From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
TWENTY four hours after the three-man panel of Justices of
the Court of Appeal disqualified themselves from hearing the ap- peals arising from the crisis ravag- ing the Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the choice of a candidate
for the forthcoming election, the President of the Court of Appeal (PCA), Justice Zainab Bulkachu- wa yesterday constituted a fresh panel to handle all the appeals. The new panel of Justices of the Court of Appeal is headed by Ibrahim M. Saulawa with Ignatius Igwe Agube and Godwin Mbaba as members.
They are expected to hear the three pending appeals brought by the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the PDP, Eyitayo Jegede and Clement Faboyede respectively.
The camps of Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Ahmed Makarfi are entangled in a cobweb of legal theatrics over the control of party structures in the state.
Before the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal, both the Makarfi faction and its candidate, Jegede are challenging the judgment of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court directing the ndependent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to only rec- ognize Ibrahim Jimoh, from the Ali Modu Sheriff’s faction as the candidate of PDP for the election, slated for November 26, 2016.
However, when the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, the three-member panel of Justices of the Court of Appeal, led by Justice Jummai Hannatu Sankey, all withdrew from hearing the appeals following a petition against them.
The three Justices bowed out of the cases following a petition written by a factional chairman of the PDP in the state, Prince Biyi Poroye, who alleged that the Justices have been compromised.
The composition of the new panel of Justices by the President of the Court of Appeal yesterday is a replacement for the old panel.
In a letter with reference num- ber, PCA/Abuja/VII/2016, Justice Bulkachuwa named Saulawa as chairman of the panel, which has Justices Ignatius Igwe Agube and Godwin Mbaba as members.
The letter reads: “You are hereby empanelled to sit and determine the above appeals in Abuja Division expeditiously. Fixation of dates to be worked out with the presiding Justice of the Abuja Division”, Bulkachuwa stated in the letter.
The allegations which brought yesterday’s proceedings to an abrupt end was contained in a petition written by a factional chairman of the PDP in the state, Prince Poroye, who alleged that the Justices have been compro- mised.
In the petition dated October 31, 2016 and addressed to the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, the petitioner alleged that Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State had boasted in the public that he and Nyesom Wike of Rivers State have settled the Justices with N350 million.
The petition was copied President Muhammadu Buhari, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and the panel itself.
Oke not qualified to contest under AD- Abayomi
From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
FORMER governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ondo State, Dr. Tunji Abayomi has said that the candi- date of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Chief Olusola Oke is not qualified to contest the November 26 election.
To this end, Abayomi called on the Independent National Electoral bCommission (INEC) to disqualify Oke and his running mate, Mr. Gani Dauda.
Abayomi, who spoke to Daily Sun alleged that both Oke and his deputy did not participate in the primary election of the AD, which according to him, was against the electoral acts as amended.
He further alleged that the duo got the nomination of the AD
through the back door arrange- ment.
The rights activist said: “nobody can contest an election in the coun- try unless he or she is a member of a political party; in the case of Oke and his deputy, they never partici- pated in a primary election.
Oke can only be a candidate of the APC where he contested but he didn’t win the primary of the party.
“Electoral act states that a candidate must be elected by the members of AD and they must vote for him in a primary. A party is not allowed to nominate a candidate without the candidate participating in thenprimary of the party”.
He said it was against the elec- toral act for the AD to nominate to INEC as its candidate, somebody that had not participated in its primary.
According to him, “Faleke’s case in Kogi State did not stand because he did not go through the primary and he was not voted for by mem- bers of the party. So, under the law, Oke is not qualified and his deputy is also not qualified to contest the election. He only embarks on voy- age of discovery.”
He blamed the INEC for includ- ing Oke’s name in the list of the eligible candidates that would contest the election in Ondo State, pointing out that the electoral com- mission did not attend or supervise the primary election that produced Oke as the candidate of the AD.