The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal has set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court declaring Alhaji Jimoh Ibrahim as the authentic governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Ondo governorship election billed for Saturday, saying it was a nullity.
In a unanimous judgment, the three-man special panel constituted to hear all parties in the brewing governorship tussle of the party in Ondo state, described the judgment of Justice Abang as a charade, fraudulent and inexperience.
Delivering the lead judgment, chairman of the panel Justice Ibrahim Salauwa said the judgment of the lower court was delivered in violation of the doctrine of natural law of justice [audi altarem partem] by not hearing from one of the governorship candidate, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede.
“The tenets of natural justice entails that a party ought to be heard prior to determination of case against them”.
“It is obvious that in INEC Form 001, the name of the appellant [Jegede] was dully published as the governorship candidate in Ondo state and has commenced campaign throughout the nooks and crannies of the state. The court below was in error when it recognized Jimoh Ibrahim without hearing from the appellant,” Salauwa said.
While holding that the judgment of the trial court breached Jegede’s right of fair hearing, Justice Salauwa held that “Section 36 of the 1999 constitution has forbidden the court from making orders that affect another person without hearing from him. Indeed, the law of natural justice requires that a party should be heard prior to a judgment against him. Without much ado, I have no hesitation to resolve the first issue in favour of the appellant.”
Justice Salauwa, who narrated what he described as regrettable incidents that gave rise to a multiplicity of motions to the Supreme Court by the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff’s faction of the party, said by refusing the wise counsel of the court to file their response to the Jegede’s appeal, the respondents essentially shot themselves in the foot.