The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Thursday gave leave to the replaced Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship candidate for the November 26 election in Ondo State, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede, to appeal against the Federal High Court’s order recognising Jimoh Ibrahim as the party’s authentic candidate.
The three-man panel of the appeal court led by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, also granted similar application filed by Ahmed Makarfi and secretary of his faction, Ben Obi, to challenge Ibrahim’s candidacy.
Acting on the orders made by Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja on June 29 and October 14, 2016, the Independent National Electoral Commission had dropped Jegede and replaced him with Ibrahim who belongs to another faction of the PDP led by Ali Modu Sheriff as the PDP’s governorship candidate in Ondo State.
Not being parties to the suit in which the Federal High Court made the orders in favour of Ibrahim, Jegede and Makarfi, as well as Obi, needed to seek the court’s leave to be allowed to appeal.
The suit was filed before the Federal High Court by chairmen and secretaries of the Sheriff’s faction of the PDP in the states in the South-West zone of the country.
The plaintiffs, led by the Ondo State chairman of the faction of the party, Biyi Poroye, are the first to ninth respondents in the case filed by Jegede.
Ruling on Jegede’s application on Thursday, the three justices on the court’s panel, comprising Justices Saulawa, Ignatius Agube and Ita Mbaba, unanimously agreed that the applicant had established sufficient interest in the case to be allowed to appeal.
The court also held that Jegede was genuinely aggrieved, having said to have participated in the primary of the party, emerged as the winner with a wide margin, and subsequently accepted by INEC as the candidate of the party, only to be later dropped on the basis of a court order.
It also ruled that having not been made a party to the suit in which the orders were made against him, Jegede was entitled to appeal against it.