A top INEC official in Ondo State has revealed why the electoral body controversially dropped Eyitayo Jegede of the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction for Jimoh Ibrahim of the Ali Modu Sheriff camp in the PDP.
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday evening, stunned Governor Olusegun Mimiko of the People's Democratic Party, PDP, by dropping Eyitayo Jegede - the gubernatorial candidate of the party for another factional candidate, Jimoh Ibrahim.
It would be recalled that PDP has overtime being polarized with two factions namely; Ahmed Makarfi-led group and that of Ali Modu-Sheriff laying claim to the leadership of the main opposition party in Nigeria.
Mr. Ibrahim’s name was posted on an INEC notice board in Akure as well as on the commission’s website. This implies that until a superior court gives a contrary judgment, Eyitayo Jegede, the candidate of the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of the PDP will not be accepted as the party’s candidate.
A court order from an the Ondo State High Court on Wednesday, restrained INEC from recognizing Mr. Ibrahim as the candidate of the PDP pending the determination of the substantive suit before the court.
The Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Olusegun Agbaje, however, told Premium Times on Thursday night that Mr. Ibrahim was approved as candidate based on an order from the Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Okon Abang.
Mr. Abang had on October 14 declared Mr. Ibrahim the true candidate of the PDP. On Thursday, Mr. Abang rejected a plea by Mr. Jegede seeking to be allowed to appeal the October 14 court judgement.
It is based on these two court rulings that INEC approved Mr. Ibrahim as the PDP candidate.
“We received a court order from the High Court in Akure and that was yesterday(Wednesday), but there was a subsisting one by Justice Abang today(Thursday), that is what happened,” Mr. Agbaje said.
Asked if another court order can upturn the situation, Mr. Agbaje said INEC would have no choice but to drop Mr. Ibrahim if another superior order comes in favour of Mr. Jegede.
“That is why we put in front of the name ‘court order,’ to show that the name was picked as a result of an order of the court,” he said.
“The situation will continue that way until the matter is decided by the Supreme Court if the parties choose to proceed to the apex court.”
The commissioner said the politicians had brought themselves into a tight corner, noting that instead of going to the Court of Appeal, they were jumping from one high court to the other.
“Now they have to go on appeal at a higher court,” he said. “They are the ones undoing themselves and like I said, we do not have any candidate. We will only abide by the laws guiding the process.”