Appeal court judge gives reason for adjournment of Ondo PDP case

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Justice Ibrahim Salauwa, Chairman of the Special Panel of the Court of Appeal, established to on determine all appeals arising from the ongoing Peoples Democratic Party leadership disputes, at the resumption of the day’s proceeding broke the information to the parties that the panel had adjourned its proceedings indefinitely.

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The Judge said the panel took the decision following a notice of motion for stay from the Supreme Court served on it by the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the PDP.

Salauwa said: “Only yesterday, at about 7pm, we were served a motion from the apex court ordering the panel to discontinue further actions.

“The motion was filed by all the respondent parties in the pending appeals.

“This include the Ali Modu Sheriff, Biyi Poroye, the Executive members of the Ondo State PDP and the Executive members of the South West Zone of the party.

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“These parties had approached the apex court to order us from further actions pending the determination of interlocutory appeals they had filed at the apex court.”

The group had approached the Supreme Court following the decision of the Court of Appeal that granted leave to Eyitayo Jegede, Senator Ahmed Makarfi and Senator Ben Obi to appeal the decision of the Federal High Court.

On June 29, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court upheld Sheriff as the acting national chairman of the party.

The decision bestowed the Sheriff’s faction of the PDP the right to conduct governorship primary of the party for the November 26 Ondo State governorship election.

The dispute later resulted in an interlocutory ruling by Justice Abang who ordered Jegede’s candidacy to be substituted with that of Jimoh Ibrahim.

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Dissatisfied with the two decisions of the lower court, the appellants approached the appellate court for reversal.

The appellate court went ahead on November 11 to grant the trio – Jegede, Makarfi and Obi – the leave to appeal the decision.

However, the Sheriff faction had immediately challenged the two rulings at the Supreme Court.

Beloulisa Nwafor (SAN), counsel to Biyi Poroye, the Ondo state Chairman of the PDP, contended that the panel must stay proceedings pending the determinations of those interlocutory appeals.

Nwafor had argued that the court was stripped of its jurisdiction the moment the appeals were entered at the apex court.

He had said the only option left for the panel was to wait until the apex court decided those motions in one or the other.

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Also, Raphael Oluyede, the counsel to the PDP, aligned himself with Nwafor’s objections.

Oluyede had added that it was trite in law to stay action once an appeal was entered against the decision of a lower court.

These initial submissions for the panel to stay action were overruled and it went on to hear all the appeals placed before it.

The panel had set Friday to deliver judgment on the party’s governorship candidate for the upcoming Ondo State governorship election and the authentic national leadership of the party.

The Supreme Court will on November 21 decide whether the panel should go on with the proceedings or not.

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