The Abuja Division of the Appeal Court has fixed Tuesday and Wednesday for definite hearing of appeals on the governorship tussle in Ondo. This was as the court disposed off the preliminary issues in the appeal by the PDP, yesterday.
When the matter came up for hearing, the three-member panel of justices headed by Justice Hannatu Sankey granted the parties extended time to harmonise their processes and, thereafter, directed them to file and exchange their written addresses.
On the issue of legal representation of the PDP, the court held that it would be taken together with the substantive appeal. The reason was that doing so, at this stage, would preempt the substance of the appeal.
Eyitayo Jegede in appeal No: CA/A/551c/2016, was challenging the October 14 ruling of the Federal High Court directing the INEC to recognise Jimoh Ibrahim as sole candidate of the PDP in the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo.
Also, the appeal between Senator Ahmed Markafi and Chief Benson Akingboye was withdrawn for being incompetent, and subsequently struck out.Earlier, the Makarfi-led faction of the party had informed the court that Mr. Clark Paiko and Co., has the mandate of the party to appeal against the judgment of June 29 and the ruling of October 14 of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
In the counter affidavit to the objectors affidavit in support of motion on notice filed on October 27, and disposed to by one Dalapo Kehinde, it was averred that Mr. Godswill Mrakpo, Olagoke Fakunle and Rapheal Oluyede, have no iota of legal authority to challenge any of the processes filed on behalf of the appellant or appear on behalf of the appellant.
Members of the PDP, yesterday, continued their protest over removal and substitution of Eyitayo Jegede’s name. The protesters on Friday had disrupted social and economic activities across the state.
Speaking at the Deji’s palace, the PDP chairman in the state, Clement Faboyede, said it was not the duty of INEC to determine the candidate of a political party.
In a related development, a pro-democracy group, Coalition in Defence of Nigeria Democracy and Constitution (CDNDC), yesterday, appealed to the judiciary to rise in defence of democracy in the country.
The group urged President Buhari to caution INEC against sabotaging the electoral process, noting that the security implication of what the Commission was doing is “a big burden on the nation and a major challenge to the President.
In a statement by co-convener, Ariyo-Dare Atoye, CDNDC noted that the “failure of INEC to defend democracy and do what is right and just to political parties is creating serious tension and threatening Nigeria’s democracy.
“We fear that the rising tension in Ondo State, based on the 1983 experience, is capable of truncating this democracy, except the judiciary comes to the rescue.”
While expressing dismay that similar political incident that led to the fall of the Second Republic in 1983 was gradually building up, CDNDC said only electoral justice could save the current democratic experience.
Meanwhile, the Alliance for Democracy (AD) has urged President Buhari to call the Ondo State governor, Olusegun Mimiko, to order. The party asked the President “not to be fooled by the antics of Mimiko on the mayhem that occurred on Friday over the list of candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) posted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state.”
This was contained in a statement issued in Akure, yesterday, by AD State Secretary, Sola Agboola, who insisted Mimiko should be held accountable for “organised mayhem.”
Agboola said: “PDP thugs and street urchins hired to carry out acts of brigandage have been blocking roads in Akure, the state capital, to sustain lies concocted by Mimiko to the President that the state was on fire.”
He added: “In order to make his subterfuge work, the embattled governor threatened the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoyinbo, with deposition, if he fails to incite market men and women and force close the main market, in order to make his ploy seem real.
“At the same time, hired thugs from outside of the state in cahoots with the some members of the drivers’ union, whose state chairman is the governor’s kinsman from Ondo, caused mayhem in order to whip up sentiments for his minion, who, regrettably, is a lawyer.
“We are calling on law enforcement agencies to call Mimiko and his protégé, Eyitayo Jegede, to order and hold them responsible for any infraction and breakdown of law and order. They are the authors of this organised mayhem.”