A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday declared businessman, Jimoh Ibrahim, as the authentic candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the coming governorship election, throwing the ruling party into disarray.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that news of the judgment triggered series of meetings among leaders of the party.
A source close to the party said the party leadership was greatly disturbed by the pronouncement of the judge, Okon Abang, conferring authenticity on Jimoh Ibrahim.
“As soon as the news of the judgment came, there has been series of meetings to discuss the next line of action.” the source said.
“There are serious worries whether to continue with the litigation by appealing the judgment or move the party, achingly to the Labour Party, which is still largely controlled by Governor Olusegun Mimiko.”
A statement by the publicity secretary of the PDP, Banji Okunomo, said the governorship candidate of the party could only emerge through due process in consonance with the constitution of the PDP.
He urged party supporters to disregard the judgment saying the party’s governorship candidate would not be produced through the back door or some unconstitutional procedures.
“The Supreme Court of Nigeria has made it clear that only the National Executive Committee (NEC) of a party could nominate the governorship candidate of parties,” Mr. Okunomo argued.
“This was done in the nomination of Eyitayo Jegede (SAN). As such, no High court can invalidate or alter this position which is clearly defined by the highest ruling court in Nigeria.
“The PDP wishes to allay the fear of party members as appropriate steps are already being taken in this regard to quash obnoxious and baseless ruling.
“Such judgement or ruling, if it ever existed, is appealable with expedition and for want of legal justification shall never stand. More so, Mr Jimoh Ibrahim who took the case to court is not a registered member of the PDP.”
Mr. Okunomo maintained that Jimoh Ibrahim had ceased to be a member of the PDP, whose non-membership of the PDP had been verified at the ward, local government or State levels, having openly defected to the Accord Party.
While accusing Mr. Ibrahim of trying to destabilise the party, Mr. Okunomo said, “He would fail and is only working for some fifth columnists outside the PDP.”
The PDP called on its members and supporters to remain focused and steadfast, urging them to continue with the Eyitayo’s campaign which will be actualised
However, the Jimoh Ibrahim faction of the PDP described the judgement by Okon Abang of the Abuja federal high court, Abuja as a welcome development.
It said the judgement did not only recognise the factional executive committee, but also validated and consolidated an earlier ruling by same court recognising the faction in the state.
The director of publicity/communication of Jimoh Ibrahim campaign group, Sola Akinuli, said the judgment was an elegant testimony to the beauty of the rule of law and ”an eloquent evidence to the uprightness of our judicial officers”.
“The judgement has put a seal on all controversies on who is what in the political architecture of the PDP in Ondo state which expectedly will usher in its attendant peace and tranquility to the beleaguered said.
“We salute the courage of Justice Okon Abang who stood on the side of the rule of law despite the present ‘ cloud’ over the integrity of our judges. We praise him for his ‘Davidic’ courage which has informed this ‘Solomonic’ judgement.
“This epochal verdict, we hope will act as speed breaker to the gale of impunity that has pervaded the party, a malignant cancer the Sheriff exco has come to heal.”