FOR THE SECOND time in one week, the Supreme Court struck out the motions challenging the permission granted the Ondo state governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) by the Court of Appeal to appeal against the October 14 ruling of a federal high court in Abuja that ordered removal of his name on the INEC list.
The apex court in a unanimous ruling delivered by the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Samuel Onnoghen struck out the motions numbering 14 on the ground that the event had overtaken them. Onnoghen agreed with Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) that the interlocutory motions have become academic because the court of appeal had already delivered final judgment in the matter the motions emanated from. The apex court directed the appellants in the motions to go and appeal the final judgment of the appeal court delivered on Wednesday by the justice Ibrahim Salauwa led three man panel of appeal court justice if they so wish. Specifically, Justice Onnoghen said that it would be better and safer for the 14 motions to be embedded in their appeal against the final judgment of the appeal court if they have any. The apex court said that there was no point hearing the motions in piece meal when final judgment has been handed down by the appellate court. The court of appeal had two weeks ago granted permission to Jegede to appeal against the ruling of Justice Okon Abang delivered on October 14 in which the judge ordered the INEC to accept the name of one Jimoh Ibrahim as PDP candidate for the Ondo State governorship election slatted for tomorrow, having emerged from Ali Modu Sheriff faction. The appeal court had also granted similar permission to the Senator Ahmed Makarfi led Caretaker Committee to challenge the federal high court ruling that the faction has no locus standi to nominate a candidate for the Ondo gubernatorial poll. By the Supreme Court decision, the appellants in the motions can now appeal against the final judgment of the appeal court on the leadership tussle between the Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi’s factions. Responding to the Supreme Court decision, counsel to the Eyitayo Jegede side, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) said that the ball was now in the court of the appellants to go and pick the final judgment of the appeal court and file whatever challenges they have with it. He commended the apex court for the prompt ways and manners in which decisions in the Ondo State PDP governorship candidacy tussle were taken. In his own reaction, counsel to the Ali Modu Sheriff faction, Mr. Beluolisa Nwofor (SAN), said that his clients would abide by the Supreme Court decision being the highest court in the land.