Supreme Court throws out motions against Jegede, Makarfi

The Supreme Court on Thursday again, struck out all the motions challenging the decision of the Court of Appeal that allowed Eyitayo Jegede to appeal the October 14, 2016 judgement of the Federal High Court, Abuja that ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to replace his name with that of Jimoh Ibrahim as the Ondo State governorship candidate for the Saturday election.

In a unanimous ruling by a five-member panel of justices of the Supreme Court delivered by the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, the court struck out all the 14  motions on the ground that they have been overtaken by events.

The CJN held that the interlocutory motions have become academic because the Court of Appeal had already delivered judgment in the matter the motions emanated from.

The apex court directed the appellants in the motions to go and appeal against the final judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on Wednesday by the Justice Ibrahim Saulawa led three-member panel of Justices of the Appeal Court.

Specifically, Justice Onnooghen said it will be better and safer for the 14 motions to be embedded in their appeal against the judgment of the court of Appeal if they have any.

The apex court said that there was no point hearing the motions in piecemeal when a final judgment had already been delivered by the appellate court.

The Court of Appeal had, two weeks ago, granted permission to Jegede to appeal against the ruling of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja, delivered on October 14, in which the judge ordered INEC to accept the name of Jimoh Ibrahim as the PDP candidate of the Ondo State governorship election slated for Saturday having emerged from the Senator Ali Modu-Sherif faction of the party.

The Appeal Court had already granted similar permission to the Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi-led national caretaker committee of the party to challenge the Federal High Court order, ruling that the faction has no legal right to nominate a candidate for the Ondo gubernatorial poll.

By the Supreme Court decision, the appellants in the motions can now appeal against the final judgment of the Appeal Court on the leadership tussle between the Sheriff and Makarfi factions.

Responding to the Supreme Court decision, counsel to the Eyitayo Jegede group, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) said that the ball was now in the court of the appellants to go and pick the Appeal Court judgement and file whatever challenges they have with the judgment.

Olanipekun commended the apex court for prompt ways and manners in which decisions in the Ondo State PDP governorship candidacy tussle were taken.

In his reaction, counsel to the Sheriff-led faction, Beluolisa Nwofor (SAN) said that his client will abide by the decision of the Supreme Court decision, being the highest court in the land.

He said the issues raised by the appellants were not heard but were asked to go back and challenge the final decision of the Court of Appeal.