commenced hearing on two of the three cases before it which touched on the leadership tussle rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its gubernatorial ticket in Ondo State.

The chairman of the Caretaker committee of the party and its secretary, Senators Ahmed Makarfi and Ben Obi had filed a motion against Senator Ali Modu-Sherif, a factional chairman of the party before the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal.

Makarfi and his co applicants are seeking to be allowed to appeal the June 29, 2016 judgment of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The duo of Makarfi and Obi, who are Chairman and Secretary respectively of the Caretaker committee of the PDP are, in their motion praying the court for leave to appeal the judgment as interested parties.

Other prayers by the applicant’s  include extension of time within which to appeal as well as extension of time within which to file notice of appeal.

When the matter came up on Friday, Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN), representing the factional Acting chairman of the party, Ali Modu Sheriff and eight other respondents in the matter urged the court to reject the application for being incompetent, adding that for the applicant to be given the leave of court to appeal as an interested party, there has to be a prayer, seeking the leave of court to file a notice and grounds of appeal.

He said,”The application is incompetent because the first prayer to get the legal backing to the trinity prayer is missing. The inability of the applicant to make such prayer before the trinity prayers renders the application incompetent”, and urged the court to ignore it.

The three-member panel of justices of the appellate court headed by Justice Hannatu Sankey, after listening to submissions reserved ruling to a date that would be communicated to parties in the matter.

There was a clash between Robert Emukpero and Olagoke Fakunle in the appeal filed by the PDP and Prince Biyi Poroye against 1 to 9 Respondents over who to represent the party in the appeal.

The court adjourned till today for the counsel to regularise their appearance in the matter and to continue in the hearing of the appeal to stay action on the execution of the judgment of Justice Abang delivered on June 29.

Meanwhile, hearing in another appeal No:. CA/A/551c/2016, which Eyitayo Jegede filed has been slated for Tuesday November 2, 2016.

Justice Abang, in the judgment delivered on June 29, 2016 upheld Sen. Ali-Modu Sheriff as the authentic National Chairman of the PDP, having nullified the appointment of Ahmed Makarfi as Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of the party.

Abang said the purported convention held in Port-Harcourt on May 21 by the Makarfi caretaker committee was a total violation of court orders.


Makarfi faction rejects Ibrahim as candidate

The Senator Ahmed Makarif-led national caretaker of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),on Friday, rejected the list of candidates for the Ondo State governorship election which has Mr Jimoh Ibrahim and Alabi Omotayo as its candidate and running mate as announced  by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In a statement made available to news men in Abuja by its national publicity secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, it  declared, “In announcing its list, INEC completely disregarded the order of Justice Olamide of the Ondo State High Court restraining INEC from substituting the name of our candidate, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), choosing instead to pay heed to the order given by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court.

The party regretted that “these actions have resulted in massive protests in many parts of Ondo State as the people have taken to the streets to show displeasure at the schemes to deny them of the candidate of their choice for the gubernatorial elections.”

It however pointed out that it had  filed “the requisite appeals at the Court of Appeal and we believe that within the shortest possible time, these illegal actions will be reversed,” add that it has “faith in the judiciary that the illegality will be reversed.”

The party assured its members and supporters in the state that “even if the reversal of these unconstitutional actions take place only a few days to the elections, our victory is certain.”

“It is most unfortunate that INEC and external forces are seeking to make Jimoh Ibrahim, who is not a member of our party and who did not participate in our primaries which INEC itself has admitted, the candidate of our party through the back door.

“It is worrisome that INEC and Justice Abang have insisted on toeing a path of illegality by ignoring our validly convened primaries and the candidate produced thereafter in favour of a candidate who emerged from an illegal primary election exercise.”

“We are aware that INEC is acting under tremendous pressure from powerful external forces to cause confusion within our party as a means of reducing our chances to win the Ondo State gubernatorial elections.

“They are aware that our candidate – Mr Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) – is very popular within the state and stands the best chance to win the elections. The current events are part of a ploy by these forces, on behalf of the ruling party, to deprive him and our party of that chance.

“It is regrettable that many people have forgotten the events of 1983 when massive rigging of the gubernatorial election in Ondo State and the insistence on depriving the people of leaders of their choice led to several days of protests and anarchy and eventually laid the foundation for the destruction of that democracy.

“We urge the ruling party to desist from these schemes designed to deprive the Ondo people of the right to choose leaders of their choice.

“We wish to call the attention of all Nigerians to these schemes as they are likely to lead to confusion, chaos and a breakdown of law and order as we are already witnessing now

“External forces must not set Ondo State ablaze. Who will be the governor of Ondo State must be a decision to be made by the Ondo people themselves.

“We wish to urge our teeming members and supporters in Ondo State to resist the temptation to take law into their hands. We are aware of the plan of our political opponents to create chaos as a cover to achieve their dastardly objectives.