Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday recognised Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the oncoming Ondo State governorship election.
Ibrahim’s deputy was listed as Alabi Ebenezer, a former party chairman of PDP in Ondo State.
Also, Rotimi Akeredolu was listed as the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC). His deputy is Alfred Agboola Ajayi.
According to a letter by the secretary of INEC, Augusta Ogakwu, to the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ondo State, the number of candidates for the governorship election is 28.
The commission, however, noted that Ibrahim emerged through a court order
Ibrahim and former attorney-general in the state, Eyitayo Jegede, had emerged candidates of the party from the two factions in the party.
While the camp of Sen Ali Modu Sheriff produced Ibrahim, the Sen Ahmed Makarfi-led National Caretaker Committee produced Jegede.
However, INEC’s recognition of Jimoh comes barely 24 hours after the Sheriff camp had warned officials of the commission that they risked contempt of court and consequent imprisonment if they reject their candidate.
Jimoh had accused an INEC official of demanding a $1m bribe to list him as the party’s candidate. He also called for the removal of the Residential Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Ondo State, Segun Agbaje, accusing him of being a PDP sympathizer, but the electoral commission denied both allegations.
Some other candidates are Olusola Oke who was listed as candidate of the Alliance for Democracy (AD). Adeuti Stephen Taye is the Labour Party (LP) candidate. Olu Agunloye was listed as the Social Democratic Party (SDP) candidate while Aidi Bolarinwa Elijah is the candidate of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).
Others are Famusipe Rufus Idowu (APGA); Daniel Ogungbemi (KOWA); Oluwasegun Odidi (PDC).
A High Court in Akure, Ondo State, had earlier restrained INEC from substituting or replacing the name of the PDP, Eyitayo Jegede, SAN, as the candidate of the party in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.
In an exparte order motion brought before the court by the Clement Faboyede-led PDP in the state, Justice William Olamide, in his ruling, yesterday, said it would be out of order for INEC to replace or substitute Jegede’s name pending the determination of the motion on notice.
According to Justice Olamide, removing Jegede’s name would contravene the principles of equity, justice and fairness.
He directed the PDP to ensure the service of the order herein granted, which is the motion on notice and originating summons on INEC, before the next date of hearing fixed for the 7th of next month.
He said, “It is hereby ordered as prayed. The defendant/respondent is hereby restrained either by itself, chairman, commissioners, agents and servants, officers or privies or through any person or persons, whosoever from changing, replacing, removing, substituting or, in any manner, tampering with the name, Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the governorship election slated for November 26, 2016, pending the determination of motion on notice.
“In the interest of justice and fair hearing, the claimant/applicant is hereby ordered to ensure the service of the order herein granted, the motion on notice and originating summons on the defendant/respondent before the next date of hearing,” the judgement read in part.
In the same vein, another State High Court yesterday barred Mr Biyi Poroye, from Ali Modu Sheriff’s faction, from parading himself as the chairman of the party in the state.
While ruling on an originating summons between Biyi Poroye and the state PDP chairman, Clement Faboyede, Justice Olasehinde Kumuyi said Poroye’s lawyers could not substantiate with evidence, facts and figures to authenticate that he was elected though any congress.
Justice Kumuyi, therefore, ruled that Poroye cannot take any action in respect of the party as he did not have the status quo to do so based on the PDP constitution and the electoral laws.
The court also restrained INEC from recognising any governorship candidate said to have emerged from the primaries conducted by Mr Poroye and his cohorts.
The court equally gave credence to the congress that brought Faboyede into office and directed that only the governorship primaries conducted by him be recognised by INEC for the Ondo governorship election
The Sheriff’s faction of the PDP yesterday declared the emergence of Jimoh Ibrahim by INEC as victory over impunity in the electoral system.
Reacting to the release of the INEC list, acting national publicity secretary, Hon. Bernard Mikko, said: “INEC’s recognition of Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim is not only a victory for the people of Ondo State, but also a victory for the rule of law and diminishing impunity in our electoral system.
“The PDP NWC under the leadership of Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff is pleased with this development and hereby congratulates the people of Ondo State as they go to polls on November 26 to vote PDP and elect Bar Jimoh Ibrahim as their next governor.”
Attempt to to get the reaction of Mr Eyitayo Jegede were futile as calls to his mobile phone were unanswered.
A text message was also sent but was not replied to by the time of filing this report.
Also, the phone numbers of the PDP state chairman, Engr Clement Faboyede and the commissioner of information in the state, Mr Kayode Akinmade, were switched off.