A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission to only accept the list of Peoples Democratic Party’s governorship candidates for the forthcoming elections in Edo and Ondo states from the Modu Sheriff-led faction of the party.
Justice Okon Abang, delivering ruling in an interlocutory application filed by two governorship aspirants on the platform of the PDP in Edo and Ondo states, granted an injunction restraining INEC, the PDP and their agents from dealing with or according any facility required by law to any other persons or group than the Sheriff-led National Working Committee of the party.
The plaintiffs in the suit in a PDP governorship aspirant in Ondo State, Chief Benson Akingboye, and one of his counterparts in Edo State, Ehiozuwa Agbonayinma.
Justice Abang ruled that his restraining orders against the INEC and the PDP would subsist pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit, FHC/ABJ/CS/439/2016, filed by the plaintiffs.
INEC is the 1st defendant while PDP is the second defendant.
The Federal High Court’s restraining order came barely 24 hours after Justice Valentine Ashi of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja, delivered a judgment sacking all national officers of the party who assumed office on the basis of an illegal amendment of Article 46(7) of the party’s Constitution.
Sheriff, who is in a battle for the control of the party with the Ahmed Makarfi-led caretaker committee of the party that was recently set up at a national convention in Port Harcourt, benefitted from the said illegal amendment of the party’s constitution.
Consequently, the former Borno State governor is believed to have been sacked by the Wednesday’s court judgment.
But ruling on the interlocutory application on Thursday, Justice Abang directed INEC and the PDP and their agents to “recognise, deal with and accord all facilities required by law “(regarding the gubernatorial elections to be conducted by INEC in Edo and Ondo states) to the Ali Modu Sheriff, Prof Wale Oladipo and Fatai Adeyanju led NWC”.
Justice Abang further directed INEC and the PDP to “reject and ignore any activity (including primary elections/congresses for the nomination of candidates of the PDP for the gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo states, purportedly conducted on behalf of the 2nd defendant (PDP) by any other persons or group of persons other than the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, Prof Wale Oladipo and Fatai Adeyanju led NWC.”