The Court of Appeal on Thursday in Abuja reserved judgment in the appeal challenging the affirmation of Ali Modu Sheriff as the authentic National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party.
On June 29, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court upheld Sheriff as the Acting National Chairman of the party.
Justice Ibrahim Salauwa, the Chairman of the Special Panel of the appellate court, reserved the judgment after counsel to the parties adopted their addresses.
The appellate court on November 11 granted Senator Ahmed Makarfi, Senator Ben Obi and Eyitayo Jegede leave to appeal the decision.
The decision bestowed the Sheriff’s faction of the PDP the right to conduct governorship primary of the party for the November 26 Ondo State governorship election.
The dispute later resulted in an interlocutory ruling by Justice Abang, who ordered Jegede’s candidacy to be substituted with that of Ibrahim Jimoh.
Dissatisfied with the decision of the lower court, the appellants approached the appellate court for reversal.
In his argument, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), counsel to the appellants, submitted that the trial court erred in the two decisions.
Olanipekun said that Jegede emerged as candidate of the party to contest the Ondo State governorship election from well conducted primary recognized by the National Working Committee of the Party.
He argued: “The National Executive Committee of the party as well as the National leadership headed by Caretaker Committee supervised the primary in Akure.
“Who should be the authentic candidate of the party?
“Ibrahim Jimoh that was a product of a gathering in Ibadan?”
“The selection of candidates for elections is solely the right of the political parties and not to be done by the court.
“The court also lacks the jurisdiction to appoint leaders for political parties.”
Olanipekun urged the court to set aside the decision of the lower court and uphold his client, Jegede, as the candidate of the party for the Ondo State election.
However, Beloulisa Nwafor (SAN), counsel to Biyi Poroye, the Ondo State Chairman of the PDP, and nine others, prayed the court to dismiss the appeal, adding that it was not ripe for hearing.
Nwafor said the court also lacked jurisdiction to entertain the appeal.
Poroye and the nine others had approached the Supreme Court to challenge the leave given to the appellants to appeal the decision of the lower court.
Nwafor said: “Your Lordships, I urge you to wait until our appeal is determined before any proceedings can take place.
“Alternatively, if the court will not be stopped by the pendency of our appeal at the Supreme Court, then the court should review the objections we raised against this appeal.”
Nwafor argued that the appellants filed two different appeals with contradictory pleadings and described that action as abuse of court process.
He said: “It is trite in law that when two processes are filed in a matter with similar characteristics, the later should be dismissed.
“The appellants have in this case relied on the process filed on November 16 which contradicts the one they filed on November 15.
“The implication of this is that there is no appeal before this court and therefore we urge the court to dismiss this appeal forthwith.’’
On his part, Raphael Oluyede, counsel to the PDP, said he was unable to turn in his counter affidavit but prayed to align with Nwafor’s submissions.