The president of the Court of Appeal, Zainab Bulkachuwa, on Wednesday raised a new panel to hear all the appeals emanating from the leadership crisis in the Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The PDP was plunged into a fresh crisis after the Independent National Electoral Commission accepted Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of the party in the upcoming gubernatorial election in the state.
The decision effectively replaced Eyitayo Jegede as the party’s candidate.
INEC’s decision followed the ruling of Okon Abang of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, which endorsed the Ali Modu Sheriff faction of the party.
Mr. Ibrahim belongs to Sheriff-led faction of the party.
The decision was immediately challenged by the faction led by Ahmed Makarfi, whose candidate is Mr. Jegede.
The losing faction appealed the decision of Mr. Abang and the matter was slated for hearing at the Court of Appeal on Tuesday.
But the proceeding stalled after members of the panel recused themselves from the matter following allegations of bribery against them.
A petitioner, Biyi Poroye, accused the head of the panel, Jummai Sankey, of taking a N350 million bribe from Governor Segun Mimiko, who belongs to Mr. Makarfi’s faction.
In a letter with reference number PCA/Abuja/VII/2016, Justice Bulkachuwa named Justice Ibrahim Saulawa as chairman of the new panel.
The panel also has Justices Ignatius Agube and Godwin Mbaba as members.
A statement by the court’s spokesperson, Saadatu Musa, said the panel will handle appeals by the PDP and Benson Akingboye and two others.
The panel will also handle appeals by Diri Adony, INEC and two others, Mr. Poroye and 10 others and the appeal by Clement Faboyede.
“You are hereby empanelled to sit and determine the above appeals in Abuja Division expeditiously. Fixation of dates to be worked out with the presiding Justice of the Abuja Division,” Mrs. Musa quoted Mrs. Bulkachuwa as saying in the letter.
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