'Why we approved Jimoh Ibrahim as PDP candidate' - INEC

INEC says it would drop Jimoh Ibrahim as the PDP candidate if Eyitayo Jegede presents a superior court order.

Jimoh Ibrahim.

The development follows weeks of animosity and tension over the legitimate  candidate between the two names submitted to INEC by the PDP factional leaders - Ali Modu Sheriff and Ahmed Makarfi.

The Makarfi-led PDP Caretaker Committee had presented Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) as the party's legitimate candidate while the party's embattled Chairman, Sheriff submitted Jimoh Ibrahim's name.

INEC had also expressed worry as to whose candidate to declare as qualified to be the party's flag-bearer for the election - having received separate court orders in favour of each of the contending candidates.

An order from the Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice Okon Abang, had on October 14 directed INEC to disqualify Jegede and recognise Ibrahim as the true candidate of the party.

In a counter move, Jegede too on Wednesday, October 26, obtained a restraining order against INEC from an Ondo State High Court, asking the electoral body not to recognise Ibrahim as the party's candidate pending the determination of the substantive suit before the court.

On Thursday, Justice Abang also rejected Jegege's plea seeking to be allowed to appeal the October 14 court judgement.

According to Premium Times, the Ondo State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Olusegun Agbaje, said Ibrahim was approved as the candidate based on Justice Abang's order.

"We received a court order from the High Court in Akure and that was yesterday (Wednesday), but there was a subsisting one by Justice Abang today (Thursday), that is what happened," Agbaje told the newspaper.

He, however, noted that INEC would drop Ibrahim if another superior order comes in Jegede's favour.

He said: "That is why we put in front of the name ‘court order,’ to show that the name was picked as a result of an order of the court.

"The situation will continue that way until the matter is decided by the Supreme Court if the parties choose to proceed to the apex court."

Agbaje stressed that INEC does not have vested interest in any candidate but will only abide by the laws guiding the process.

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