Backstory: Eyitayo Jegede’s journey to emerge PDP candidate

The emergence of Eyitayo Jegede (SAN) as the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was sealed by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court last Thursday.

But many do not know how Jegede, a two-time Attorney General of Ondo travelled through this path.

How did he emerge?

On July 22, 2016, Jegede stepped down as Attorney General of Ondo to pursue his governorship ambition. An ambition that would lead to the Supreme Court even before the polls were cast.

He won the PDP governorship primaries held on August 22, polling 760 votes to defeat the Deputy Governorship Candidate of the PDP in the 2012 governorship election, Hon. Saka Lawal.

Here comes Jimoh Ibrahim and Justice Okon Abang

The leadership tussle within the PDP looked set to put a cog in the wheel of Jegede’s candidacy as Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim was declared winner of the parallel governorship primaries for the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff faction held in Ibadan, Oyo.

On October 14, Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to enforce a June 29 ruling to only accept the names of the candidates sent by the Biyi Poroye and Ademola Genty-led Executive Committee of the PDP in the state.

In obedience to the court order, the electoral body immediately replaced Jegede’s name with that of Ibrahim.

The Court of Appeal

To actualize his ambition, Jegede approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the order given by Justice Abang.

The president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa, set up a three-man panel led by Justice Jumai Sankey, Justices E. Agim and O.E William-Dawudu were the other members of the panel.

The panel withdrew from the case due to an allegation from Poroye that they had received bribes.

Two days later Justice Bulkachuwa constituted a new three-man panel led by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa. The panel had as members Justices Ignatius Agube and Ita Mbaba.

On November 10, the newly constituted panel agreed to hear Jegede’s appeal, as it also dismissed a petition by Poroye asking for its disbandment.

On November 18, the Court of Appeal adjourned hearing Jegede’s appeal indefinitely to allow the Supreme Court rule on interlocutory appeals filed by the parties in the dispute.

Courts, INEC declares him PDP candidate

After a long fought battle in the courts, on November 23, just three days to the election, the Appeal Court declared Jegede the bonafide candidate of the PDP in the election, dismissing the ruling given by Justice Abang.

Ibrahim approached the Supreme Court on November 24, but his appeal was rejected, as the apex court upheld the decision of the Court of Appeal, declaring the candidate of the PDP.

With its hands tied, INEC promptly declared Jegede the PDP candidate for the polls.

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