The Abuja Division of the Appeal Court on Friday suspended all pending matters relating to the ongoing judicial battle for an Ondo State governorship ticket, pending the determination of applications at the Supreme Court.
A three-member panel of justices at the appellate court, led by Ibrahim Salauwa, gave the ruling in a brief session on Friday.
Mr. Salauwa noted that the matter had been affected by unfavourable motions from the applicants at the apex court; and the panel set up to address the crisis, under his leadership, would not want to further complicate the matter.
“We will await the decision of the Supreme Court in all the processes; no matter what they are worth.
“We hereby rule that this matter and other matters awaiting decision by this court are hereby adjourned sine-die pending the decision of the apex court,” said Mr. Salauwa.
The appellate court had planned deciding on the authentic candidate to represent the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State.
Two candidates, Jimoh Ibrahim and Eyitayo Jegede, both from the PDP had emerged from different factions of the party for the election.
While Mr. Ibrahim emerged candidate from the faction led by former Borno State governor, Ali Sheriff, Mr. Jegede was picked to be flag-bearer of the party from the camp led by Ahmed Makarfi.
The Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice Okon Abang had on October 14 ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to recognise Mr. Ibrahim as PDP’s flag-bearer in the election.
Mr. Abang’s decision was based on a previous judgement delivered by his court on June 29, where a faction of the PDP led by Mr. Sheriff was recognised as the authentic camp of the PDP.
Subsequently Mr. Jegede approached the appellate court with a request that it sets aside the decision of the lower court.
When the case was slated for hearing and determination on November 1, a factional chairman of the party from Mr. Sheriff’s camp, Biyi Poroye, accused the former panel led by Jummai Sankey of corruption leading to the introduction of a new panel led by Mr. Salauwa.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the Appeal Court President, Zainab Bulkachuwa in setting up a new panel, Mr. Poroye’s lawyer Beluolisah Nwofor asked that the panel be dissolved.
When the application was refused, he approached the Supreme Court to challenge the ruling of the appellate court and demanded that the Appeal Court stays proceeding pending his application at the apex court.
In his ruling on Friday, Mr. Salauwa said his panel had taken all its previous decisions in the interest of justice and felt it was only right to suspend sitting, given the current application at the apex court.
With Friday’s decision, Mr. Ibrahim remains the authentic candidate of the PDP for the election.