A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to accept Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the forthcoming governorship election in Ondo State.
Justice Okon Abang gave the order in a ruling on an application for the enforcement of his earlier judgment delivered on June 29, 2016.
The judgment came after the electoral body recognised Eyitayo Jegede, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, as the governorship candidate of the PDP in the state.
The court, in the June 29 judgment, in a suit with number, FHC/ABJ/CS/395/2016, had ordered INEC to only accept the names of the candidates sent by the Biyi Poroye and Ademola Genty-led Executive Committee of the PDP in the state.
Poroye and Genty, who applied to the court for themselves and on behalf of the Ondo State Executive Committee of the PDP, said the post-judgment application was informed by INEC’s refusal to accept their candidate, as directed by the court in its June 29 judgment.
In his ruling on Friday, Justice Abang held that INEC had no justifiable reason not to accept the candidate submitted to INEC by the plaintiffs.
He noted that INEC participated in the proceedings leading to the June 29 judgment but failed to oppose the case of the plaintiffs.
The judge wondered why INEC did not promptly comply with the judgment when it did not have any objection to the case.
He further faulted INEC’s stance by not complying with the judgment as there was no appeal filed against the judgment.
The judge ruled, “INEC knew that issues were not joined by parties on the date of the election but issues were joined by parties as regards who INEC was ordered to deal with exclusively during the plaintiffs’ tenure as executive officers.
“As for PDP in Ondo State, the purport of the order of court being that any election conducted by INEC during the applicants’ tenure in office, INEC has no choice but to accept the list of candidates from the instant judgment creditors/applicants herein.”
The judge then ordered INEC to “accept and process for the purpose of its functions and activities in the organisation and conduct of the Ondo State governorship 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 form(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.”
Meanwhile, the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the Ondo State chapter of PDP has urged its members to disregard the court judgment.
In a statement issued by the Publicity Secretary of the Makarfi- led faction of the party, Mr. Banji Okunomo, the party maintained that Jegede remained its candidate for the forthcoming governorship election.
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