The newly sworn-in Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Samuel Walter Nkanu Onnoghen, Tuesday morning, at the Supreme Court, handed down an order to Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal to proceed with hearing of all appeals in all applications concerning the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leadership including the ones bothering on who should be the governorship candidate of the party in Ondo State.
To this end, the Ahmed Makarfi-led faction of PDP who has developed cold feed following the indefinite adjournment of the application filed by its candidate in Ondo State, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) against the candidate produced by the Alli Modu Sheriff-led faction of the party, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim will have a sigh of relief as the application will now be heard.
Onnoghen handed down the order after dismissing a motion for stay of futther proceedings in the Appeal Court. The appellant had earlier withdrawn the motion without objection from other parties.
The apex court also ordered that N250, 000 should be paid to each of the respondent’s.
The Appeal Court panel had earlier adjourned the Ondo PDP’s case indefinitely saying that its decision was as a result of a case before the Supreme Court challenging the legitimacy of the panel to sit and deliver judgment on the appeals arising from a Federal High Court judgment on the PDP leadership and candidacy in the Ondo State governorship election.
According to Justice Ibrahim Salauwa, the panel was forced to suspend ruling sine dile until the Supreme Court rules on the suit before them challenging the legitimacy of the panel.
He said the court would have to await the decision of the Supreme Court.
Announcing the adjournment Salauwa had said, “This appeal and sister appeals are adjourned sine dile to await the decision of the supreme court.”
The Ali Modu Sheriff faction had earlier asked the Appeal Court to allow the apex court decide Jegede’s fate.
It claimed that the Appeal Court had lost the jurisdiction to continue hearing the matter because of an application it filed at the Supreme Court.
“We ask the court to hands off and allow the Supreme Court decide if it should continue or not,” Beluolisa Nwofor, counsel to the Sherrif faction in Ondo State, had said.
“It is at the Supreme Court that the matter for the stay of proceedings will be heard not here. The appeal is not ripe for hearing because the court has lost jurisdiction due to the facts brought to the notice of the court.
“The court cannot entertain further proceedings until the notice is determined by the apex court.”
Trouble started after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) picked Jimoh Ibrahim of Sheriff’s faction as the PDP candidate for the November 26 election.
The commission had cited the ruling of Okon Abang, a judge of the federal high court, Abuja, as reason for its action.
This prompted Jegede to ask the appellate court to set aside Abang’s ruling.
When the matter first came up at the appeal court, Sheriff’s group forced the judges hearing the case to withdraw after accusing them of corruption allegations.
President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, constituted a new panel, yet Jegede’s rival faulted the panel, and sought its dissolution, but the court ignored the call until it was forced by the need to await decision of the Supreme Court before it could do anything on the case.
Jegede has maintained optimism that he will be victorious in the end.