By Willy Eya
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Global Fleet, Mr Jimoh Ibrahim, yesterday, submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the court papers declaring him the authentic candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State.
Ibrahim’s lawyers went to the INEC headquarters yesterday to formally submit the case documents to the electoral body.
The Global Fleet boss belongs to the former Borno State governor, Modu Sheriff’s faction of the PDP.
But, on Friday, the Abuja division of the Federal High Court presided by Justice Okon Abang, ordered the INEC to accept him (Ibrahim) as the candidate of the PDP in the November 26 governorship election.
In his ruling, on an application filed by the Chairman and Secretary of the PDP in Ondo State, Prince Biyi Poroye and Ademola Genty and others in Osun and Oyo, respectively, Justice Abang held that INEC had no reason to reject the candidate submitted to it by the plaintiffs.
He noted that not only did INEC participate in the proceedings leading to the June 29 judgment; it was not on record that the judgment has been appealed.
The judge, who also noted that since INEC did not contest the case and appeal the judgement, wondered why it chose not to obey it.
Justice Abang ordered INEC to, “accept and process, for the purpose of its functions and activities in the organisation and conduct of the election, only the nomination of Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim Folorunso, who emerged from the primary election conducted by the 1st and 2nd plaintiffs/applicants, as candidate of the 2nd defendant (PDP) in the said Ondo governorship election.”
He also ordered INEC to “reject and jettison any other nomination from(s) submitted to it by any other person(s) apart from the 1st and 2nd plaintiffs/applicants, indicating that no other person, apart from Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim Folorunso, is the candidate of the 2nd defendant for the Ondo State governorship election.”
In the June 29 judgment, justice Abang had earlier ordered INEC to only accept the name of the candidate sent by the Pororye and Genty Executive Committee as the actual candidate of the party for the forthcoming election.
The applicants had applied to the court for themselves and on behalf of the Ondo State Executive Committee of the PDP, stating that the post-judgment application was informed by INEC’s refusal to accept their candidate, as directed by the court in its June 29 judgment.
The applicants had contended that the electoral body was aware that the judgment of the court relates to five other states where the general elections would hold in 2019 and is in good position to understand the implications of the judgment for Ondo State, where elections would hold in 2016, but chose to ignore the obvious implication.
In addition, they also stated that INEC was also aware that the judgment was predicated upon the May 19, 2016 letter of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP, which was addressed to it (INEC), confirming to it that Pororye and Genty are leaders of the authentic state Executive Committee of the party in Ondo State.