Jegede And Ibrahim:  Who Should Fly PDP’s Ticket  In Ondo?   | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

POLITICS

Jegede And Ibrahim:  Who Should Fly PDP’s Ticket  In Ondo?  

AMCON, jimoh ibrahim
Posted: Oct 27, 2016 at 7:20 am   /   by   /   comments (0)
Rotimi Akinwumi,
Abuja-  Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) barring any last minute of change in plan, will today, unveil the final list of candidates of all political parties that will fight for the votes of the electorates in Ondo State which will determine the next “tenant” at the “Alagbaka” Government House.
 
With the exception of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) which is having some hiccups on the candidature of Barrister Olusola Oke a recent decampee from the All Progressives Congress (APC), the other party that has the biggest of challenges in the choice of its candidate is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
 
The party which has been battling with a seeming non-ending fight for its soul at the national level, has been gasping for breath following the resolve of its former National Chairman, Ali Modu Sheriff not to submit the leadership of the party to the caretaker committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi. 
 
Both camps, who have been laying claim to the leadership of the party have produced different candidates for the Ondo state governorship contest.
 
As the battle is set to be settled to some extent today, one thing is very sure, the candidate of the party will definitely be a trained lawyer.
 
Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) and Barrister Jimoh ibrahim are the candidates who emerged from the camps of the caretaker committee which enjoys the support of major stakeholders and other organs of the party; and the Modu-Sheriff led camp respectively. 
 
Despite the open support being enjoyed by the caretaker committee, Modu-Sheriff has refused to compromise the position even as both camps are insisting that they have the legal rights to produce the party’s candidate for the elections. 
 
The claims have made the task of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that has the power to supervise party primary, accept party candidate that emerge from such primary and ably submitted by the accepted and recognised party leaders, very difficult as the electoral umpire  have been sweating over the status of both claimants. 
 
COURTS AND ESCALATION OF PDP CRISIS.
 
The courts have played a somewhat inglorious role in sustaining the crisis within the PDP because of the conflicting orders the men on the bench have been issuing on the crisis even when the courts are of coordinate jurisdiction. 
 
On July 4, 2016, a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt declared that the May 21 PDP National Convention held in Port Harcourt, where Makarfi-led committee was constitution and where Sheriff was sacked as the party National Chairman was in order.
 
Though the case is still at the Appeal level, it was this Port Harcout judgment that INEC had held on to in its resolve  to accept any decision taken by the caretaker committee as the legal position of the PDP. 
 
This apparently informed the decision of the INEC to accept and allow , Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu fly the PDP flag at the Edo State poll, rejecting the candidature of Matthew Iduoriyekemwen presented by the Ali Modu-Sheriff camp.
 
While Sheriff and his follwers kept kicking, another court sitting in Abuja gave another judgement on  17th August ordering Modu-Sheriff from parading himself as the chairman of the party, on the premise that the prices that brought Modu-Sheriff’s predecessor Adamu Mu’azu into office was faulty.
 
Aside the series of orders which emanated mainly from the court of Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, the Ali Modu-Sheriff camp have not really gotten any tangible court pronouncement that still subsist till today.
 
Standing on its acceptance as the authentic leadership of the PDP, the caretaker committee conducted a primary in Akure on August 22 where Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) the immediate past Attorney-General of the state emerged as the PDP candidate. 
 
His name was submitted to INEC as the party candidate and was accepted by the electoral body.
 
However, before the name was submitted, the Modu-Sheriff camp also conducted a primary to elect it’s own candidate which eventually threw up Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim as the factional candidate. 
 
INEC however refused to monitor the primary on the basis that it was not properly invited to the primary election which held in Ibadan, Oyo state capital. 
 
At the Akure party primary,  840 delegates from 203 wards in the state participated with Jegede pulling  760 votes to defeat another aspirant, Mr Saka Lawal, who scored 22 votes.
 
The election was conducted by the governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson who served as Chairman of the electoral committee.
 
At the Banquet Hall of Premier Hotel, Ibadan Jimoh Ibrahim defeated other contenders in the primary like Mr Olusola Ebiseni, Honourable Bamiduro Dada, Honourable Niran-Sule Akinsuyi and Mrs. Abiye Ademuyegun.
 
With  801 delegates from the 18 local governments and the electoral committee led by Alhaji Ahmed Gulak,  performing their duty, Jimoh Ibrahim recorded 502 votes to win the elections with  his co-contestant, Mr Olusola Ebiseni having 41 votes while 17 votes were invalid.
 
