A ruling of the Court of Appeal expected to be delivered on Tuesday afternoon has been suspended. Court officials told journalists at the court premises that the ruling was suspended following a petition against the judges accusing them of bias. No new date has been fixed for the ruling.
Two factions of the party led by former Kaduna State governor, Ahmed Makarfi, and former Borno State governor, Ali Sheriff, have for months battled in court over the leadership of the PDP.
As part of that battle, the faction led by Mr. Makarfi had approached the Appeal Court to seek nullification of previous decisions by a Federal High Court presided over by Okon Abang which has affected that faction’s candidate for the November 26 election in Ondo state.
Mr. Abang had on October14 given an order in furtherance of his June 29 decision where he had asked the Independent National Electoral commission, INEC, to recognise the faction led by Mr. Sheriff.
In his October 14 ruling, Mr. Abang nullified the listing by INEC of the candidate of Mr. Makarfi’s faction, Eyitayo Jegede, for the Ondo state governorship election.
The judge said the decision was premised on his June 29 judgement where his court declared as null and void the proceedings of the PDP convention which appointed a caretaker committee with Mr. Makarfi as chairman. Shortly after that decision, the Makarfi caretaker committee approached the appellate court to demand a stay of execution of Mr. Abang’s October 14 decision.
At that time, Mr. Jegede had been recognised by INEC as the party’s flag bearer and the supporters of the Makarfi-led faction said the status quo should be maintained, pending the determination of their appeal at the appellate court. Mr. Jegede also approached Mr. Abang’s court, according to the rules of the Federal High Court, to seek his permission to appeal the October 14 judgement. That appeal was denied by Mr. Abang on October 27. During his ruling on Mr. Jegede’s application, Mr. Abang reiterated his decision that Mr. Ibrahim remains the authentic candidate for the PDP in the coming election of Ondo State.
In deference to the October 27 decision of the Federal High Court, INEC withdrew its recognition of Mr. Jegede and had him replaced by Mr. Ibrahim.
Consequently Mr. Jegede and other members of the party from Mr. Makarfi’s faction made further appeals to the Appeal Court demanding that it strikes out the June 29 ruling by the Federal High Court as well as that of October 14. No new date has been fixed for the Court of Appeal ruling. INEC had said Mr. Ibrahim would remain the candidate of the party in Ondo until a ruling of the appeal court.