Ondo PDP not worried by Abuja ruling —Spokesman

The Peoples Democratic Party in Ondo State has declared that the Abuja High Court ruling last Friday, which  fuelled rumour  of a change in the party’s candidate in the November 26, 2016 gubernatorial election has nothing to do with Eyitayo Jegede (SAN), is the  party’s candidate in the coming election.

This is just as the party submitted that the case which produced the ruling recorded   “some drama of the absurd.”

Speaking in Akure, on Sunday, the state’s publicity secretary  of PDP, Mr Banji Okunomo, while narrating  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.

He said the 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. Jimoh Ibrahim, had been given the party’s governorship ticket courtesy of the  Friday’s court ruling in Abuja, Okunomo said the rumour was fuelled by the 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  Ibrahim, was party to the suit that had so far yielded two rulings from the same court .the publicity secretary 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 directions in respect of the party primary for the 2019 general election.

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 election.

“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.

Okunomo noted that the widespread noise generated by the suit to the effect that 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 was only the National Executive of a political party that had the responsibility to submit names of candidates to the INEC.

He stressed further 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.