Since the name of Jegede was accepted by INEC as the candidate of the party, INEC has not rested just like other party leaders in PDP too.
On October 14, Justice Abang increased the tempo with the party when he gave an order directing INEC to remove Jegede’s name as PDP candidate and replace it with that of Jimoh Ibrahim. 
 
DISSENT TO COURT ORDER 
 
Hardly had justice Abang made his order that caretaker committee in a statement by its spokesman, Prince Dayo Adeyeye explained that the ruling does not in any way affect the matter of PDP candidacy in the Ondo state governorship election.
 
The committee insisted that the issue of Ondo governorship was not the matter before Justice Abang in the Suit.
 
“For the avoidance of doubt, Hon. Eyitayo Jegede remains the flag bearer of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Saturday, November 26, 2016 Ondo State governorship election. We therefore call on all our members, teeming supporters and the electorates in Ondo state not to allow this ruling to distract them; but should continue with the guber campaigns to ensure the victory of our flag bearer, Hon. Eyitayo Jegede in the election” the caretaker committee said.
 
But Sheriff had described the court pronouncement as victory for democracy and a confirmation of his leadership of the party. 
 
“We state categorically that the court judgment affirming Jimoh Ibrahim as the candidate of PDP is a victory for democracy and instrument to affirm the belief in the separation of power between the executive, legislature and the judiciary.
 
“As party, we have taken our decision, we have chosen Jimoh Ibrahim as our candidate and whatever the law says we will follow it. We are products of the rule of law. We are, however awaiting the decision of INEC and the court on who becomes the party’s candidate.
 
“The National Working Committee (NWC) have concluded plans to inaugurate a national campaign organisation for Jimoh Ibrahim in Ondo state governorship election. We therefore, call on PDP members in Ondo state and outside the state to cooperate with Ibrahim to ensure that PDP wins the state.”
 
BRIBERY ALLEGATION
 
No one can speedy explain what transpired between Jimoh Ibrahim and INEC staff, but a drama was introduced to the Gane when Jimoh Ibrahim alleged on Sunday that the sum of $1million was demanded as bribe from him by INEC officials before they will give effect to the court judgement. 
 
He pointedly accused  INEC Acting Legal Adviser, Mrs. O.O Babalola, of negotiating the bribe.
 
This allegation has, however received condemnation from INEC, which described it as uncharitable and ungodly.
 
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi in his defense of the integrity of the woman and the commission said  “it is not true that Mrs Babalola demanded one million dollar bribe from Jimoh Ibrahim. Two other officials of INEC witnessed the encounter between Mrs Babalola and Jimoh Ibrahim. 
 
“Jimoh Ibrahim brought a copy of his judgement and wanted to impress it on INEC to collect it.  But we told him that we already have it. It is uncharitable and ungodly of a businessman of his stature to make this kind of allegation.”
 
While interested persons were still looking for solutions to the problems created, Ali Modu-Sheriff introduced another melodrama into the issue when he, in a statement issued by his media aide, Inuwa Bwala dissociated himself from the battle of Jimoh Ibrahim against INEC. 
 
The factional PDP chairman frowned against linking him with the controversies surrounding the emergence of Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) and Jimoh Ibrahim as candidates of the PDP for the Ondo elections.
 
In the statement by  Bwala Sheriff noted said that, as a law abiding leader, he is bound by whoever INEC publishes as both candidates in contention are respectable members of the PDP, and he will treat their issues based on merits and in accordance with the law.
 
He dismisses insinuations that he is behind several petitions against the INEC stressing that, he has done his duty by submitting a name to INEC, and expects that the commission will act in accordance with its own mandate.
 
This new position was  interpreted by political analysts that Sheriff has seen the handwriting on the wall that his candidate, Ibrahim may likely not get the ticket, hence, his decision not to take a hard stance on who emerged as the party candidate as decided by the INEC.
 
Though, the comments of Modu-Sheriff through his media aide was described as untrue by other of his NWC yesterday (Wednesday)  at a press conference addressed by Prof. Wale Oladipo, the damage seem to have been done to the psyche of the members of the camp.
 
In what most people may perceive as holding to a straw by a drowning man to stay afloat, a threat of contempt of court and committal to prison was issued on the INEC management by the Modu Sheriff camp in event Jimoh Ibrahim does not make the final list today.
 
Going by what has happened and the insistence of the INEC to follow the “Rule of law”, by continuing holding on to the two judgements favoring the caretaker committee,  it will be a big shocker should the name of Eyitayo Jegede get missing on the list of candidates for the Ondo state governorship  elections to be released today by INEC.
 
In fact, the electoral body might have one or two explanations to make should the unthinkable arise.