A Federal High Court judge, Justice Okon Abang, has rejected a request by the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) to stay the execution of the order of the court ordering the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognize Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim as the PDP’s legitimate candidate in the coming Ondo State governorship election.
At a court session today, Justice Abang declined to stay the execution of the judgment, stating that an application filed by the Makarfi-led PDP Ondo Guber candidate, Eyitayo Jegede lacked merit as he was not a party to the initial lawsuit.
Justice W.R. Olamide of the Ondo State High Court had issued an order to INEC officials currently in Akure, the state capital, to disregard a Federal court order and accept PDP factional candidate, Eyitayo Jegede, as the party’s governorship candidate. A source within the PDP in the state told our correspondent that Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State had arranged the state court order in cahoots with Chief Judge of the state, adding that the governor should have known that such an order would not be binding on INEC. The source said the Makarfi faction must have realized the futility of the state judge’s order, hence their attempt to persuade Justice Okon to stay his earlier ruling.
According to the PDP source, a supporter of Mr. Ibrahim, “INEC is mandated by law to recognize and publish the name of Jimoh Ibrahim as the bona fide candidate of the PDP as per the September 29th ruling of the Federal High Court which explicitly said so.” He added, “Today is also the last day mandated by law to publish names of all legitimate party flag bearers for the November 26th governorship election.”
An INEC source in the state told our correspondent that electoral officials were confused by the myriad of court orders that have been served on the commission but stated the commission is bound by the judgement of the federal high court until a superior court upturns the judgement. However, lawyers to Mr. Ibrahim have accused INEC officials of colluding with Governor Mimiko to disregard the order of the federal court, our INEC denies the charge.
A member of Mr. Ibrahim’s legal team told SaharaReporters that a recently composed team of the Court of Appeal had struck a deal with the PDP’s faction led by Mr. Makarfi to reverse Justice Okon’s order. A team of appellate justices has been assembled to hold expedited hearings on Friday and Saturday in order to issue a judgment.